It finally happened. The drought is over. After 19 painfully long years,toronto maple leavesFinally won the playoffs.
excellent. who cares?
Well I know, maybe too much, my neighbors will probably tell you. (Sorry folks, that baby eventually goes back to sleep.) Every Leafs fan does this, and as you probably know, there are a lot of us.
But what about everyone else?
After all, I know what some of you are saying: wow, one team won!onePlayoff round. Newsflash has eight teams that do this every year and some are rumored to win even more. Some keep winning until they get some kind of big silver trophy. (Note to self: study your name.) Every team in the league has won at least one round in the salary cap era, with the exception of two-year-old Seattle, which likely will on Sunday.
Sure enough, the slowest kid in the class finally crossed the finish line after being passed by others. Is this really important?
Hmm yeah. It really matters for more than a few reasons. If you're a fan of the Maple Leafs, you shouldn't be reading this: going all out to celebrate a big win. (If you don't remember, ask your grandparents). If you are one of those crazy people who are against Folha, cry like you normally would in the comments section. But if you're really neutral and want to know why this is important, keep reading, because I have five reasons.
Reason 1: A Maple Leafs win is good for business
This is the most obvious and most corporate, so let's put this aside: the only people happier than Leafs fans right now are the league's accountants.
The Maple Leafs have one of the largest fan bases in the league, with a fan base well beyond Toronto. It's not something they've earned - it's because of geography and history, and as a century-old store in the largest city in Canada, they're ahead of almost every other team in the league. But deserved or not, that's the reality and it means the Leafs get more attention, more coverage and more viewers. This gets to the bottom of the matter.
The league wants parity and has devised a cap system that hurts the broader market, but it's not in companies' best interest to sideline one of their biggest revenue drivers year after year. With a new Canadian television deal just around the corner, the addition of the Maple Leafs is a good thing for the league. Just because the Maple Leafs had some playoff success doesn't mean the deposit is worth it and the salary cap is going to skyrocket. But it won't hurt.
But hey, you don't care because you're a fan. Alright, let's talk about this.
Reason 2: It's fun for other fans.
We can't celebrate what we've won while mourning what we've lost, so here's all we can say: Making fun of Leafs fans' 19-year playoff drought is funny to all other fans. It works, if we're being honest. All of you Leafs fans are probably rolling their eyes at these disapprovals, but now that it's all over, we can admit they sting a bit.
Of course, "you've only won one round in 19 years" is still a pretty harsh criticism. It just doesn't work like zero, like a tease.guardsFor fans to win a championship in over 80 years doesn't seem like it happened in 1994.
Not everything is lost. You anti-liberals still have a big problem: the Stanley Cup drought. They will never be able to wrest the game from Zamobini, although the setback in the fourth game of the year means the 4-1 won't have the same impact for a while. If you're lucky and Toronto gets swept in the second round, you can understand the semantics and prove "you don't."
madeA variant of "win a match in the second round". While it doesn't quite hit the mark in the same way, it is important.
If you're still frustrated by the Maple Leafs' playoff drought, look on the bright side: At least now you don't have to worry about your team getting everyone in trouble. (Uh, unless you'rerayfan. I'm sorry everyone. You ruined everything. )
Toronto's center was on fire after the Maple Leafs beat the Chargers to advance to the second round.
– National Hockey League (@TheAthleticNHL)April 30, 2023
Reason 3: Drought poses an existential crisis for some of us
The question of why maple leaves can't winIt evolved over the years.. At first, in the early years of the hat era, it wasn't a tough nut to crack. The Maple Leafs couldn't win the playoffs because they never did because they were terrible. It was a poorly managed team, first with John Ferguson Jr., then Brian Burke and Dave Noonis. They were a team without a plan, never competing but never rebuilding, proud and defiant along the way. Even in the early days of the Brendan Shanahan era,auston matthewsBecome a playoff regular with friends who are all young losers.
But then the team started to get special, putting up commanding numbers and producing MVPs in the regular season. But still they lost. They lost to Montreal in a landslide, Tampa by a narrow margin, and somewhere in between.colombo. They have done it repeatedly in winner-take-all finals: six in a row, a professional sports record.
What happened? How could such a good team turn so bad in difficult times?
As a hobbyist, even a neutral, you have two options. The first, and most intriguing, is the penchant for storytelling. The Maple Leafs lost because the playoffs needed determination and competition, and they didn't have them. They have abilities, which is great when it comes to smashing enemies.coyotesIn February. The same is not true in the playoffs, where the winner always prefers the winning team.
It's fun to believe, even if it doesn't make a lot of sense, even if in some ways it sounds a lot like the "if you work hard enough, you can be anything" myth we sell. for the little ones. But for the Leafs, it fits, as long as you don't think too much about it. It simply means accepting that hockey isn't really a game of skill and speed, but pure hard work and determination.
The other option is even worse. Maybe the Maple Leafs didn't win because they just couldn't come back. They went to overtime three times and had a chance to end the series, where even a goal could change the whole plot. This never happened. Instead, players got injured, weird penalties were given, and the narrow margin always seemed to work against them. maybe justThere's a lot more luck in the NHL playoffs than we'd like to admit.. If you flip a coin, sometimes it always comes up tails.
The theory makes a lot of sense and it worked well for Toronto, but it worked badly. It's not fun to think of games that way. But whichever theory you prefer, every Leafs loss takes us away from a world of great players on a great team.
Now? We had a break from everything. Oh sure, some of that might still be true. But now we can silence that voice in our heads for a few weeks. The Leafs figured out how to want and/or the coin came up heads, and it doesn't matter which one you choose.
Reason 4: Leaf Fans Need This...Yup, They Deserve It
There's a fine line between loyal and foolish, and we can argue which side the typical Leaf fan falls on. Probably both. But if there were a list of fans who have endured more pain than Leaf's fans, it would be a very short list. They've seen their teams struggle, drown, make bad decisions, and get down on their luck. They had five holes with Harold Ballard, Kerry Fraser and Allan Bester. The season ended with the best player of all time putting in the best game of him. They had (more) seasons ending before they even started. Almost everyone did everything, but almost never attended home games in person because the tickets were in suits.
They need it. Loving the sport means occasional glory and a lot of heartbreak, but heartbreak isn't the worst feeling a fan can have. Worse still is the feeling of hopelessness. The feeling is that no matter what your team does, it will never work because for some reason it just doesn't work. Leaf fans haven't gotten to that point yet, but they are getting there. Well, some of them may be in there, but we'll clean them up and put them back in style in the morning.
You don't have to like the Maple Leafs or hockey or even sports to figure out that there's a limit to the amount of pain someone can take for a stupid hobby that's supposed to be fun. Saturday's win wasn't a championship or anything, but it was something. This fan base needs something.
Yeah, I know, you don't like Leaf fans because your brother-in-law is a Leaf fan and he's an idiot, or a lady you work with is too loud for them, or you found some idiot's Twitter, who somehow It made you form a strong opinion about the entire fanbase. All good too. This is sport. But even if you don't want to do these people any favors, think of the parents who never shared a playoff victory with their kids, or the grandparents who began to wonder if they'd ever see another playoff game, or the fans lost. who always want to go back, but are too afraid to risk worrying again.
No? The guilt trip I tried isn't working for you? Well, the last reason is...
Reason 5: This is the end of the chapter, but not the end of the story.
As some of you may still be muttering: it's just one round. you're right. There are more stories to come.
How would it be? No one knows, because (recently) we have entered uncharted territory. This could be the year the Toronto Maple Leafs finally come together. As the first round of dragons die, they grow into something new and unstoppable. They go to the second roundbear CafeopanthersBut let's be real, the Bruins keep winning. The city goes mad, the country screams in unison, and the anxiety pent up for half a century is released.
or not. As happy as all Maple Leafs fans are right now, all of us have at least considered the possibility that the hockey gods are leading us to something worse. Perhaps the Leafs are swept away by four increasingly terrifying explosions. Maybe they'll make it to the finals and win the championship in one match... I mean, it's amazing, right?
We will find out. That's the beauty of it. This time, the end of the story is different from the usual one. Now we have to figure out where it goes next.
It's just one round. so far.
(Foto: Steve Russell/Toronto Star vía Getty Images)