Since we’re nearing the close of the TLN All-Time Leafs Team
posts, I thought I’d take a slightly different approach with one of my
favourite Leafs of all-time.
Lanny McDonald is a player I learned to love as a Leaf
Benjamin Button style. As a child of the 80s I grew up knowing Lanny McDonald
as a star player on the Flames, and as I started collecting hockey cards,
Lanny’s Colorado Rockies cards were some of the favourites in my collection. It
wasn’t until I moved to the GTA that I embraced Lanny as my favourite
historical Leaf. It’s unlikely that McDonald’s time with the Leafs will ever
see his number honoured (7 is already honoured for King Clancy and Tim Horton)
and he’s probably not likely to earn a spot on Legend’s Row, but McDonald
should be remembered as one of, if not the greatest scoring right wingers in
L is for the
Love, Lanny makes me feel for the Leafs and the love Lanny had for the Leafs.
McDonald’s middle name was King, after King Clancy. Despite the way the
organization discarded him, Lanny has been an active participant in Alumni
A is for
All-Star. Twice named an all-star with the Leafs as well as being named to the
2nd All-Star team in 1977, which seems low considering that he had
four straight years averaging over a point per game.
N is for the Net,
which Lanny found regularly with four 40 goal seasons in Toronto.
N is also for
Net, he filled them just that much, 219 times in six and a half seasons.
Y is for, Why did
Imlach have to trade you away? Losing Lanny led to protests outside of Maple
Leaf Gardens, and Harold Ballard attempting to reacquire him a year later
(Ballard was threatened with tampering charges for it).
M is for Machine
Gun Lanny, McDonald’s junior nickname. It’s worth noting because it’s not
completely awful like every hockey nickname that exists today.
C is for Canada,
as Lanny was chosen to represent Canada in the inaugural Canada Cup. He would
also later play against the Soviets as a member of NHL All-Star team in 1979.
D is for Draft,
Lanny was taken 4th overall and should serve as an inspiration to
Mitch Marner. Historically the Leafs have done well when picking fourth overall
landing Marner, McDonald, Iafrate, and (the exception that proves the rule)
O is for October
10, 1973. Lanny made his debut that game, he picked up two assists and a
concussion as the result of a Rick Martin hit. It was the only professional
game that McDonald ever played without a helmet.
N is for net
because he finds the net a lot. I thought I mentioned that, but he had 20 goals
in 45 playoff games.
A is for all the
assists. Lanny had 240 of them as a Leaf and helped him keep nearly a point per
game pace in Toronto. Playing with Darryl Sittler certainly helped that. In
fact looking at the 70s Leafs roster it’s clear they had some really great
teams, but just not good enough to match up with real powerhouses in Boston,
Philadelphia, and Montreal.
L is for Legacy.
Lanny’s legacy is one attached to the difficult relationship Toronto has had
with talented players. Lanny was dealt in an attempt to drive Darryl Sittler
out, which is equally stupid idea (if not more so). Blowing up the late 70s
Leafs committed the Leafs to over 15 years of failure. While the Leafs
struggled, McDonald would go on to be an All-Star two more times, receive votes
for the Hart, be named to the second All-Star team for a second time, with the
Masterton and Clancy awards, and winning the Stanley Cup in his final NHL game.
D is for Duster. Obviously you can’t talk about Lanny
without mentioning the stache. It may have taken on a life of its own in
Calgary, but it was born in Toronto and set the stage for Wendel Clark’s stache
and to a much lesser extent, the staches of Mike Brown and Ian White.