#Pizzanalysis: If The Leafs Were Pizza Toppings, What Would They Be?

Long time no see, fellow millennials. It’s time for another listicle.

I figured it was about time for another dose of #relatable content that will hopefully tide you over on this last afternoon coming out of the All-Star Break. So let’s take a few minutes to talk about pizza.

Not only is pizza America’s favorite vegetable; it’s also a staple in visitors’ dressing rooms throughout the NHL after games, and a staple in my life when I’ve run out of willpower and money from buying too much Avocado Toast.

Think of it this way: pizzas, like your favorite NHL hockey club, are a team effort. They’re complex – and no two pizzas, or teams, are the same. Let’s take a deep dive into pizza today, and see which toppings and ingredients best represent your Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Crust: Auston Matthews

Okay, “The Crust” isn’t exactly a nickname that’s likely to stick, but the fact remains that Auston Matthews is the foundation of the Leafs organization. The rest of the team takes shape around him, so there’s no better way to kick off our #pizzanalysis than to talk about our number one boy.

Also: Auston Matthews is not thin crust. He will never be thin crust. He is Certified Thicc™, as pictured above.

The Sauce: William Nylander

The sauce should compliment the crust, right? I think that’s how pizza works.

Here’s the point: Auston and Willie spend the most time together, and I’m not about to give Zach Hyman the title of “The Sauce” when a Nylander sauce-r pass to Auston Matthews is literally about as good as things can get.

Auston and Willie: Closer Than Sauce and Crust Since 2016.

Pepperoni: Nazem Kadri

Nazem Kadri is a tried and tested staple of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and is thus deserving of the title of Team Pepperoni. Need proof? He’s been playing on the Leafs since they had bad jerseys, since before we learned that Randy Carlyle couldn’t make toast (let alone pizza), and has lived to see the current pizza around him blossom into a beautiful assortment of ingredients that is only occasionally difficult to stomach nowadays. Here’s to you, Naz. You’re an integral part of the team pizza.

Olives: Josh Leivo

When it comes time for me to eat my pizza, I like to make sure that all of the olives are as far away as possible; preferably in the press box. The Toronto Maple Leafs apparently feel the same way about Joshua Leivo. Sorry Josh, I didn’t want to do this.

Pineapple: Jake Gardiner

First things first: pineapple on pizza is surprisingly good despite the criticism it gets.

Follow-up point: Jake Gardiner is surprisingly good despite the criticism he gets.

The above correct opinions, which are 100% correct and not wrong, are central to both my love for pizza and for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Jake Gardiner is often maligned and misunderstood, but he has stepped up his game in the absence of Morgan Rielly, and has quickly reminded me of all of the times that the addition of pineapple to my pizza has stepped up said pizza’s game. A clear choice no matter how you look at it.

Onions: Tyler Bozak

I can’t confirm that I know of any onions that are earning too much money or that ever roomed with Phil Kessel, but I can confirm that both of the above make me cry, and therefore Tyler Bozak is the onion to the Toronto Maple Leafs Pizza. Case closed.

Buffalo Chicken: Mike Babcock

BREAKING: as I was writing this post, I got word that the Babcock Buffalo Chicken had in fact boarded an MLSE private jet to Toronto, and that he is in fact Toronto Chicken instead.

Anchovies: Leo Komarov

Something’s fishy here, and I can’t tell if it’s the anchovies on my pizza or Leo Komarov leading the Leafs in ice time or starting in 3-on-3.

It’s safe to say that Leo Komarov’s play has been suspect of late. It’s also safe to say that we should all be forever wary of fish on pizza, because why would you ever do this to yourself.

Bacon: Mitch Marner

Bacon: a fan favorite.

Mitch Marner: also a fan favorite.

The logic is right there for us all to see. Plus, with how often Mitch Marner has been tossed onto the fourth line this season, Mike Babcock has literally been doing the equivalent of adding bacon to any food to make it better (but also maybe to punish the bacon for underperforming). You get the point.

And Last But Not Least…

Cheese: Roman Polak

I have news for you: Cheese is not a good food. It has never been a good food. And yet somehow cheese still appears on virtually every pizza despite consistently being outperformed by virtually every other topping and doing nothing other than holding every other topping back.

And yet I know that cheese will continue to appear on my pizza next year, and probably the year after that too, because the world is unfair.

#Pizzanalysis Wrap-Up

That’s all for now, folks. Are you outraged? Enlightened? Simply disappointed that your favorite Leaf (or favorite topping) was overlooked? Let’s keep the conversation going. After all, as with teams and lineup decisions, the possibilities for your pizzas are endless.




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  • So much opportunity for more toppings and, therefore, more players. Peppers (Martin) for a little bit of crunch on your pizza, albeit not absolutely necessary to a good pizza? Hot peppers (Borgman) because he’s also got that crunch with a little bit more spice. Mushrooms (Hyman/Brown) because it’s not a flashy or stand-alone topping but sometimes provides a nice complement to other toppings.

    Come on now, this is the sort of in-depth analysis I come back here for…