The Farce that is Legends Row

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May 2, 1967 marked the last day that the best fan base in hockey has ever seen a championship. Though I am not a Leaf fan I have experienced what it is to be a passionate member of this incredibly faithful community. Faith beyond reason however has hurt this organization, to the point that its own faithful congregation do not realize what a farce their newly created “Legends” Row is.

A legend in any sport is someone who shattered records, or at the very least won championships while being the best at their respective position. The Toronto Maple Leaf organization’s best ever offensive player does not even rank in the top 15 in NHL history, in any statistical category. Mats Sundin brought me memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life, including his unprecedented 500th goal that was a thing of beauty nonetheless. An incredible saucer pass from Tomas Kaberle, avoiding a 2-line pass, and unleashing a clapper of fury passed Mikka Kiprusoff in Overtime to put the Leafs in the playoffs, how could somebody ever forget that. Doug Gilmour ranks 18th but played only a portion of a career in Toronto, and his championship was from the Calgary Flames days.

Beyond the tasty sauce Kaberle dished out night after night, the millions of saves Potvin, Belfour and Cujo made over the last three decades there still lies one problem… why are there gold statues being erected for players that symbol good players and not greatness. I will admit with all due respect to Darryl Sittler, Dave Keon, Mats Sundin, Red Kelly, Syl Apps and Borje Salming, Turk Broda, Mats Sundin, George Armstrong and Tim Horton, not one of those guys I mentioned was a part of a Stanley Cup team outside of an Original 6 league. They are not even top 15 in any statistical category. I am not suggesting I can accomplish anything near what they did, but it is fair to asses their contibution to the Leafs in the grand scheme of the NHL.

Now I understand the whole idea of a legend is a subject to opinion, and this whole argument can be interpreted in a million different ways, but think about how many all time greats played for the Habs in Montreal. There is not a Habs Legends row, there is a Rocket Richard statue. I can confidently state with fact and conviction that Maurice Rocket Richard, who has an award named after his incredible scoring ability, was a way better hockey player than any Leaf, ever. Michael Jordan has a statue, because he is regarded as one of, if not the best basketball player to live on the planet earth.

In an attempt to keep their fan base interested, and to wrench out nostalgia the Toronto Maple Leafs have created this Legends Row that not only completely misleads fans from what the real problem is (50 years without making a cup final), but successfully fills seats for a team that is not anywhere close to being relevant.

Selling hope in a city is one thing, this organization has done an incredible job with their star studded front office at replenishing their farm system and actually grooming some exciting prospects for the future. But we need to understand that there are only 30 athletes in my opinion that deserve a statue. I don’t mean hockey players I mean athletes, and that is pertaining to all the North American Sports. I believe that giving these players a gold statue and calling them legends is a mockery of what a legend and an all-time great really is.

I appreciate and understand that this team has never had a superstar, and their fan base takes pride in the hard working players that have taken them far. Guys like Andreychuk, Clark, Sundin, Gilmour, Tucker, Lefebvre and more have molded the Leafs organization into a team that historically outworks their opponents and never quits. Believe me I appreciate this very much, and I will always cherish my childhood being a Leaf fan, but this Passion that Unites us All slogan is complete garbage until this team puts a Stanley Cup contender back on the ice and produces a player that is actually an All-Time great as opposed to a Toronto Maple Leaf Great.

Do I believe the Leafs fan base is the best in sports, absolutely. Their passion cannot be duplicated, their blind faith is not seen in any other sports city and their obsession with seeing their team in the playoffs is what makes them special, because at the end of the day they just want their players to know that they will be there through the good times and the bad. But please Leaf fans, please remember, all of those guys on the golden row outside your stadium, or wherever Legends Row is located, are not Legends, the closest to a legend they have is Doug Gilmour and Mats Sundin, and they aren’t even top 15 in the grand scheme of this sport’s history.

The future of this team looks very very good, but please read between the lines when it comes to Legends Row, and their new logo, value wins more than the secondary garbage that this organization has fed you for 50 years.

 

happywheels

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