Here's a great first submission from newcomer blue with age about the Leafs in the 70s and being a Leaf fan in Quebec.
I think i am of an older cuvée than those who post here but my commodore 64 can still navigate the internets all the same. A story in today's Star from our favorite journalist refering once again to the "41 years of futility" narrative got me to thinking. I believe that Cox and I are close in age though i still have all my hair. But his persistent denigration of all things Leaf rests on a somewhat selective view of history. So, in the interest of providing you all with witty replies to the hoards that despise leaf fandom (I live in Quebec City and the epithet Leafs Nation has baggage), I think that my experiences as a fan can correct some common misconceptions.
I played lots of hockey growing up and Ron Ellis lived in the same town as me, but my first connection between the game we played and a team called the Leafs came courtesy of my grandmother. On the Saturdays nights that we visited, she would often regale me with stories of some guy named Teeder who came from her town. I was more interested in her promises that the antisocial behavior of some boy named Clarke that was sure to end in fisticuffs. But, my awareness of the Leafs team began with the 72 Summit Series. Hey they had a leaf on their jersey, and Henderson had 7 goals in 8 games, including the tying goal in game 3 and the winning goals in games 6, 7 and 8. A couple years later, the slash that Clarke used to fell Kharlamov was equally effective in eliminating Inge Hamarstrom (the "other" european and safegard against the McCabe like tendancies of that Ian Turnbull character) and with it, all hope of the Leafs overcoming the Broad Street Bullies. I discovered what real hate was and became an unconditional fan.
Comfortable in the role of underdogs, the mid-70s Leafs were the version that would keep us loyal through the Harold "go pee in the troughs on the floor I call bathrooms" Ballard period till Wendel came along. Sittler was truly a gem. How many teams today can claim a captain who was third in league scoring and clocked 100 penalty minutes? And that was a team well stocked with "role players" like Tiger Williams. Many claim it was an overachieving team that beat the Islanders that year. But Lanny and Sittler were much more than just two idiots fighting over a Hungry Man Dinner in the TV commercials. In the last truly competent thing that Cherry ever did, the coach put them on a line with Marcel Dionne in the 76 Canada Cup and Sittler scored the series winning goal in overtime. It almost made us forget the asskicking that Montreal gave the Leafs in the semi-final after the Islanders series (Note to Cox: Gilmour was not the last to lead us to the final 4). Oh how I hated those fucking Canadiens with their Lafleur smoking between periods and that asshole lawyer guy that leaned on his stick all the way to the House of Commons.
Well after that it was all downhill for a while but never boring. I think most of you out there remember the 90s. It may seem surprising to you but being a Leaf fan in Quebec City is not so difficult. Many guys my age hate the Canadiens, and in the absence of a local NHL team, our most recent collective Stanley Cup came by way of the Leafs' playoff elimination of the Saint Flannel last year. Encouraged by my francophone friends, i must admit a sinful habit of yelling wife beating epithets at Roy in English during the Rempart games. I have also absorbed some of the local culture in getting a real hate on for anything to do with Ottawa. I wear my Leafs cap proudly around town and receive little flack for it except from the young bandwagon jumpers. I was never so proud as to see our guy Stralman nail that Russian with his head down at the world championships here, then bitch slap Kovalchuk afterwards.
From afar, our team doesn't lack that many pieces. Keep the faith and remember a Stanley Cup is always a possibility when its still summertime.