It’s okay, there’s always next year.
Is there any better way to build up your own self-esteem than watching someone else fail? Is there any better way to make yourself feel better about your own short-comings than to observe those in others? Of course no, so I’d like to introduce a coping method for the most downtrodden, spirit-tested individuals of all, and of course, I’m talking about Leafs fans. Take those recent memories of long-running losing streaks, suspect goaltending, piss-poor powerplays and tape-to-tape breakout passes to opponents and let it all go because, believe it or not, some other hockey fans had it worse this year.
At least we’re not…
The Montreal Canadiens
Members of Tank Nation will disagree with me on this one, but it’s more rewarding to be a Leafs fan than a Canadiens fan this year. The Canadiens will be awarded for being the least of the east with a highly-touted draft pick, but for Canadiens fans there was no light in this season. They kicked off the year with a six-game losing streak in October, had their coach fired before Christmas, and had a star player traded shortly into the New Year, and despite all the desperate moves to improve a slumping team, none helped. The Hab-not province will finish the season right where they started it – dead last.
At least we’re not…
The Buffalo Sabres
What hurts more, to be in the playoffs for four months then fall off the face of the standings and be out for the final two months? Or to be a palm-sweating, TV-shouting Sabres fan who had playoff hopes dangled in front of them as they inevitably ended up in the same position as the Leafs? Now that hurts.The Sabres have had the inverse season of the Leafs being on the outside looking in for a better part of the season. That was until February when they woke up going 18-6-7, whereas the Leafs fell into a late-season slumber going 10-18-3 when it mattered most.
Now, this is a case of “is it better to have loved and lost than never have loved at all?” because for the first three quarters of the season the Leafs were toggling between 7th and 8th place and even in late January they were on pace for the most points since the lockout. Yes that makes the disappointment hurt all the more when they dropped to 14th place, seemingly out of nowhere, but before that was solid entertaining, competitive, and largely winning hockey. Habs fans got to see none of that. It was nothing but losing, firing and anglo-phobia, no peaks just valleys. Sabres fans will have seen their team play all their best hockey, and for nothing, but unlike the Leafs, Sabres fans thought they had a chance. At least Leafs fans knew by February, while Sabres fans had to wait until the second-last game of the season to have their souls crushed. Habs fans have had the band-aid peeled off slowly, bit by bit all season; Sabres fans will have it ripped off from out of nowhere. Dare I say, at least we’re Leafs fans?