Well, call me embarrassed. Here I am last night engrossed in Three’s Company re-runs (the Jack Tripper/Mr. Furley knife fight episode in particular) and I miss, perhaps, the greatest story in hockey in the past 500 years. No, not the one where the Flames squander an unprecedented 5-0 lead in Chicago – everything blows in the Windy City – but the one where the Toronto Maple Leafs keep re-defining the bottom in the bottomless cup of coffee.
Miraculously the team has never started off the season with five straight losses, which, in itself, is mesmerizing because one would think – if nothing else – Toronto would have at least, at some point, perfected futility. Apparently not.
Leafs Nation is stunned and scared. They have seen hard times before, but these are uncharted waters. They need help; a calming voice in turbulent times.
Consider me the guy who talks you off the ledge or maybe the deathbed clergyman who absolves you of the guilt you still carry from painting that cat’s tail when you were five.
I’m here for you. I’m listening and I’ll help guide you through this, your darkest of days (or until they go 0-8 and you really start seriously considering removing that Maple Leaf forehead tattoo of yours).
Let the healing begin.
Dear Loose Change: It’s always darkest before the dawn or darkest before the storm, right? Tell me something to make me feel better about continuing to be a Leaf fan!
Um, thanks to you a Geography teacher in Nepean will never be in a bread line.
Dear Loose Change: I think people are freaking out a little too much. It’s five games! Technically Toronto could bang off 77 straight wins. Am I right?
Yes, you are right. You also may have a serious gas leak in your house.
Dear Loose Change: Play GM here. You have the helm. What do you do to get this team back on track?
I think trying times call for creative thinking. No sense going to the well for the umpteenth time with the same tired answers. Radical thinking is needed. My solution calls for chloroform and a three-year exile on the Turks and Caicos.
Dear Loose Change: Is goaltending our problem? I think goaltending is our problem.
To say goaltending is the Leafs’ problem is like blaming the typhoon on a raindrop. Let’s agree to say that goaltending is one of the team’s main trouble spots, in addition to a dearth of scoring and the fact every one of these next 77 games will be televised. Aside from that the Leafs are fine.
Dear Loose Change: When arguing with my friends over my choice of teams they always bring up 1967 and I never know what that means. Please explain.
This season, 1,967 represents how many goals Vesa Toskala has allowed, but I believe what you’re referring to is the year 1967 when the team was part of the Original Six and the Maple Leafs finished fifth and subsequently drafted a 92-year-old from Chicoutimi who died two days after being picked (fact dictated bronchitis, but rumor has it as embarrassment). Thus – considering the facts – 1967 was indeed the greatest season in recent Leafs’ history.
Dear Loose Change: I like Burkie and I really think he has a plan for the Leafs. Adding the toughness he did will certainly improve the team.
Brian Burke vowed to make Toronto a tough team to play and he’s accomplished that. Between the incessant laughter at the Leafs’ lack of discernable talent and a human being’s natural merciful nature (“We’re beating them 17-0. At least leave them some dignity boys.”) the Maple Leafs are indeed a “tough” opponent. Yes, an emotionally based “tough” – akin to the life of an ambulance driver – but tough nonetheless.
Dear Loose Change: I’m ashamed to admit it, but I’m thinking of changing allegiances to another team. Any suggestions?
The Washington Generals.
The preceding was purely fictional and meant for entertainment purposes only. By entertainment, we mean we hope you laughed while reading it, framing it, or burning it. Any similarities between this and actual events is strictly coincidental and frankly, dumb luck. Remember to remind your lawyer about the made-up part, OK?
Charlie Teljeur, creator of THN's hockeysockpuppettheatre cartoon, brings you Loose Change every second Tuesday. Subscribe to The Hockey News today to have Charlie's cartoon delivered to you in each issue.
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