My Thoughts on Tank Nation

What would Carelton say?
Over the last week or so, there has been a lot of talk about the imminent rebuilding of the Toronto Maple Leafs.  Additionally, there has been a lot of talk of “tank nation” in which the Leafs would throw the remaining games to better improve their odds of getting  a draft pick.

Yes, I’d love to see him in a Leaf uniform.

While I certainly welcome a complete and sincere rebuild, I am not so sure about the idea of playing to lose.  As we have already seen, losing becomes a habit.  If we start lowering our compete level, can we get it back?
There are some other problems with this idea.
  • The “superstars” that we are going to be trading away will want to look good for their future team.  They want to be sought after by strong teams, not weak teams.  Playing to lose won’t improve their value on the trade market.  That’s a lose-lose proposition.
  • The team seems to have lost without trying to lose, so maybe we should just let nature take its course.
  • Once we have jettisoned our free agent talent, or older players, or overpaid players, or whomever we let go, I suspect that the team won’t be in any position to compete anyway.  Losing will happen, whether we want it to or not.
  • What kind of mood will be left in the dressing room by a team that gave up?
  • These players have been competing for their whole lives.  Can we expect them to unlearn that behaviour?
In the end, we will just have to see how things turn out.  I welcome your opinions.
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Hockey is Back!

Today, hockey returned to television.  It was only one game in the rookie tournament–hardly NHL quality, but hockey nonetheless.  I have been looking forward to this the whole summer.  I know I shouldn’t wish the tail end of summer away, but I can’t help it.  I am excited to watch hockey again.

I am excited to be overly optimistic about my team’s fortunes.  I am ready to dissect every play and referee call.  I ready to fantasize about unrealistic trades.  I am ready to live and die with every win and loss.

Welcome back hockey, let’s get the season started.

It’s Pool Time!

That’s right everyone.  It’s pool time.  No, not swimming pool time–it’s still a tad chilly for that.  I’m talking playoff hockey pools.  Players will be evaluated and scrutinized, picks will be debated, strategies will be formed and trash talk will be prepared.  Ah…. what a fantastic time it will be.

There is a wrinkle this year.  My team is in the playoffs.  That means that loyalty will compete with practicality.  When I look league wide, there are players I cannot pick (OttawaSenators for example) because I would rather lose with my guys, than win with the enemy.  I do not know how I will fare this year.

Will he play?
There are other wrinkles too.  Some fantastic players are injured.  Will they come back in time?  Will there team advance enough to see them return in future rounds?  There are so many questions, and if you consult the internet, then you’ll get too many answers.

Last year I chose first, and took Sidney Crosby.  He and some of my other picks were inspired.  Had I chosen better goalies, I would have won the whole thing.

Of course, there is a huge amount of luck in the whole endeavour.  I can only hope my luck holds out.

Spring Means Playoffs (finally)

 
 
Ah spring finally seems to be here.  You might expect that this blog would be about gardening or yard work or other stuff like that.  In years past, that might have been the case.  The last nine years in fact, that might have been the case.  This year, however, it is not the case.  This year I can focus on one of my true loves; hockey.  More specifically, my beloved Toronto Maple Leafs.  They are in the playoffs, and I will be watching (although I am rather busy, and can’t afford to spend too much time in front of the TV, or blogging for that matter)

As a hockey fan, the playoffs are what really matters.  I watch every game I can, but the playoffs are what really matter.  In the playoffs, heroes emerge, the unbelievable happens, and highlights come fast and furious.  I can’t wait.

It might be spring, but Carleton only cares about the playoffs
For the city, and province, there will be a large economic benefit.  Not just in games played, but in beer drunk and merchandise hawked.  I am no economist, but even I can imagine how much money will be generated.  Of course increased TV ratings and ad revenue will follow.

None of that really matters to me.  What matters to me is that my team will be competing for what I consider to be the hardest trophy to win.  Other sports might play more games, but none can match the physical toll the game of hockey takes on an athlete.  Imagine a two hundred plus pound man, perched precariously on two thin slivers of steel, racing on a slippery surface at high speed being met by other 200 plus pound men wearing state of the art Kevlar body armour.  If you can’t respect the toughness of these athletes, there really is nothing I can do for you.
All that remains to be said is,

GO LEAFS GO!

Sweet Nostalgia

 
 
When I was gro wing up, getting to go and see professional sports was always a highlight.  If I knew I was going to see my Maple Leafs, Argosor Blue Jays I wouldn’t stop thinking about it. I looked forward to it with the same nervous anticipation as Christmas Day.

When I got to the Maple Leaf Gardens, or Exhibition Stadium I was giddy with excitement.  My eyes were wide open to see everything.  Whichever adult was with me probably wondered why I wasn’t walking in a straight line and bumping into everything.  There was so much to see, so much too experience.

I have such fond memories of the games, the excitement, the crowds, the energy, the snacks.  I remember that at Maple Leaf Gardensthe cokes came with a cellophane cover instead of a plastic lid. I remember the idea of “family size cokes”, popcorn boxes and hotdogs.

I remember most of the games I have been to.  I remember my first Leaf game, my first Argo game, and I remember that first Blue Jay game.  I even remember my first Marlie game (and the parade of flattened popcorn boxes that made their way down from the grey seats).

I started collecting Maple Leaf memorabilia that first game I went to.  I still have the team photo and the puck from that game.  I can’t imagine every parting with them.  As you can see from the ticket stubs above, I don’t part with much.

These days, though I have been to more than my fair share of games, I still sometimes catch that same sense of wonder that I had. When I go alone, I try to drink in the atmosphere as much as possible.  I check the souvenir stands, I listen to the scalpers and the vendors barking at people and I wonder what kind of snacks they have.

Printing technology has come a long way..so have prices.
I hope it is no different today.  I hope kids don’t take these great days for granted.  I guess, for their parents, these moments must be magical.

I don’t keep many of the ticket stubs these days.  I am not sure why, but I guess there is something different about seeing a game as an adult and as a child.  Things are different, but I would still go to a game at the drop of a hat.

I would love to hear about any of my reader’s first pro sports experience.