This episode of The Leaf: Blueprint had a few important story arcs. It's vital in a losing season to find a few heroic tales to follow, and, as synechdoche for the franchise as a whole, make sure that the tales are ones of redemption. Peter Holland and Byron Froese open the episode, speaking of how much they love the Maple Leafs, how hard they want to work to stay on the team, and about how their hard work resulted in an eventual reward.
These two parables are strong messages to the fans -- don't give up on us yet, this team is its own heroic arc, it's been through tough times, but hard work will be rewarded. Shanahan foreshadows the point during the episode's opener. "I have not yet earned the right to call myself a Leaf, it's not just given with the job," Shanahan says, and it's as though he's reminding us what it takes to be a fan.
The main story arc, however, is about history. David Keon's induction into Legends' Row is a harbinger of the return to the Leafs' historic logo. He talks of the Maple Leafs' past, and about what it was like to be part of that winning Leafs' team. There are even a few stirring shots of the 1967 parade, and he makes it feel possible to hope again.
Keon has the best line in the episode. He was brought into the locker room before a game to speak to the players, and sat in on Babcock's pre-game words. He was asked what it was like, and admitted that it was much different:
"There was a lot of swearing when Punch was running the team. There was an 'and' and a 'the', and more swearing."
Then came the big reveal of the new logo, and we talk about that over here!
Other notable moments:
-- Shanahan says that he brought in Lou to take care of "Off-ice shenannigans that were impacting the locker room." Could it be ... nah, couldn't be.
-- Peter Holland's childhood bedroom is still covered in Leafs gear, and he grew up idolizing Mats Sundin.
-- The episode has images from the Molson Canadian rooftop skate, which we learned about in detail from Mr. Seldo, over here.
-- Phaneuf's fight in the Philadelphia game got some air time, which is weird, considering Babcock's usual desire to keep everyone out of the box. What's that all about?
-- The Leafs' logo is "Bigger than who you are. It's the symbol of our country, the hockey mecca of the world." There was no marketing firm hired to redesign the logo, it came from Shanahan talking to "hockey people," and listening to their desire to go back to when the Leafs were a dynasty. Okay, this was stirring, even from someone who lives in beach-hockey-ville.
(Find my previous musings on The Leaf: Blueprint Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3, and Episode 4.)