Oh No Toronto

This is Frank Mahovlich. The truth is that Toronto and their beloved Maple Leafs haven’t been anything special since the day that Punch Imlach sent the Big M away. Trading Frank Mahovlich from Toronto signaled the end of dominance for the organization. The timeline was given a boost because of the universal draft but in deals that saw Gerry Cheevers, Rod Seiling and others traded Toronto paid a heavy price for one last shot at the crown in 1967 spring and then made some horrible trades in short order to send a proud organization down the elevator shaft.

The problem for the rest of Canada is that despite Toronto’s place as an also-ran we must endure a steady parade of porridge ramblings about the Leafs and what they’ll do in the off-season.

Among the things that have come to the forefront so far:

  1. Brian Burke will leave Anaheim, grab Dave Nonis and head for Toronto. I haven’t yet read if he’ll just bring the Stanley with him immediately or if the Leafs will have to wait one calendar year to win it.
  2. The usual bunch of Toronto area lads who have reached UFA status can’t wait to get back to God’s country. This is a beauty statement in light of the fact that the one hometown boy who wanted to go home (Gretzky) and WOULD have taken a discount was denied.

Habs fans are apparently dazed and confused about the coverage CBC is providing. I’m absolutely stunned by this, because any fool knows that Ottawa AND Montreal rarely get the full network Saturday night broadcasts during the season and even when Toronto was pure suck in the second half we Westerners endured a steady diet of chopped Leaf.

We should be happy they don’t run the B&W “George Armstrong scores into an empty net” game as the second telecast tonight. Tonight there will be much gloating about Ottawa falling down the stairs and how an extra week of hockey isn’t that impressive but at least there won’t be as much chatter about how men who were born in Kingston Ontario are better than everyone else simply because of geography.

The CBC’s big worry is this: they don’t matter. People get their information from other sources now (internet mostly) and watch the games because there are no alternate feeds. Should the CBC lose those rights and the broadcasts become more regional in nature then fans like me will be released to enjoy the best available game any given Saturday night.

Which is as it should be, and was, back when the Big M played in Toronto.

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6 Responses to "Oh No Toronto"

  1. Art Vandelay says:

    What other league would show its (nearly) worst team in the marquee game every week? For 40 years.

    Have the NY Jets been on Monday Night Football since the late 60s?

    Has anybody ever seen a Milwaukee Brewers game?

    Back in the day, having the Leaves on the English broadcast wasn’t so bad when one could turn to French-language CBC to watch the Habs-Bruins on a SAT night. But lacking that option, and given the chasm between the Habs and Leafs this year, it’s downright tragic.

  2. Cory Klein says:

    Some reprieve came this year when CBC launched a second HD channel on Bell. Saturday nights at 7pm ET now have the regular crap game with the Leafs and a second game of Ottawa or Montreal on the alternate CBC channel.

  3. MikeP says:

    Having watched a *lot* of regional telecasts with CI, I’m not sure CBC would lose their place.

    Granted, the regionals do a fair job in Canada, but it is truly painful watching some southern telecasters do their work. They seem to be recycled baseball or football callers for one, and seem to think we’d be more entranced by their anecdotes than we would be by their calling the play as it happens. The camera work isn’t always good either: behind the play, too close to the ice, too far from the ice, ahead of the play, take your pick.

    I’d almost rather watch no hockey than the sort accompanied by that.

  4. Ribs says:

    I can’t believe how shoddy some of CBC’s broadcasts are. It’s the same thing every year. Either the screen goes all choppy late in the third period (this is on cable! Not even satellite!) or else they can’t figure out how to work the microphones.

    I’d still rather have it than not I suppose. I’ve been watching hockey night in canada and the playoffs since birth it seems.

  5. sgt.turmeric says:

    As a native of The Limestone City I can tell you that how great you are as a person completely depends on which part of the city you are from. I am not a historian but I`d guess that Mr. Cherry grew up at least a few blocks north of Princess St.

    A strange thing about Kingston is that it has two English language CBC stations on cable: channel 4 and channel 10. At least it did when I was growing up. On Saturday the Leafs game would be on channel 10 and the Canadiens game would be on channel 4. The French broadcast of the Canadiens game would be on channel 8.

  6. Bruce says:

    They seem to be recycled baseball or football callers for one, and seem to think we’d be more entranced by their anecdotes than we would be by their calling the play as it happens.

    NHL Network shows highlight packages from these broadcasts at regular speed and with sound. Usually that’s a good idea, but it’s astonishing how often a goal is scored where they’re talking about something else entirely and have to interrupt themselves to announce the goal. Sometimes you can see the scoring chance coming a mile away, but these guys just blah-blah-blah about some totally irrelevant anecdote. Just terrible.

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