Bitter Leaf does a fine job of breaking down this dog’s breakfast of a post by Ken Campbell on the Globe and Mail’s hockey blog. Allow me to play third-man in against Mr. Campbell:
So, Kenny, the current Leafs regime made too big a deal when Pat Burns took in a game at the ACC Tuesday and had a mini-reunion with players from the ’93 near-Cup champ club, huh?
[T]he Maple Leafs…decided to fete them at every opportunity during stoppages in play as though they were Stanley Cup champions.
Since when are Stanley Cups a pre-requisite for pomp and circumstance at an NHL barn? Should the Leafs pull Darryl Sittler’s #27 or Borje Salming’s #21 from the rafters becase they never won, or even played for, a Cup?
Toronto fans never seem to get tired of being reminded of the times they almost came close to winning something, but it makes the organization look bush league when it does things like this.
Is the Jack Adams Trophy, which Burns earned for his 1992-93 efforts, not “something”? And is that “something” not worth noting during stoppages on a Tuesday night in December?
Let me state for the record that I expect such gestures out of classy organizations like Toronto. I mean, if the Leafs ever capture a post-expansion-era Hart Trophy or Calder Trophy (and, while we’re at it, the franchise’s first-ever Norris Trophy), and that trophy winner comes back to Toronto post-retirement to take in a tilt, I’d want his mug plastered all over the jumbotron whenever play was stopped.
Like Bitter Leaf says at the bottom of his post, there’s a team or two in every sport that fans love to hate. Dallas in the NFL, the Yankees and Red Sox in baseball, the Lakers in the NBA, and–so it seems–the Leafs in the NHL. Success breeds contempt, I guess, and in the case of this elite club, if you’ve won a crown in the last 40 years, it seems your franchise earnes a target along with the accolades.