It’s Only Been 41 Years Since The Leafs Didn’t Suck

Regardless of the fact that the Toronto Maple Leafs have basically stunk every year since 1967, they still manage to somehow play well against the Habs. Who knows why? Maybe Conn Smythe instilled a voodoo hex on Frank Selke Sr. for leaving the Leafs and joining the good guys at the Forum. Maybe Toronto wants so much to be like the Canadiens that they turn in these weird efforts that they can’t muster against anybody else. habs-too.jpg     leafs.jpg

So a Montreal-Toronto tilt is usually a good, interesting tilt, for whatever reason. And there also would have been big interest in a Montreal-Toronto playoff series which could have happened if Toronto didn’t suck quite so badly this year and had sneaked into eighth place by the skin of their teeth.

A series between these two might even have brought back the oldtimers who say they lost interest in hockey after expansion, fights, the price of beer, less attractive rink chaperones, watered-down product, the Broad Street Bullies, Osama Bin Laden, shopping on Sundays,  the ozone layer, and the downhill slide of Shopsy hot dogs.

Yes, it would’ve been a good series. Even though Montreal would’ve kicked their asses all the way up Yonge Street, possibly all the way to Orillia.

The two teams meet again tonight and at this moment,  game time is still hours away. Leaf fans will now be gearing up, selecting their finest Yorkville ensembles, and preparing for when the Habs take the ice and memories come flying back from when the oldtimers still liked hockey and George Armstrong, even though he was the Leaf’s captain, was still learning to skate.

2 thoughts on “It’s Only Been 41 Years Since The Leafs Didn’t Suck”

  1. JERRY SPRINGER MEETS DER HABINATOR

    Jerry is in the audience. On stage Steve, Jerry’s bouncer, sits between Bud, a Leaf fan, and der Habinator. Bud is perched on the edge of his chair wearing a Leaf uniform, everything but the skates (instead he sports Spadina Strollers – high-topped black and white runners) and he’s carrying a hockey stick. Relaxed into his seat, der Habinator is nattily clad in a Giorgio Armani grey pin-striped suit with stylish black Italian shoes.

    JS: So, people, today our guests are Bud who is, as you can see, a big fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team and der Habinator who is less evidently a big fan of the Montreal Canadiens hockey team. There is a huge rivalry between these two teams and we meet today at the request of Bud who ….
    B: Sorry, Jerry, I don’t mean to be rude but actually I’m here because the entire Leaf Nation wants some answers. I’m just the token Leaf fan they sent to represent them, to speak for them as if we were all one voice.
    JS: Ahhh, I see. Well, then, if I understand correctly you, ahh, Buds, want to know why der Habinator is so, ahhh, impolite to you?
    B: That’s right Jerry. Der Habinator is always picking on us, calling us names.
    DH: I don’t call them names, Jerry, any more than I call the fans of other teams by names. I merely identify their true nature and the name that naturally fits them.
    JS: Really? How, ahhh, perceptive.
    DH: Not really, Jerrry. I mean, once you get the hang of it, it’s really self-evident. Take for example, Canuck fans. They are almost but not quite as dumb as Leaf fans so, I mean, c’mon, they’re naturally canuckleheads. It’s not like I’m insulting them or anything by simply calling them what they intrinsically are.
    JS: Hmmm, yes, I see your point. So, why is Bud here so upset. I mean, what do you call him?
    B: (jumps up) Twinkies, Jerry. He calls us twinkies!
    DH: No, Jerry, that’s not true. As usual, Bud, here has got things all mixed up. I don’t call Leaf fans twinkies, I call their team that. The fans I call mangeurs de twinkies.
    B: (waving his stick, causing Steve to stand up) See, Jerry! See! That’s exactly what I’m talking about.
    JS: (holding his hand up) Okay okay. But, I don’t understand. I mean, what is a mangeur de twinkies? Isn’t that French?
    DH: It is French, Jerry. Good language. You outta try it out sometime.
    JS: French. Isn’t it the language of luuuv? I mean, girls think it’s sexy.
    DH: That’s right, Jerry. It’s also the language of hockey.
    B: That’s not true, Jerry. English is the language of hockey.
    DH: (shrugs) There you go, Jerry. Bud here doesn’t know about luuuv. If he did he might know something about hockey which he doesn’t. In any case, Jerry, mangeur de twinkie is a kind of conceptual portmanteau. You know of Archie Bunker?
    JS: Yeah, sure. Everybody knows him. What about him?
    DH: Then you know that his favourite snack was a twinkie.
    JS: Yeah, now that you mention it. It was.
    DH: Now, you probably don’t know about Pierre Trudeau and Robert Bourassa.
    JS: Trudeau, wasn’t he the President or Captain or something of Canada? And no, I never heard of that Bourrsa guy.
    DH: Close, Jerry, close. Trudeau was the Prime Minister of Canada and Bourassa was the Premier of Quebec. Anyways, Trudeau called him a Mangeur de hot dogs ewhich means `eater’ of hot dogs.
    JS: Ahha! So you simply put the two together!
    DH: That’s right, Jerry. Mangeurs de twinkies pretty much sums up the Leaf Nation. I mean their team obviously plays like twinkies on skates and their fans, well, (shrugs) their name says it all.
    B: (jumps up, shakes his stick at dH) See, Jerry! No respect!
    JS: (holds his hand up to Bud) Okay okay. (turns to dH) Now Habinator, it is alright if I call you that? I mean, if I drop the `der’. I don’t want to be, uh, you know, disrespectful or anything.
    DH: Feel free Jerry, it’s not like you’re a Leaf fan.
    JS: Yes, well, now don’t get me wrong, but, uh, that’s one of the things I think we should, uh, discuss. I mean, don’t you think that maybe, just maybe you’re being a little unfair to them, that just, well, maybe they might deserve a little more respect. I mean, the Leaf fan here is willing to sit down and talk things out with you.
    B: That’s right, Jerry, we’re reasonable responsible hockey fans. Not like those know-it-all Habomaniacs who think winning all those cups proves they know their hockey better than everybody else.
    DH: (shrugs, lifts his hands palms up) There you go, Jerry, talk about pompous and arrogant. They’ve accomplished nada in the past 40 years yet they believe they are the cat’s meow when it comes to hockey. I mean, Jerry, the record clearly shows that they know at best next-to-nothing about hockey so, yeah, I give those puckheads all the respect they deserve. Let me put it this way, Jerry, I ask you, how many Leaf fans does it take to screw in a light bulb?
    B: See Jerry nothing but bs comes outta this guy. Light bulbs got nothing to do with hockey and I know my hockey.
    JS: Uh, Habinator, I think we’re getting a bit off topic here. I mean, don’t you think we should stick to the subject?
    DH: But I am Jerry. I simply want to illustrate my point to you.
    JS:: I don’t quite see how telling jokes about Leaf fans is condusive to opening up productive lines of communication here.
    DH: It’s not a joke, Jerry. It’s a question. By answering my question, you’ll be providing the answer to your own question.
    JS: I don’t quite see how that can be the, uh, case, but okay, to show you that I’m a reasonable man willing to compromise in the name of reconciliation, I’ll answer your question. So, no, I don’t know how many it would take. You tell me.
    DH: They don’t either.
    JS: Uh? I don’t get it.
    B: (jumping up, waving his stick) See Jerry, I told ya! Light bulbs got nothing to do with hockey. I know my hockey! (He tries to high stick der Habinator but Steve jumps up & wrestles him back into his seat.)
    DH: You see, Jerry, the average Leaf fan is so dumb they haven’t the faintest clue how many of them it would take to screw in a light bulb. And that’s assuming they can even figure out which end gets screwed in. So, how can you expect me to have an intelligent conversation with them about anything, especially hockey?
    JS: That’s my point, Habinator. That’s just what I’m talking about. You won’t get anywhere by insulting the very fans with whom you’re supposed to be engaging in a civilized dialogue. I mean, you can’t expect them to like what they’re hearing here.
    DH: Ciivilized? Nothing civilized about Leaf fans. Don’t know where you got that idea from. Look at that ragged-ass doofus on the other side of Steve all decked out in blue and white like some kind of wild Pict.
    JS: Pict? What’s that? Some kind of, uh, specialized hockey fan?
    DH: A Pict, Jerry, was a kind of proto-Scotsman. You know, the barbarian savages who fought the Romans in Britain. They had to build Hadrian’s wall to keep them out. Used to dye their skin blue & white just like Leaf fans.
    JS:: Wait a minute, are you saying that Leaf fans are barbarian savages because their team colours are blue and white?
    DH: No Jerry, I’m not saying that. I’m saying they’re lower than that. They’re a sub-species of man. They are Neandertals.
    JS: Whoa. Whoaaa whoooaaa! (JS holds up his hand) Timeout! I mean, Habinator, do U have any idea of what you are saying? I mean, you are saying that our Leaf fan here is a caveman and an inferior one at that.
    DH: Of course he is, Jerry. It’s self-evident. (Steve has to hold the violently squirming Leaf fan in a headlock) Look, what’s needed here is a quick history lesson. What happened to the Neandertals? Officially, nobody really knows. Some claim we wiped them out. Others that they just kinda petered out. Still others believe they were absorbed into our species. But the fact is none of them are right. What happened was we drove them into the Scottish Highlands where they lurked in the fens and the lochs and the woods until two three centuries ago when the Lairds began kicking everybody off their ancestral lands and replacing them with sheep. That’s when they all immigrated to Toronto. Well, a few went south. Archie Bunker, for example, he’s a Neandertal. In any case, the so-called Leaf Nation is, for the most part, a living relic of the distant past, they’re nothing but an extended tribe of sub-humans. I’m telling you, Jerry, Neandertals didn’t go extinct, they’ve been here all along, camped out right under our noses. What can I say? Obviously, paleontologists don’t go to Leaf games.
    JS: (slapping a hand to his forehead) Of course, how stupid of me not to know this. But, seriously, Habinator, surely you’ve got to admit that this … this story of yours is a little farfetched..
    DH: Believe it, Jerry. It’s real. Think about it. Neandertals would be naturally drawn to certain aspects of The Game: the stick for them is a club or a spear, the puck a stone, potentially a deadly missile, the uniforms and colours tribal insignia and, as an added bonus, for all those years prior to expansion they got to skate around clutching and grabbing members of the species that has kicked their sorry blue and white butts for thousands of years and cheap-shot them with impunity. Perfect! Of course, tthey haven’t won a Cup for over 40 years for good reason. And probably never will win it again. Why? Because the league finally put a stop to their caveman shenanigans.. Their stone-age back-alley tactics are now officially verboten. Skill and talent are in, mugging is out.
    JS: Okay, let’s assume, just assume mind you, that what you’re saying is maybe true. Can you prove it?
    DH: Sure I can, Jerry. First, take a gander at that Bud there. Whaddya see? Beetled brow, squinty eyes, flat little ears, prognathic jaw. And he’s a stumpy little bow-legged bugger, I bet if he took that stupid jersey off we’d see he’s covered with fur.
    B: (leaps to his feet, lunges at der Habinator, screams) It’s not fur! It’s hair!
    JS: (Steve grabs him, holds for Jerry to inspect) Why yes, I see what you mean. But still you can’t hold somebody’s appearance against him and, after all, this kind of look is pretty generic. I mean, go to a Republican rally ….(holding up his hand against the boos) Okay okay I was only kidding. Actually, go to any political rally, but that’s another can of worms.
    DH: I agree Jerry. Discrimination based on appearance is unacceptable. But we all know that Neandertals never even learned how to make a candle, right?
    JS: Well, they did use fire but no, far as I know they never could hold a candle to us.
    DH: Hehehe, good one, Jerry. And Leaf fans are still stuck in the Stone Age. So, go ahead, Jerry, bring out a lamp & ask that Leaf fan to screw a light bulb into it. I”m telling you, he won’t be able to do it.
    LF: (springs to his feet, tries to spear der Habinator with his stick instead nails Steve in the nutz and, just before Steve lays him out with a Gordie Howe special, shouts) Light bulbs have nothing to do with hockey! I know my hockey!

    As the show ends, JS is asking dH why he isn’t wearingt his Hab’s jersey and hat.
    DH: I wear them, Jerry. But only when it counts. Hey, Habs fans have style and taste, we know our hockey and we know what to wear when. (waves a hand at Bud who is out like a light bulb) Still, those Spadina Strollers are cool. (shrugs) Whoever would’ve thought a mangeur de twinkies could make a fashion statement.

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