Normally, here on this website, we try to maintain perspective. We engage with sports through an analytic lens, to deal with probabilities and rational team evaluation. We accept the role of variance, and the fact that after all, we follow a sport played on a slippery surface with a bouncing disc of rubber. And so I’m going to try to look at the Leaf’s loss to Carolina through the lens of thoughtful detahahahaha I’m just kidding can you believe this fucking shit?
The Leafs lost a game last night to the Carolina Hurricanes who, for half the evening, were playing a 42-year-old emergency backup goalie. The other team had to play a rec goalie that they got from Toronto and the Leafs managed to lose 6-3. They played something akin to anti-defence as full partners in their own destruction. They got outshot by, I don’t know, a billion, by a team that played last night while I assume the Leafs were off getting drunk on the victory champagne they bought when they won one game out of four in the course of a week during the stretch run in between spending the other three games getting pantsed so hard THE TEAM OUGHT TO BE FUCKING CONTRACTED OUT OF EXISTENCE JESUS CHRIST!
All teams lose. All teams lose in disappointing fashion. But the Leafs lose in widescreen technicolour. They lose sideways and upside down and in dimensions hitherto unknown to physics. The Leafs lose with the creativity of a great artist, in ways mere mortals can’t even think of, at a cost no other team pays. And no matter what, we—maybe you and definitely I—never quite learn that Lucy isn’t just going to pull the football away from Charlie Brown, she’s going to dig a pit full of snakes and he’ll tumble into it prematurely bald head first. This team will ruin you, baby.
We could go through the regular fan grief cycle: fire everybody, trade everybody, fire the people who did the firing, fire the layer above that, change the team name, relocate them to the Moon, etc. We could threaten to walk away, and make a big huffy show of it. Who am I kidding? If I had the sense to stop cheering for the Leafs now I’d have stopped years ago. And after all, it’s just sports, and in the macro sense it doesn’t really matter.
But sometimes you do have to step back and marvel at how unpredictably bad this team can be, how much worse they can look than even your well-honed pessimism tells you they can. The Leafs might win the next game or the next three or five. They might make the playoffs. But my God, when they lose, whenever that last loss comes, it will be some goddamn ridiculous bullshit where I’m almost too incredulous to be mad. You’d think the Leafs will never top losing to a team that was playing an actual Rent-A-Goalie in net, but they will. They will triumph and innovate in new ways we can’t yet foresee. The Leafs have Elon Musk on retainer developing new heartbreaking, soul-crushing, braindead ways to lose key hockey games they ought to win. I’m excited to find out! I ought to buy more alcohol.
There’s no ending on this. I don’t have a real conclusion. All I can do is pay tribute to the Toronto Maple Leafs. What a beautiful, rich, stupid, self-destructive franchise. What an incredible pile of golden trash.