Approaching this Leafs-Capitals Series with 2 mindsets: The Homer vs. The Buzzkill
The REAL playoffs start tonight and I’m feeling pretty conflicted. While I’m ready to get on the hype train, the Leafs have crushed my spirits at every turn. Being a Toronto sports fan in general has made me a bit of a cynic and at the end of the day I have come to hate that about myself. I’d love to yell at my TV like an idiot, fully-decked out in Leafs gear, but anytime you fly that high the fall is all the more tragic.
The Leafs are huge underdogs in this series, so while part of me is ready to get on board with this collection of blue-chip youngsters and quirky veterans, another part of me can’t help but think the Caps may just roll over them. At the risk of sounding like James McAvoy in the movie Split, I have wrestled with the idea of fully buying in this Leafs season. Below is a fictional look at the types of opinions you’ll find on many Leafs fan message boards.
Marndawg16: THE LEAFS ARE IN THE PLAYOFFS!!!
Leaf_blew_a_4-1Lead: I know they’ve only made the playoffs twice since the 2004-05 lockout… But quit being tacky and act like you’ve been there before
AwesomeMatthews34: I really think they can win it all! Who says no?
Kaberlaidout: The Presidents Trophy-winning Washington Capitals
Babcocksout4theCup: But the Capitals are choke artists
Kadri4Selke: Matthews, Nylander, Marner, JVR, Bozak, Kadri, Reilly, Andersen
A.Raycroft06: Ovechkin, Backstrom, Kuznetsov, Johansson, Oshie, Williams, Shattenkirk, Carlson, Niskanen, Holtby
CorporalKomorov: Once you get in the playoffs, anyone can win it. Why not us?
Seguin09: The Leafs weren’t even supposed to be good this year. If I go into the playoffs with no expectations then I can’t be hurt
I’d like to think that I’m a well-informed Leafs fan. One that feels better than these irrational Leaf fans that are notorious for planning championship parades whenever a Carlyle-coached team strung 3 wins together. But in reality I’m just as bad, if not worse. The crazy Leafs fans hate me because I throw too much cold-water on their fire. Other hockey fans hate me because all Leafs fans are nuts. But, at the end of the day let’s all agree Boston sports fans are the worst (Philly fans are a close second).
At its core, to be a Leafs fan born in the 90s is a completely irrational concept. The team hasn’t been good since the 2005 lockout. They haven’t really been a likable organization since Pat Quinn coached the team. Even before the 2005 lockout they weren’t even that good. But here I am. Cheering for the blue and white in the face of sanity. My brain says the Capitals win this series in 5 games. My heart/gut says Leafs take it in 7. I’m going with my gut. Leafs in 7. Lock it in.