Things were getting a little weird. It was like in “The Truman Show,” where everything was so uncomfortably idyllic, you knew the houses had to be made out of cardboard. The Toronto Maple Leafs should not be greeted with unironic optimism and blue-and-white journalistic pom-poms, authentic nfl jerseys cheap but with a lingering sense of dissatisfaction and with an activist media poking and prodding the organization until it squirms in agony.
The reasonable response to the Leafs losing in seven games to the Boston Bruins is that they’re in the absolute final year of their education process as a playoff team; that they’re two or three defensemen away from being a serious contender, lest one believes they can win a Stanley Cup by allowing that tonnage of shots from opponents; that it was remarkable there even was a Game 7, considering the Leafs played three games minus Nazem Kadri due to his hair-trigger idiocy; and that an injured Auston Matthews saw roughly 37 minutes more of Zdeno Chara than did Mitch Marner, and had one goal and one assist to show for it.
And in the chef’s kiss of postseason postmortems, an incredible statement from Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet about Matthews and coach Mike Babcock: “Last year, and going into this year, Matthews was the guy, and toward the end, Babcock lost Matthews. I don’t know what happened, but he lost him, and there was no trust anymore. And then, Matthews can’t start a hockey game, and he can’t start a period, he can’t start a power play off a TV timeout, and for whatever reason, Babcock lost Matthews, and that played a key part. Now he’s injured, and that, of course, you have to consider, but I just watched his body language throughout the last few games here and going into the regular season, and you’re sitting here going, ‘Uh, that’s more than the injury; something is not right here with Matthews,’ and I think that needs to be addressed as well.”
Matthews said during the Leafs’ breakdown day that his relationship with Babcock is “fine.” He also said he’d like to play more with Marner, which Babcock is loath to do, and added, “But I’m not making the lineup decisions.” Yes, yes, yes … more of this.
Look, I don’t want the Maple Leafs to tumble down the mountain in a heap of futility as the Edmonton Oilers did this season. I genuinely feel that they’re on the right path and that the world is a more interesting place with a team that hasn’t won in 50 years contending for a Cup. They’re a burgeoning Chicago Cubs World Series moment for the NHL. It’ll be yooge.
But I’m here for the Leafs’ soap opera. Give me the media setting up Matthews vs. Marner.nfl jerseys for cheap Give me “Game of Thrones” maneuvering in the front office for the GM spot. Give me heated criticism of Mike Babcock’s lack of accomplishments. … Oh, who am I kidding, he’s a great quote with two Canadian Olympic gold medals, so he’s a protected species in the Toronto media.