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1 Comments Game 7: You Gotta Be Kidding

Article written by Boris Bozic on the 15 May 2013 in Canada,Current Events,Hockey,Ontario,Personal,Sports

One of the byproducts of getting older is perspective.  Gone are the days of being emotionally invested in a professional sports franchise.  What happens on the ice, the court, the diamond or football field will not alter my life one iota. Irrespective of what happens during a game the same responsibilities await me the next morning.  I don’t get worked up over million dollar athletes who get to extend their childhoods by playing a game for a living.  But I must confess that the historical meltdown by the Toronto Maple Leafs Monday night brought back memories for me.  It’s been a long time since I yelled at the TV, wondering if my flat screen TV was going to be functional by the end of the game.

“Maybe I should start watching Dr. Phil. I suspect some Leaf fans might be making an appearance on the show.”

Alas, sanity prevailed.  As soon as the game came to an end I went back to being my dispassionate self as it relates to the local hockey “heroes”.  I’ve long since stopped being an apologist for the Leafs.  Don’t get me wrong, I go to games but I go more so for the experience.  So now when people, usually those who reside in other parts of the country say to me, “Leaf suck”, my answer is, “agreed”. That usually stops the conversation. Now, there was no stopping the conversation about the Leafs colossal collapse Monday night.  Leaf nation is stunned,  numb and frankly I worry about some being suicidal.   Everyone in Toronto is talking about the Leafs blowing a three goal lead with only ten minutes to play in the seventh and deciding game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins.  The analysis by the sports media is, and will continue to be, unrelenting.  This is way too much fun for them.  One radio station found a creative way torture Leafs fan by interviewing a statistician who calculated the probability of the Leafs winning that game from a historical context.  Kid you not, the stat’s geek looked at every game seven played in the NHL since 1918 to determine the probability of the Leafs winning the game.  For example, when the Leafs made it 3-1, based on history the probability of the Leafs winning was 95%, when the score was 4-1 it was 98%.  I laughed out loud in the car when I heard this.  This exercise was nothing more than plunging the knife a little deeper.  Poor Leaf fans, maybe the team should change the saying The Passion That Unites Us All to The Therapy That Unites Us All.

The only impressive thing about the game was the press conference with Leaf coach Randy Carlyle following the game. To have to face the media and answer questions why he and his team failed so spectacularly cannot be easy.  Like in business a leader’s character is measured by how they deal with adversity.  A hockey coach is the leader of the team.  Most teams take on the coach’s personality, and if that holds true for the Leafs it will serve the players well.  Carlyle made no excuses.  Someone in the media asked if the officiating worked against his team and he refused to be drawn into that debate, he simply said his team ran out of gas.  He was calm, leveled headed and waited until there were no more questions to be answered.  I couldn’t help but admire the dignity and accountability he exhibited under the most trying of circumstances.

So now that the Leafs have gone down in the hockey chocking history, I’ll have to change my TV viewing habits.  Maybe I should start watching Dr. Phil.  I suspect some Leaf fans might be making an appearance on the show.

Until next time



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I think there is another side to this story that can be taken as a lesson to the younger crowd that doesn’t have the years of experience we “grey hairs” have.

First the Bruins followed a process that they have used before which was not to panic, to follow their style of game and only worry about scoring the next goal. When that happened they then went looking for the next goal. This went on and on until they got the result that they wanted which was at least a tie. Meanwhile the young Leafs became unravelled.

The most important lesson was “don’t give up until the final buzzer”. The old Yogi Berra-ism of “it’s not over until it’s over” applies here and while it doesn’t always work, it did this time and the Bruins were the beneficiaries.

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