“The Toronto Maple Leafs select for the second overall pick, Really Big Good Centre And Potential Franchise Player from Somewhere Familiar, Ontario.”
If only that could happen this June at the 2012 entry draft.
But the crazy thing is, it actually could — with a little luck.
I say it’s time to beat the drums for Tank Nation!
There is absolutely nothing salvageable in this disastrous year during the last five games that would result in this team smelling any better when it’s all said and done.
Would ending the season on a five-game win streak with 85 points and finishing 10th or 11th do them any good? It’ll be Nazem Kadri and Luke Schenn all over again. A high, very high draft pick gets them in the game again with a real asset that could be developed or packaged for one of their glaring needs — and we all know what they are.
Forget the baloney about players auditioning for next year’s jobs or ending the season on a high note. It’s too little, too late for that. Besides, what responsible coach would make critical assessments of players based on such a small sample of meaningless games? It’s just PR spin by the GM and coach who have to say it so season ticket holders and the league are satisfied management hasn’t thrown in the towel which is generally not good for business.
As of March 29 with five games remaining, the Leafs are tied for 5th worst in the league at 75 points with the Islanders. All they need to do is to get slightly worse than they already are. But even that might not be necessary. I mean, who would notice? After all they went 0-10-1 under Wilson’s final days and have just 5 wins in their last 24 games so if they go 0-5 to play out the string, how would anyone know it’s tank job?
This really is a bit of a silver lining. Momentum is finally swinging in their favour for a change because they can tank just by being themselves – there’s no stealth required. James Reimer’s sudden injury which is rumoured to be related to his concussion, allows this scenario to unfold without stacking the deck. Let Charlie Brown aka Jonas Gustavsson or Ben Scrivens work the crease the rest of the way. Things will take care of themselves.
Now’s not the time for late-season heroics, boys. You have a lottery pick within your grasps. Don’t blow it. Just be your usual uninspired, defeated selves and everything will be fine. Who cares if Kessel scores 40? It’s only going to make his agent happy anyway.
Remember, as George Costanza on Seinfeld once said: “It’s not a lie if you believe it.”
And it’s not cheating if you’re really trying.
Keep your eyes on the bigger prize, fellas. Think lottery pick.