Getting excited for the AHL playoffs as opposed to the NHL playoffs is like going from prime rib to, I don’t know, weird brother of prime rib. But as the Maple Leafs once again failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs here we are. While I don’t intend on buying a Marcel Meuller Marlie’s sweater or anything I’m going to throw as much attention as I can towards the Toronto Marlies’ quest for the Calder Cup. Here are some reasons you should do the same.
The Marlies will rely on many current and future Leafs to carry the load
This is not a team made up of AHL journeymen or prospects that have no hope of playing in the NHL.
This is your chance to watch guys like Jake Gardiner, Carter Ashton, Nazem Kadri, Ben Scrivens and Joe Colborne play some exciting and meaningful hockey. Add in players like Jerry D’Amigo, Jesse Blacker, and Marcel Meuller and you have a team full of potential Leafs playing playoff hockey. Plus you’ll get to see Mike Zigomanis do whatever it is he does that gets Don Cherry so hot and bothered. (be from Ontario?) You’ll also be able to see Spencer Abbott and Josh Leivo play their first games with the franchise maybe they’ll be Leafs one day and you can say you’ve like them since they were Marlies.
They deserve some attention
As we’ve heard many times Toronto is not a hockey town, it is a Leafs town. With the ACC just down the street the Marlies often struggle to fill the Ricoh Coliseum. The Marlies have been successful all season. They are a good bet to win their division and do some damage in the playoffs. There will be plenty of available seats, they’re cheap, and it’s hockey, what more can you ask for. It’d be great if they were rewarded for their strong season with some fan support.
It’s playoff hockey
It may not be the real deal, but it’s as close as we’re going to get this year. It’s sad that we’ve been reduced to cheering for other teams come April. While they may not be the Leafs, they still have a Leaf on their chest, that’s good enough for me. It’s still the playoffs, try to enjoy it.
I haven’t followed the Marlies very closely this season, but I’d much rather be cheering for them than another NHL team.
Go Marlies Go!