AND THE WHINING BEGINS…

Please tell me this is not happening in Toronto already. Please tell me the city, just five games into the NHL season, isn’t already whining about referees’ calls, quick whistles and perceived gloved pucks in the crease.

Come on, Toronto, are we not bigger than that? Why do you think the rest of Canada keeps us off its Christmas card list? 

For two periods on Monday night, the Islanders played a fantastic road game. They kept the Leafs to the perimeter. They slowed Toronto’s blinding speed. They got a sensational effort from a great-grandfather in goal. Why can’t fans of the team just accept the fact that New York played a great game?

Oh no. It has to be all about the quick linesman whistle on Kris Versteeg’s disallowed late second-period goal. If the whistle went, the whistle went. Have you ever worked a professional hockey game as an official? It’s a no-win gig. You better have stones the size of pumpkins to step out there.

Quit whining about the job these guys do.

And why am I reading about Ron Wilson being miffed that John Tavares covered the puck in the crease on Colby Armstrong’s goal line roller? Tavares didn’t cover anything. He tried to. He reached with his hand, all right. He covered absolutely nothing. The puck doinked right off the post and clean under Tavares’ body.

LET IT GO

It’s not a penalty. It’s not a penalty shot. If the Leafs hadn’t been struggling offensively all night, nobody would even care right now. Why can’t Toronto simply give Dwayne Roloson credit for a wonderful, 41-year old effort in goal?

Every so often, teams run into a hot goaltender. To have earned a point off that match-up is really a fortunate achievement. Acknowledge that, Leafs’ fans.

Be thrilled that Dion Phaneuf really showed some dazzling offensive skills in the third period. Something he hadn’t thus far this season.

Be excited that Brett Lebda (overtime penalty aside) is a much better blueliner than Carl Gunnarsson right now. Be excited that, even though they were outplayed, the Leafs were right in the game until John Tavares wired that OT winner over J-S “Why-the-hell-is-he-already-down-on-one-knee” Giguère.

There are going to be plenty more losses this season. There will be stretches without a win. Now that the Leafs have started the season on a high, it’s time for fans in Southern Ontario to consider how they root for this team.

And how they conduct themselves when things don’t go exactly as they expect they will.