In this edition of Toronto Maple Leafs’ Quick Hits, I’ll comment on three topics. First, I share some of the comments of fans who disagreed with Mark Giordano’s signing. These comments were not edifying.
Second, I’ll share the story of Nazem Kadri’s success last night in his game against the St. Louis Blues, in the shadow of death threats and racial slurs caused by his running over of Blues’ goalie Jordan Binnington.
Third, being a Maple Leafs’ fan, I’ll comment on my own thoughts about the fact that the Maple Leafs almost beat the Tampa Bay Lightning in round one of the playoffs, then the Lightning swept the Florida Panthers, who were the most successful team during the regular season.
Quick Hit One: The Maple Leafs Roster as a Retirement Home
Some Maple Leafs’ fans make me shake my head. Recent fans’ comments about 38-year-old Mark Giordano’s signing a VERY team-friendly deal with the team got my attention – and not in a good way.
A few questions come to mind: what would it be like to take a long car trip with the person who made the comment? (I don’t want to know.) How do they talk to their children? (Again, I don’t want to know.} Were they picked on lots when they were little? (Again, I don’t want to know – not really.) Finally, will they age graciously? (I believe I already know the answer.)
A large number of posts have been written about former Mark Giodano’s signing two days ago now with the Maple Leafs. Agree with the signing or not from the perspective of quality hockey; however, no logical person can disagree that the signing was a generous gesture from a valued hockey player to the organization he recently came to play for.
The Maple Leafs wanted to sign Giordano and he wanted to invest in and become part of that team’s future. The word was even that he was offered $1 million, but came back and low-balled that offer so the team might use the money to find other players to help the team. That’s generous; that’s team-first thinking.
Not everyone would do it – obviously.
In the comment section at the end of those posts, fans had their say about the signing. Some oppose it and some support it. All fine. But the level of commentary from those who disagree with the signing, for me, just made me shake my head.
Some, for example, go something like these (Note, I have edited each a bit, but I don’t think I’ve changed the meaning or tone).
“Now the Male Leafs have become a retirement home for old players who feel sorry for the team and need to give back.”
“The message Giordano is giving is that Toronto is a retirement home where anyone who wants to play a couple of extra years – Spezza, Thornton, Brodie, and now him – is welcome.”
“Giordano’s new retirement job is to be a Wall-Mart greeter who welcomes opponents into the offensive zone like going thru a turnstile.”
I was befuddled by the comment and just had to list some of them. I can count at least five different character traits or groups of people these comments offended. Why go there?
Quick Hit Two: Nazem Kadri Might Be Polarizing, But He’s a Good Player
Ex-Maple Leafs’ player Nazem Kadi got himself into “trouble” in Game 3 in the Colorado Avalanche’s win over the St. Louis Blues when he and St. Louis defenseman Calle Rosen ran over Blue’s goalie Jordan Binnington in the crease. The incident forced Binnington to leave the game with an injury. He won’t return this series.
The game, which happened in St. Louis, generated a number of threats of violence against Kadri (including racial slurs) and the Avalanche organization worked with local law enforcement to investigate these.
In the shadow of these death threats and racist comments, ex-Maple Leafs’ player Kadri scored his first career playoff hat trick and helped to lead his team to a 6-3 win over the Blues in Game 4 of the best-of-seven series.
The win gives the Avalanche a 3-1 series lead. Kadri now has scored five goals and added five assists (for 10 points) in eight games during the playoffs. He’s had the best season in his NHL career.
Quick Hit Three: The Lightning Swept the Panthers, How Should I Feel?
If you’re a Maple Leafs’ fan, how did you feel last night about the fact that the Tampa Bay Lightning completed a sweep of the best regular-season team in the NHL. The Panthers had 122 points on the season, but they couldn’t win a game in four during the second-round series.
Rewind a week or so, when the Maple Leafs were ahead three games to two in the series and also up by a single goal in Game 6 in Tampa Bay. Eventually, the Lightning came back with the help of a five-on-three man advantage helped by two Maple Leafs’ high-sticking calls.
The Maple Leafs had the two-time Stanley Cup champs on the ropes, but couldn’t quite finish them off. If the Lightning continue to their third Stanley Cup, will the Maple Leafs have given them their biggest challenge?
How should all of who are Maple Leafs’ fans see the team now? Were they a good team that got inched out by a slightly better team? Or were they a failure of a team because they couldn’t get out of another first-round playoff series?
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