Toronto Maple Leafs v. Minnesota Wild

November 10, 2009


By Kim Jorn

While this distinctly inconsequential era of sporting endeavour can send even the most abated abettors of the local athletics clubs into futile fits of fist-curled fury, recent cycles of the Gregorian Calendar have installed a stratum of inertia into the most monomaniacal of attendees at Toronto’s shinny emporium. For, while scrutinizing a tired cliché like the Toronto Maple Leafs can provide endless fodder for the simple conscious mind, there is a nagging voice that can’t even be drowned out by the latest nattering of the online indie-hock intelligentsia – we’ve seen this all before.

For the hometown audience, the sole highlight of last night’s desultory display of physical exertion was incontestably Phil Kessel’s first acceptable marker in his brand new blue and white uniform. Breaking through the wall of offensive incompetence that has bedevilled the world’s most famous hockey operation for more than half a decade, the young American finally displayed a glimpse of potential that comes close to matching the bulky supernova of hype that has followed this blossoming star since his earliest days.

However, for those of us who have been closely tracking the career of Toronto’s latest big-new-thing, last night’s virtuosity was nothing of the cutting-edge variety. I myself saw the fledgling phenom perform similar manoeuvres on a diminutive frozen lagoon outside of Madison, Wisconsin nearly 20 years ago. That initial wave of euphoria has, of course, been replaced by the sour tang of reflexive familiarity. Ho-hum.

The balance of the match was a seemingly endless interpretation of what this glorious sport can and should aspire to, if its participants were not so concerned with affecting the latest postures of on-ice cool. It was impossible for this studied observer to shake the feeling that both the local club and the touring out-of-towners from the US Midwest were simply going through the motions. For those of us who have witnessed first-hand the gut-punching excitement of Progym Hargita Gyöngye taking on Sport Club Miercurea Ciuc II in a tiny Romanian rink, last night’s affair left every single thing to be desired.

So here we are, more than 12 months after Barack Obama swept to power with empty promises of hope and change, and the world remains embedded in the same lazy banalities, clinging ever so tightly to the transparent indignities of a civilization that long ago lost all control. But – with last night’s performance serving as only the latest piece of damning evidence – we can rest assured that as we hurtle headlong towards the crushing singularity that awaits us all, the Leafs will always and forever continue to shit the bed on Tuesday night’s at home. The piquancy of disappointment is becoming progressively more unpalatable.