Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Bob McKenzie or Kerry Fraser: You Decide

The guys at PPP asked me to send them a paragraph on where I was during game six of the Leafs - Kings playoff series back in 1993, a game played 16 years ago today. Not being so good with directions, I gave them a bit more than that...

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Believe it or not, I don’t remember much about game six of the Leafs Kings playoff match back in 1993. I know I watched it, but I couldn’t tell you where I was or who I was with.

I’d like to think I was livid at Kerry Fraser for his blown call. I’d like to tell you that Gretzky’s high stick on Doug Gilmour is seared into my memory like some sort of Zapruder film (“back and to the left”), but I’d be lying if I told you it was so.

You see, I was so thoroughly convinced that the Leafs would win game seven that I thought it was best to just put game six behind me. Nothing to see here, just another bad Leaf bounce, just another blown call by the notorious Kerry Fraser. I honestly thought a Leafs-Habs match-up was just too good for the Hockey Gods to pass-up.

It's only with the passage of time and plenty of hindsight (maybe too much) that Fraser's blown call has emerged as the defining event of that series and, perhaps, somewhat sadly, a defining event in the history of the Maple Leafs.

Now game seven I remember. There’s a game that’s seared into my mind like a red hot medallion clutched by the soft pink palm of a Nazi.

I have often dreamt of a Leaf victory in game seven. A dream so palpable that I have stepped out of bed convinced the Leafs did indeed come back and were going on to the Stanley Cup Finals.

But it’s not to be.

And I am a little bitter about that.

But my bitterness is not for Kerry Fraser. No, my bitterness is reserved one for Mr. Bob McKenzie who penned the infamous article headlined: “Gretzky Playing As If He's Got A Piano On His Back

As if that headline wasn't bad enough, McKenzie went on to say:

Now just one loss away from elimination, the Kings could desperately use some old-fashioned Gretzky pyrotechnics to light up the Leafs in Game 6 at the Great Western Forum and send it back here for Game 7 at the Gardens on Saturday night.
Yeah, that’s exactly what that series needed: some bulletin board inspiration for the opposition. And the media tells us it’s the fans who are to blame for the Leafs’ failures.

As we all know, Gretzky went on to score the overtime winner in game six and net three more goals in game seven, including the winner from in back of the net, bounced in off Dave Ellet’s skate.

The Leafs mounted a late comeback in game seven but it was not enough.

And so we wait.

And when the Leafs get close again, and they will, I may be a little difficult to track down (and there will also be an empty chair on the TSN panel).

1 comment:

  1. You make a good point about assuming the Leafs would win game seven. I remember feeling that way too. Sure, Fraser ripped us off, but didn't he have to? We needed the dramatic game six loss to lead into the game seven win, just like in all the other series.

    That (and the fact that it happened at about 2:00 am) was why there was a strange sort of reaction to the Fraser non-call that week. Once the shock wore off from the Leafs losing game seven, it was like there a collective sense of "Hey, wait a second, maybe we should look at that high stick thing again..."