You win, Leafs. I mean, you didn’t last night, but in the battle for winning me back over? I’d say you win.
So remember last fall when I was pissed off with the NHL? And my utter apathy when it returned earlier this year? I truly managed to go an entire (shortened) season without watching a complete game. I ignored favourite hockey blogs. I occasionally snubbed Sportscentre. I shrugged when I heard the Leafs may possibly be in playoff contention. I watched people who swore up and down on social media that they’d never forgive the NHL forgive the NHL and tune in with days of the league’s return. I was teased by my friends. “You’ll be back,” they said.
And I guess they’re right. Out of morbid curiosity, I tuned into the playoffs last week after learning Toronto drew the Boston straw. I didn’t think they’d last long anyway. At this moment, they are down two games to one in the series, and have been decent. Kessel actually scored against his old team Saturday night. Phaneuf was not so much the human pylon he’s been for the team. With Tim Thomas gone (well, we had to break up for ideological reasons) I was free to despise the Bruins again. It felt…familiar and good, even if I have been completely disengaged from this team for more than a year.
Hockey Night in Canada didn’t help. This montage? Brought the weepies:
GARY ROBERTS YOU GUYS! He probably looks that intense when he goes grocery shopping.
So the NHL has now gone from completely dead to me to tied for 3rd in sports league appreciation with the NBA. I have no false pretenses about the Toronto Maple Leafs: I know all too well how this movie ends. But I will enjoy the ride while it lasts, and thank Brian Burke for ensuring I don’t have to listen to Ron Wilson post-game, even though Burkie is long since gone. And Gary Bettman won’t be commissioner forever, right?
On an unrelated note, the Ladies… send love and kisses and golf claps and congratulations to one of our founders and emeritus member Holly, who has a brand new gig. Bill Simmons, tell us more about it:
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) May 7, 2013