Another Leafs game, another jersey tossed onto the ice. At this point it’s more regular than my morning bowel movements. The Leafs are beginning another late season collapse, they’re on the verge of missing the playoffs for the 9th time in 10 years, and Leaf fans are more fed up than ever before.
I get that. BUT FOR THE LOVE OF GORD STOP THROWING YOUR DAMN JERSEYS ON THE ICE!!
I’m not going to sit here and wax poetic about the sanctity of the sweater, or how the logo is some kind of sacred object that must be treated with nothing but reverence and respect. For better or worse the Toronto Maple Leafs and every other NHL team are businesses. To me the Maple Leaf logo is no different than the golden arches or the Pepsi symbol.
My problem with throwing jerseys on the ice is it’s predicated on this idea that coaches/management/ownership have NO CLUE that the team is doing poorly and that the fans are unhappy. Or that they’re sitting there, kicking their feet up onto a pile of money and laughing at the plebs for continually asking for more. Actually, you know what I can see Leiweke and Tanenbaum doing that because they seem like they’re that type of eccentric rich guy.
But there’s no way I believe that either of those guys, or Shanahan or Nonis are sitting there and being perfectly content with running a mediocre to terrible hockey team.
In order to just make the NHL in the first place you have to be psychotically competitive and driven. Shanahan fought BOB PROBERT for Gord’s sake, so you know that’s a guy who will literally do whatever it takes to win. There is no scenario in which I can see him being totally fine with running a crappy hockey team. I guarantee you that if he could trade rosters with the Blackhawks he would have done it yesterday, but contrary to what a lot of hockey fans like to believe teams don’t just become great overnight. It takes savvy, patience and catching lightning in a bottle, and so far the Leafs are still in the basement trying to remember where they left that bottle back in 67.
And does no one remember Tim Leiweke’s first press conference where basically the first words out of his mouth were “Stanley Cup Parade Route”? I’m sure some of that was just typical lip service to the fans that all these guys have to do, but again I can’t fathom him being happy with anything less than at least challenging for the cup. Of course the Leafs are an incredibly sound investment — they basically just print their own money at this point. But these guys buy sports franchises because they’ve already made a fortune elsewhere. The professional sports ownership club is a Linus measuring contest, and the more rings you can hang off it the better. None of those guys sit around drinking overpriced scotch and are all “We missed the playoffs again and had another disappointing season. But look at this gigantic pile of money! EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!” They want to own a winner just as much as the fans want to cheer for one.
And as far as I’m concerned, when you throw a jersey onto the ice you also look like a moron.
When you get in an argument with your wife/girlfriend/boyfriend/dog do you grab the nearest thing that’s within arms reach and hurl it against the ground? No. You know who throws things when they get temperamental? Babies. You look like a god damn baby when you drunkenly hurl your $300 piece of merchandise on the ice.
AND IT DOESN’T DO A DAMN THING!
This is, what, like the 30th jersey that’s been tossed on the ice during a Leafs game over the last 12 months or so? And it’s caused exactly how much change in the organization? The Leafs have won how many more games? If you answered zero to either of those questions you are correct!
I mean, this is a fairly new phenomena still, so perhaps we just haven’t hit the correct number yet? Maybe 50 jerseys being thrown is the magical number to make hockey teams good? Maybe 100? Only time will tell but if I were a betting man I would say that number doesn’t exist.
Look, don’t listen to me as I’m just some moron with a computer and way too big of a platform to spout my rhetoric. Throw all the jerseys on the ice you want. What do I care how you decide to waste your money? But just know that every time you do I will be lurking in the shadows, mocking you, and thinking you are a grade A moron. And all you’ll be left with is a team that is still garbage, and hard nipples due to having to walk back to your car shirtless. And trust me Leaf fans, NO ONE wants to see your sad man-boobs.