Thursday, July 27, 2006

RAKING LEAVES (Part 1 of 67)


Oh yes, we Hab fans love raking leaves (read leafs). It's not that they're such easy targets with all that ammunition loaded against them....hey wait a minute, IT IS!

This Top 10 List of dubious Maple Leafs facts and achievements cannot be accreditted to me. It happened quite by accident. I was sitting on my washroom throne a day ago, musing with notebook and pen in hand. Don't laugh - you do your best thinking there too! All of a sudden, my phone rang, calling me off to a family emergency. Seems my Uncle Harold took a seizure upon learning that the Maple Leafs had resigned Wade Belak. Anyway, I still don't get it.

When I returned to my unflushed toilet, notepad, and pen, I found this. Some shit just writes itself I guess! Thank the Lord I don't have call display!

10 - In 1967, the Leafs won their last Stanley Cup. I was 5. I'm still pissed! The Beatles Sgt. Pepper wasn't even realeased yet and Woodstock was two years away. No wonder all the pics from it at the ACC are in black and white.

9 - The last Leaf to win Rookie of the year was Brit Selby in 1966. Who? His name sounded like a Mustang, but his career was an Edsel. He managed to linger for seven more years, moving to the Blues and Flyers, never regaining form. In 350 NHL games, he tallied 55 goals and 62 assists. The runner up was Bert Marshall. Again...who? Bobby Orr took it the following season. No Leaf has won it since. A 40 year drought.

8 - Peter Ihnacak still holds the Leafs record for most points by a rookie. He recorded totals of 28G and 38A in the 82-83 season. Flock of Seagulls were huge that year.

7 - Gordie Drillon would tell you, if he was still alive, that he was the last Leaf to win the Art Ross, way back in 1938. They made talkies then, didn't they?

6 - The Leafs, apparently, no longer retire jersey numbers. Not that there aren't Leafs worthy of the honor. I can think of Sittler, Gilmour, Salming, and Wendel Clark. They have retired the numbers of Bill Barilko (#5) and Ace Bailey (#6), but have only "honored" jerseys since then. Being a standout player and winning the Cup for the Leafs, obviously isn't good enough, one must die tragically in the process.

5 - Those honored jerseys are #1 (Turk Broda and Johnny Bower), #7 (King Clancy and Tim Horton), #9 (Charlie Conacher and Ted Kennedy), #10 (Syl Apps and George Ferguson), and # 27 (Frank Mahovlich and Darryl Sittler). There you have 10 players all worthy of jersey retirement. A pair share each number. Trouble is, unworthy players have been wearing them year in and year out. That is not respect. Someone correct this please!

4 - More awards gone missing. Last Leaf to win the Hart, Kennedy (1955), the Vezina, Bower and Sawchuk (62), and Smythe, Keon (67 of course).

3 - Most recent meaningless awards won by Leafs: Randomly, the Bud Light NHL All-Star Game award, Damphousse (91), the Lady Byng, Mogilny (03), the Selke, Gilmour (1993, 127 pts, +32), and Pat Burns, winner of the Jack Adams for Coach of the Year in 1998. No Leaf has ever won the Pearson, the Rocket, the Norris, the Clancy, or the Masterton.


2 - For the Leafs the Entry draft has never held much consequence. Maybe that is why they traded their #1 pick in '91 to New Jersey five games into the 1990 season for well travelled defenseman Tom Kurvers. They were 0 and 5 at the time, and for reasons still not known, panic struck. Kurvers was decent enough to keep the Leafs from last overall. Too bad. The first pick that year was Eric Lindros. NJ used Toronto's 3rd pick to choose Scott Neidermayer. First rounders that year included Peter Forsberg 6th, Alexei Kovalev 15th, and Markus Naslund 16th. One may suggest that hindsight is 20/20, but foresight is priceless. Pay for an expensive scout - he may tell you that a certain draft down the road is loaded!

1 - Reiterating #2. The Future is not now. The Future is not a bargainable commodity. The Future may not be survival, but it is the key to success. Have a nice sophomore season Brad Boyes!

5 comments:

Zanstorm said...

OUCH!

You're right, those damn facts just write themselves! Shit!

I didn't know about the Niedermayer pick story, and I wish I didn't know about it....fuck!!!

reality check said...

I'd say it kinda sorta altered history just a little.

That was about the worst move they made. What gets me is not learning a thing from it.

It's like they say - if you don't learn from history you are bound to repeat it!

SLYontheFLY said...

geezus what have you got against my leafs? don't belive that lindros thing i'd have to look it up. gilmour night was a joke though he deserved better. retire wendels number now.

daisy bomb said...

You must admit thought that it is nice to see the classic low numbers on sweaters from one to ten that have all but vanished from the Canadians jerseys. All these superstar 77's and 91's and stuff don't do it for me.

reality check said...

Sweater numbers have taken on a personality of their own since Gretzky practically made his into a calling card. I miss those numbers too but imagine for a sec some young french kid wearing #9 for the Habs. He would never live up and he'd be taunted beyond his senses. Guy Lafleur was once offered Jean Beliveau's #4 and politely declined. He had enough pressure without it and smartly chose to carve his own niche in Habs history. Lafleur was no Beliveau just as Stephane Richer would never be compared to Lafleur. As time goes by the high numbers will only get higher.

I coached a kid once who had a hate on for just about every goalie in the NHL. He hated Roy and the limited sweater numbers available to him were not appealing. I let him take the sweater out and get his own number put on it. The minor hockey association was furious at me for this. He came back with #111. Yecchh! His name was Andrew Seidel.