“I don’t know? Am I?”. No, Luke Schenn was not answering as to whether or not he had been traded; he was answering as to whether or not he’d be a healthy scratch for last night’s game against the Senators, although many would have you believe it’s the same thing. As the Globe and Mail writes it, trade talk in Toronto has hit a feverish frenzy, and, like usual, it is Kadri and Schenn who are being talked about.
After last night’s heartbreaking loss to Ottawa, mutual combatants in the so-called “Battle of Ontario”, the perception that a trade might be coming has been dialed up a notch or two. So goes the reactionary leg-twitch of Toronto’s collective sports-nervous-system. No less reactionary, I might contend, than Wilson’s treatment of Jonas Gustavson, who after winning four straight (including two shut-outs) lost a couple and was inexplicably benched for an unavoidably must win game.
No less reactionary than Nazem Kadri being sat after going 7 games with only 1 point, or Mike Komisarek being scratched after adjusting slowly coming off a long-term injury. This kind of shortsightedness is, unfortunately, the bane of “Leaf Nation”. A moniker close to “Kiss Army” in ridiculousness.
Still, we should not be surprised by this philosophy,like shit, it rolls downhill: Brian Burke, in his first press conference as GM of the Toronto Maple leafs, said that he was “not interested” in a five-year-rebuild such as the ones undertaken by the Stanly Cup winning Penguins or Blackhawks. He wanted to “build on the fly” like the Flyers have been able to do twice now, almost seamlessly.
You may have noticed however, that three years into his tenure, it might be a five year rebuild after all. This made all the more bitter by last night’s loss to the Ottawa Senators, themselves architects of a remodeling-on-the-fly.
Nevertheless, I’m not arguing, though it may appear on the contrary. A five year rebuild sounds fine to me. Perhaps an about face is needed, where Burke, like his baseball counterpart, can preach patience to his fans, that while the taste of disappointment still rests ruefully on their tongues, the next bite, or even the bite after that, will be all the more sweet.
However, we will not get there by benching anyone and everyone who has a bad night or two, or by juggling the lines at the first sight of danger. Young teams like the leafs have to be allowed to fail so they can learn from their failure. If only someone had let them do that two years ago when failure was unavoidable.
But alas, here we are; it is January and the Leafs are out of a playoff spot. They are a little out of sorts, looking over their shoulders and in their rear-view-mirrors for the specter of a trade. One that, more than likely, will never actually come. At least not the one we’re all expecting. We’ve all become Ahab, obsessed over our “white wale of a trade”, selfishly expecting Burke to launch a hail-Mary when he might have already done it a couple times (See: Lupul and Phanuef).
But, like everything in Leaf-Land, those previous hail-Mary trades go out of favor faster than you’d think, and fans who only yesterday loved Phanuef and Lupul will call them garbage today, and treat them as such (“get rid of em!”). Such is life in “Leaf Nation”. All our knees tired and soar from constant jerking. Oh dear. I said knees remember. Then again, what are we to do? Everyone knows when you love something it is hard to be clear headed, especially when it is in danger. We just love this team too much. Quite frankly, it’s become an abusive relationship. They hurt us and we just keep coming back, and, even worse, we apologize for them! We try to convince ourselves that they’re actually great, if you’d only get to know them. Just give them a chance!
You’ve no doubt noticed I never wrote about that Cammalleri trade. In the end I looked into it and all the drama has been distastefully exaggerated. I will say though, in degrees of reactionary thinking, that trade ranks up there with the Leafs.
Good day everyone, I’ll be back when that big trade comes down the pipe.