Make It Five (Pt. 1): The Toronto Maple Leafs
The Toronto Make Me Laughs are considered to be the most storied franchise in hockey history. Just ask their fans, the Leaf Nation. If they believe that Toronto still deserves an NHL hockey team, they may want to consider calling themselves “Disbelief Nation”. Most of Toronto’s glory years -- no ALL of Toronto’s glory years -- occurred prior to the 1967 league expansion that diluted the talent pool. The last time the Leafs won the Cup, people were listening to games on transistor radios or watching on black and white television! Man had not stepped foot on the moon, phones had cords, milk was delivered in glass bottles, and the computer you are reading this on would have been the size of a two car garage!
After making their last Stanley Cup Finals appearance in 1967 and with the league doubling in size from 6 to 12 teams, the Leafs had some of their best seasons in the early 1970’s. Following that came a fork in the road where expectations and reality went opposite directions for 20 years. The last notable mention of the “Maple Leafs” and “Stanley Cup Finals” in the same sentence occurred in 1993 when Wayne Gretzky’s hat-trick meant that, “The Toronto Maple Leafs won’t be going to the Stanley Cup Finals.”
Having not made the playoffs since the 2003-04 season, what have they done to address this situation? They hired Brian Burke as GM., an AMERICAN! The fact of the matter is that the Toronto Maple Leafs are an embarrassment to the country where hockey was born! They should not be relocated from Canada, they should be chased out by an angry mob! What city knows angry mobs better than Birmingham, Alabama (Detroit & LA already have teams)? The silver maple is actually the Alabama State Tree, only there is a noose hanging from it.
With hockey’s successful expansion into the southern United States (thanks to Mike Modano and the Dallas Stars), now is the perfect time to move the Maple Leafs from the capital of Canada to the capital of the South: Alabama.
I would then put the new ALABAMA MAPLE LEAFS in the Southeast Division with such stiff competition as the Carolina Hurricanes, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, and Florida Panthers.
Don’t laugh! Each of these teams have more Stanley Cup Finals appearances in the last 40 years than Toronto. Even the lowly Atlanta Thrashers have been to the playoffs since the lockout, a feat unmatched by the historic franchise from Toronto.
Makes perfect sense to me! Make it happen! Make it five!