Parade planned to honour team’s ineptitude down final stretch of season
Photo courtesy of ZMDigital (cc)
Thousands of Toronto Maple Leafs fans flocked to downtown Toronto the night of March 30 to celebrate the lost season of their favourite team.
The celebration lasted into the early hours of the morning, shutting down many of Toronto’s main streets. Fans rejoiced over the team’s eight-game losing streak — which has effectively removed the Leafs from playoff contention — for the way it has eased their anger and disappointment compared to last year’s more sudden collapse.
Fans of the Maple Leafs have become accustomed to failure. The franchise hasn’t won a Stanley Cup since 1967, but last year’s epic Game 7 breakdown against the Boston Bruins was especially difficult to take.
For some, like Paul Roman, the suddenness of the collapse — three goals allowed in the last 10 minutes to erase the Leafs’ 4–1 lead — contributed to lingering health issues. “I believe it was close to the post-traumatic stress disorder people sometimes experience after car accidents,” said Roman.
“About three times a week I’ve had night terrors. My wife tells me I toss and turn in a cold sweat muttering incoherently the words “Reimer,” “rebound control,” “Franson,” “garbage,” and “Lucic.”
Roman said this year’s disappointment has dulled the pain of defeat.
“I just can’t say enough about this team’s lack of effort for the past month,” he said. “It’s been incredibly considerate of them to ease us all into failure. They’ve gracefully dulled the pain of disappointment by spreading it out over a much longer time.”
Leafs coach Randy Carlisland said it hasn’t been easy to suck so well, but his team really bought into the coaching staff’s game plan.
“We modeled our collapse strategy from the Edmonton Oilers, who are second to none when it comes to developing fans’ apathy to winning,” he said. “But I think it took our guys a while to buy in, I mean, for a few months of the season it actually seemed like we were one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference. That was never our intention.”
Carlisland, who has already been approached by Ottawa Senators’ management to bring his strategic loss-numbing talents to the capital next season, said he’s glad fans are appreciative of his team’s efforts.
“To be honest, I’m just happy no one has commented on how I look like a penguin yet.”
The public’s support of the Leafs’ terrible play has been so overwhelming that the team now plans to parade down Yonge Street at season’s end. The parade route, usually reserved for celebrating championships, will likely differ from the path used for the last team parade in 1967 because no one alive can remember it.
Meanwhile in Ottawa, fans of the Senators are upset at Leafs fans for again being ignorant of their team’s play.
“We’ve been losing peacefully since we entered this league 20 years ago,” said Mackenzie Silver. “But suddenly the Leafs start doing it for one year and it’s news? Give me a break — did they forget about Alexei Yashin and Patrick Lalime?”