Have a seat, folks. This one’s about to get wacky.
With John Tavares poised to face off against his former team, the New York Islanders, on Saturday night, this week felt like a good time to take a trip down memory lane – or the depths of Twitter’s archives, at least.
Yesterday I, Maple Leafs Nation insider ThatsKappy, took a journey through hundreds of old tweets mentioning John Tavares and the Toronto Maple Leafs, and stumbled upon something truly fascinating:
April 10th, 2009. Michael Anastacio (better known as @bastedo155), dared to make a bold proclamation regarding the outcome of three very specific hockey games: an installment of the Battle of Ontario, the Battle of California, and a tilt between the Arizona Coyotes and the Anaheim Ducks.
Anastacio clearly outlined the necessary outcomes of these three contests: The Leafs would need to lose to the Senators. The Kings would have to reign victorious over the Sharks, and the Ducks would need to drop their game to Arizona. Sure, you’d like to dream big, but getting the necessary outcome in all three of those games seems a tad unrealistic, no?
Fast forward to the 2017-18 season, with #TavaresWatch in full swing, and we would come to see for ourselves. What many fans so foolishly missed was, in fact, the fulfillment of Anastaciodamus’ prophecy, unfolding right before our very eyes.
October 7, 2017
The first domino would come to fall in, well, the fall. It was an early season matchup between Los Angeles and San Jose that would get the ball rolling. The Kings, already 1-0-0 on the season, potted four goals – including two from Anze Kopitar, to snag the road win against the Sharks.
San Jose would not only lose this game, but would go on to lose the John Tavares sweepstakes. Dire consequences for a seemingly meaningless game in October.
January 10, 2018
With the first part of the prophecy already fulfilled, the Senators would pay visit to the Leafs on a snowy January 10th evening at the Air Canada Centre. The Leafs were already riding the highs of a successful season, boasting a 25-17-3 record, while the Senators were slipping after a trip to the Conference Finals the year prior.
Thomas Chabot and Mike Hoffman would put the Sens up 2-0 early in this one, but the Leafs battled back, and almost ruined everything. Goals from Andreas Borgman, Morgan Rielly and James van Riemsdyk would give the Leafs life and bring this game to a 3-3 tie with just under five minutes to play.
Thankfully, however, the Leafs found their saviour in the least likely of people. Tom Pyatt scored what would be the final dagger in this one with just 3:05 to go in regulation, and the Leafs would go on to lose 4-3.
Anastaciodamus Count: 2
February 24, 2018
With the future on the line, the Arizona Coyotes welcomed the Anaheim Ducks to town. The Ducks were mighty, and the Coyotes were anything but. Arizona was mired in a dreadful season, in which they were 18-33-10 at this point, while the Ducks were cruising with a 31-21-11 record. Things could have very well taken a turn for the worst.
Luckily for the Leafs, Jason Demers exists, and Max Domi grew up a Leafs fan. Domi sealed the Ducks’ fate on this night with an empty-net goal, as the Coyotes cruised to a 2-0 victory.
The Kings won. The Senators won. The Coyotes got the W, too. Michael Anastacio improved to 3-0 in the prediction column. And now, we turn our gaze towards…
July 1, 2018
He did it. He freaking did it.
On April 10th, 2009, Michael Anastacio called out to his 7 Twitter followers the words of propechy, but alas, they had fallen on dead ears. People paid him no mind. Perhaps they thought him mad; just another delusional Leafs fan on Twitter.
In truth, Michael was just ahead of his time. Nine years ahead, in fact. Gazing through the channels of time and space, Michael Anastacio looked beyond Brian Burke, beyond Jonas Gustavsson and Phil Kessel and Game 7 in Boston and the arrival of the Big Three. He looked into the years 2017 and 2018 – to a time of hope. And there, he saw an opportunity for the Leafs to make the free agency splash of a lifetime.
We may not know how; we certainly don’t know why. But Michael Anatascio called it well before any of us.
We may be fools. But at least we are happy fools, who recognize Michael’s greatness.
John Tavares is a Toronto Maple Leaf.