The Toronto Maple Leafs have left their fans without a rooting interest past the middle of April for the 6th Spring in a row. The league kicked in one more Spring possibly as part of some sort of promotion. Anyway, we here at PPP Amalgamated Heavy Industries, Kitten Ranch, Pug Manufacturing, and Phantasy Sports Conglomerate want nothing more than to help Leafs fans in their time of need as they struggle to find a team to support.
The Case Against Chicago
You don't have to dig too deep for reasons not to like this team. Heck, they have Marian Hossa. They had to sell off significant chunks of the team because of salary cap issues. They stumbled into the playoffs, losing their final game to Detroit, and were lucky that Dallas also lost theirs, so that the Hawks were able to cling on to the 8th seed. They're up against the President's Trophy-winning Canucks, who will be hungry for revenge of their previous defeats at the hands of the Hawks, and if you're a betting man or woman, the odds don't look so good in Chicago. To make matters worse, Pierre Maguire noted during the Hawks' final game against the Wings that Patrick Sharp, although having a career year, is still a ways from having two good knees, after an injury on March 23rd, even if he is playing again.
The Case For Chicago
As with many teams in the West, the best reason to cheer for Chicago is that their opponent is just that much more repulsive an option. Wouldn't it be great if Daniel Sedin guarantees a Cup à la Alfredsson, only to be foiled once again by the Hawks? This season has seen the emergence of rookie goalie Corey Crawford, who finished the regular season with a .917 save percentage, and any combination of Kane, Toews, Sharp, and Hossa (sigh, yes, Hossa) is always going to be fun to watch. Oh, and don't forget good ol' Viktor Stalberg. I'd love to see an upset, and will likely be seen commenting over at Second City Hockey at some point in the series - a friendly bunch, if you've never been.
The Sales Pitch
Not to sound at all narcissistic, but there are a multitude of reasons for Leafs fans to take a rooting interest for the Hawks, particularly against the Vancouver Canucks. First off, both the Leafs and Hawks are Original Six franchises, so there has to be some solidarity there, even though the Hawks did finally put the Leafs on the clock for the longest drought (sorry to bring up old shit). Secondly, the Hawks' uniforms are just that much cooler. It's been dissected many times in a more articulate manner than I could ever provide here, but let's just say that the current incarnation of the Nucks' sweater is busy to say the least. Next, there's former Leaf prospect Viktor Stalberg, who for all the deficiencies in his game still clearly works very hard every shift Q deems him worthy of, and has the potential to be a breakout player in the post season (and once again, sorry about that Versteeg thing).
Then there's that Toews guy, who's about as unimpeachable a player and a person as you'll find in the league. Patrick Sharp advancing deep into the playoffs again can only help the league's ratings. Look on the other bench- the twins are just far too creepy looking to televise well, and though you can't see it on the ice, Ryan Kesler pops up in enough interviews shirtless to make his Superman crest but with a "K" arm tattoo blatantly visible, and that just screams douchebag. Lastly, there's no schadenfraude so gratifying as watching a fan base with such a sense of entitlement, in an area allegedly so progressive as the Pacific northwest become so enraged with the performance of a sports franchise that they'd ignore all their green leanings to throw trash on the ice as a way of voicing their displeasure.