Though I went to a very conservative Catholic (boys only) high school, this individual introduced our class to some pretty (for the time) “hip” modern literature. We studied “Hair”, I think it was called (though a play like that could never have been performed at our school) and other works such as “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf”. It was, for where I lived at least, pretty "out there" stuff at the time. My English teacher was also a theatre guy, at least by avocation, and appreciated creativity and independent thought. I remember him introducing us to the term “suspend your disbelief” when talking about drama and the world of theatre.
It took me a while to fully grasp what he was talking about, but over time I came to see that he was essentially saying, hey, don't let the stuff you find not quite believable or "realistic" get in the way of your appreciation of theatre. And I think that’s what I’ll be asking readers to do today. Despite all indications to the contrary, let’s suspend our disbelief and assume (hope, at least?) that there will be a hockey season for the NHL at some point, and that the Maple Leafs will be in action before too long.
I know we are trying to make Marlies training camp as relevant and interesting as possible (and Dallas Eakins sure helped to stir up interest with his measured but nonetheless pointed comments directed at Kadri last week), but who's kidding who? It’s not quite the same thing, if we’re totally honest. Again, let’s set that aside temporarily and just focus on what could be: that is, a sudden return of collective sanity and ultimately, a collective bargaining agreement that makes sense for all the parties involved in the current hockey dispute.
Because once we have that, we’d all be in a better hockey “mood”, right?
So thinking positively - that we will have hockey before too long - let’s set aside the last 8 years of relative failure in Leaf country. Let’s not think too deeply about last season’s rather stunning collapse from February on. Let’s just appreciate the fact that the Leafs are still here (or soon will be) and think happy thoughts. No need for in-depth statistical analysis or anything along those lines on this subject.
Just a simple question today: who is your “favourite” Toronto Maple Leaf right now? Is it Phaneuf, Kessel, Reimer? Maybe you're a Grabovski guy. Hey, you might like Gardiner, or someone like Kulemin- who had been "Mr. Consistency" until last season.
Most of us who have loved the Leafs for any length of time have an abiding rooting interest. I certainly do. Mine started with the blue and white more than 50 years ago, back in 1958. Those were the days of Eddie Chadwick, a young Dickie Duff (left) and a very young Frank Mahovlich. It was the beginning of Punch Imlach's first era as General Manager of the Maple Leafs. There were lots of Leafs to choose from when it came to "favourites" back then.
Along the way, I’ve certainly had personal favourites—guys who, for a variety of reasons, I just loved seeing them have success and thoroughly enjoyed following their careers. I’ll touch on that broader topic of “favourites” through the years tomorrow, but for today, it’s the simple question—who is your favourite Maple Leaf right now—and why?
I won’t try to influence you. I’ll likely share my “name” tomorrow when I look at my favourites (and yours) over the decades. But if you have a moment, by all means share your thoughts.
The weather is turning. It’s beautiful but getting a little cooler most days. Which gets us ready, usually, for hockey season. So let’s talk Leaf hockey and, at least for a couple of days, “suspend our disbelief” about what’s really going on in the hockey world.