Even in dreary times for the Maple Leafs, when the games left on the schedule don’t much mean anything any more (and the games in Calgary and Vancouver certainly didn't feel meaningful), there is always something happening. Can you imagine a successful team having to suspend one of their top players, with the playoffs around the corner, for three games in March because of apparent maturity issues?
I’m not suggesting these things don’t sometimes happen to other teams. All professional sports clubs have issues with players from time to time, especially young players trying to find their way, as it were. But it’s not a healthy sign, and not a positive indicator for the future when it comes the blue and white.
I don't want to focus on a particular player today. What’s the point? No one player is responsible for the current situation. We are where we are because of a series of missteps and miscalculations on the part of ownership and management. It is what it is.
As fans, we’ve talked at length about leadership and team identity to the point where it has all been said. For his part, Shanahan can’t do much right now but let the season play out and continue to prepare for what will hopefully be a very different future for the organization.
My real question today is this: when the last time you made a point of watching a Leaf came on television (or listening on the radio) from beginning to end? If you had tickets given to you, are you still planning to go to the ACC?
I ask because, while the passion around the Maple Leafs is present twelve months of the year, the answer to those simple questions may reveal the kind of current fan indifference that ownership and management should not feel laissez faire about.
Frankly, more than ten years after the last playoff series win in Toronto, we have heard enough of the the rhetoric—all the talk, all the promises about culture and change.
It all just seems like noise.
Yet again we are reduced to talking about hope—and some possible future success.
Are you still following? Watching? Caring?