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Jul 4 / Great Apes

Goodbye, Toronto Maple Leafs

I’ve decided not to watch the Toronto Maple Leafs next year, and possibly not after that either.  This may seem like a rash decision made due to anger about today’s Grabovski buy-out, but to be honest I had mostly made this decision a few months ago and I even had some version of this written in my head during this year’s playoffs.  There are a couple of major reasons for this, and only one of them has to do entirely with hockey.  Let’s start with the initial impetus:

During last year’s NHL lockout a lot of people complained about how much they missed hockey or how angry they were that their hobby had been taken away.  I wasn’t one of those people.  I found myself with a lot of time to do other things that I often miss out on during the hockey season, like work on the videogame(s) I’m making or winding my way through the long list of books I want to read.  When the lockout ended I was happy to go back to watching hockey.  But as the season wore on, I realised that watching hockey was limiting my ability to do the other things that I had done when there was no hockey.  And I realised that I enjoyed those other things more.  So I wondered if maybe spending a dozen or more hours a week watching hockey was really how I wanted to spend my time.

The fact that the Leafs continue to be a horribly run franchise makes this decision a lot easier.  I’ve never been one to get angry about sports (they are just silly games, really) and I have no intention of starting now, but I found 2012-13 to be the most stressful and least fun season of hockey I’ve experienced as a Leafs fan.  It became more painfully obvious with each passing game that Randy Carlyle was a terrible coach and that the Leafs were hovering on a cloud of stellar goaltending and lucky shooting that could come crashing down at any moment.

I didn’t know what to make of Dave Nonis at first, but with every move he makes my opinion of him falls further.  His minor problems earlier in the year (trading the somewhat useful David Steckel so that the useless Frazer McLaren could play, for example) have now given way to terrible roster decisions like bringing in Jonathan Bernier to replace James Reimer, and that culminated today in the completely indefensible decision to buy out the best centre the Leafs have had since Mats Sundin – Mikhail Grabovski – apparently so that the team can re-sign one of the league’s worst defensive players – Tyler Bozak.

The Leafs have been an abominable puck possession team since Randy Carlyle took over and getting rid of their two best puck possession forwards – Grabovski and Clarke MacArthur – suggests to me that this could very easily be one of the bottom few teams in the league next season unless they get all-star level goaltending.  The PDO they’re going to need to outplay their possession will look something like this.

So I’m done with the Leafs, at least for this season and probably for longer.  You are of course welcome to disagree with my assessment if you’d like, but I’m not going to bother getting into arguments about it at this point.  I don’t care about the Toronto Maple Leafs any more and I have more enjoyable things to do with my time.

SIDE NOTE: If you follow me on Twitter for my hockey insights/humour then you may want to unfollow me at this point.  I welcome anyone who cares enough to read what I have to say, but I’m going to wind down my writing about hockey over the course of the next little bit (I won’t be able to avoid Free Agent Frenzy!!! but I plan to be done after that), so if you aren’t interested in what I have to say about subjects other than hockey I can’t promise that you’ll find much value in my feed moving forward.

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