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The 1960s: The decade that never really happened for the Toronto Maple Leafs

If the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup during the 1960s and Tim Leiweke wasn't there to see it, did it really happen?

Apparently not, grasshopper.

I'm sure you know by now that Leiweke has decreed the hallways of the Air Canada Centre in Toronto to be a 1960s-free zone. That is to say, he doesn't want any photographic reminders of the Leafs' glory days adorning the walls because those framed, black-and-white Kodak moments featuring the gap-toothed smile of Davey Keon or the scarred, leathery mug of a grinning Johnny Bower might just corrupt our current-day Maple Leafs who are incapable of protecting a three-goal lead with 10 minutes remaining in a playoff game.

"I don’t want the players walking in the hallways of the Air Canada Centre and seeing pictures from 1962," the Grand Poobah of all things Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment harrumphed in an interview with Bloomberg News last week. "Get rid of those pictures and tell them, this is your legacy."

Atta boy, Tim. You tell 'em. You take that winning tradition, dump it in a hole in the ground and toss six-feet of dirt on it. (Hey, maybe the burial plot beside Punch Imlach is still available.) Or perhaps you can toss tradition into an incinerator. You know, just like Humpty Harold Ballard did with Foster Hewitt's historic gondola.

However you do it, Tim, just do it. I hear what you're saying. I get where you're coming from when you say you want to purge the past and live in the now. Others don't get it, but I do.

I mean, Tyler Bozak really doesn't need photographic evidence to confirm he couldn't carry Davey Keon's jock and that he would have been a fourth-line centre, at best, on those old Leafs outfits. (Actually, Bozie never would have made any of those teams.) And do you think James Reimer needs to keep looking at pics of Johnny Bower and Terry Sawchuk hugging the Stanley Cup? That just tells him that he sucks and they didn't.

So, yeah, let's wipe out the 1960s. JFK and his brother Bobby didn't really die, American kids didn't really march off to a pointless war in Vietnam, the Beatles didn't really play Maple Leaf Gardens, and there weren't really four Stanley Cup parades in the Big Smoke.

On that subject, Tim, I understand you already have a parade route mapped out for when your Leafs win the Stanley Cup. Who'd you consult? Keon? Bower? The Big M? The Chief? Red Kelly? Or maybe you used a Ouija board to contact the spirit of Tim Horton. After all, they know more than anyone about Stanley Cup parades on Yonge Street. They rode in convertibles during all four of them in the decade that didn't really happen.

If you sense a touch of sarcasm in my comments, Tim, it's because I take umbrage with your attempt to purge the past.

I suppose what bothers me most is the reality that I once worshipped at the shrine of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Oh, yes, I root, root, rooted for the Leafs. I loved the Leafs. My favorite player was Dickie Duff. I still harbor a vivid recollection of myself sitting in the dysfunctional family living room when Duff scored the winning goal in Game 6 of the 1962 Stanley Cup final in Chicago. It came at 14:14 of the third period in a 2-1 win over the Blackhawks.

I was a proud member of Leaf Nation, although we weren't a "nation" back in the day. Actually, I am unaware as to the date the Leafs' fan base became a "nation," but as far as I recall, we were not a nation in the decade that didn't really happen. We were just Leafs loyalists who took comfort in the knowledge that our hockey heroes could summon up enough skill and grit to actually win the Stanley Cup.

So yes, Tim, your first major gambit as Grand Poobah of Leaf Nation really rots my tights. I take it personal.

You can't tell me and others of my vintage that Dickie Duff and Carl Brewer and Allan Stanley and Marcel Pronovost and Bob Pulford and George Armstrong and Frank Mahovlich didn't really happen just because you want your current-day Leafs to create their own legacy.

You can build your own sand castle if you like, Tim...just don't trample the sand castles that are already on the beach.

PensionPlanPuppets.com is a fan community that allows members to post their own thoughts and opinions on the Toronto Maple Leafs and hockey in general. These views and thoughts may not be shared by the editor of PensionPlanPuppets.com.

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