Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Seven games in with no victories, I am GLAD we traded away our first rounders for Phil Kessel. I don't regret it, even now. Taylor Hall be damned. With every game we lose, more and more people are groaning at the fact that the Bruins have our draft choice. But not me. No way. Uh uh.
As I've stated before, I'm making an effort to be less fickle this year. I'm not going to lose my mind every time the Leafs allow a goal (I'd have about thirty minds lost by now, anyway). I'm staying with the bottle half full. And let's pretend it's a bottle of liquor. So, if my optimism isn't rewarded post game, well, at least I've got something to drink.
Expectations were certainly higher this year. Last year everyone knew damn well we were in a re-build and not to expect much. Burke and company certainly raised the bar this year and everyone started thinking about the playoffs. And I'll say this, as of October 20th, I'm still thinking about the playoffs. We're not going to lose every game, folks. Eventually our defencemen will find chemistry. Eventually our forwards will find the back of the netting. And eventually someone will come into the crease for Toronto who can keep the red light off for more than seven minutes at a time.
As for the Kessel trade, everyone and their mother knows we gave up two first and a second. And as of right now we've traded Taylor Hall, a first, and a second. That seems like we really got bent over. But let's remember: this is as of RIGHT NOW. The draft isn't tomorrow. The draft takes place in June. And we've still got time to have a 150 point season. So, what's the obvious upside to Kessel?
It's been beaten to death. He can score from anywhere, he's got a rocket shot, he's a legitimate top three forward, and he's already a proven goalscorer at age 21. People say that this is only because of Savard but honestly I don't think Marc Savard has been firing shots in off Kessel's nut all year. You don't score that many goals because of someone else. Not at 21, at least. Let's not forget that it's been a dream for Savard to play for the Leafs since he was in junior hockey. Let's not forget that he's a UFA next season. Let's try to forget that players who want to play for Toronto usually wait until they're 45, concussion prone, and impotent. But it is what it is.
Anyway, after all that rambling, I'm STILL glad we traded our first overall. And here's why.
Flash back to the last game last year vs the Sens. Our bitter provincial rivals roll into town and we get a hat trick from working class hero Boyd Devereaux. What happened? People were miserable!
MISERABLE? Boyd Devereaux just scored a hat trick for the Leafs. Boyd Devereaux! Bruce Springsteen probably writes most of his songs about this guy! And we were unhappy. Because we wanted Brayden Schenn. People were hoping to lose games all year so we could tank and get Tavares. Leafs fans...were hoping...for the Leafs...to lose. Quite a dilemma.
And don't get me wrong, I was, in the back of my mind, hoping for that too. But forget everything Kessel brings to the table, what we have now is the ability to cheer for our team as we are meant to: joy when we win, frustration when we lose. If we hadn't traded those picks, people would be jumping for joy in the streets and calling to trade everyone for Bates Battaglia and start making Taylor Hall jerseys. But no. It's not like that. Every single game the Leafs take the ice we are hoping that they pick up a win.
We are winless, but we are united together in our frustration. Just like we will be united when the Leafs pull together and put up some wins. Every single Leafs fan wants to win every game, and every single Leafs fan will be dissapointed when they lose.
And that's what being a fan is all about.