Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Leafs, Cards, and enjoying the games

1. When I first started this blog, I often wrote entries pointing out errors, faulty thinking and other various shortcomings from the media who covered the Leafs. Four years later, these entries are far and few between. Not because the media has improved -1,000 monkeys at 1,000 typewriters could not keep up with the flow of crap generated by professionals sportswriters – rather, I no longer read the sports pages. Case in point: on Saturday morning I was at the barber’s and picked up The Star. Dave Feschuk had this to say about Clarke MacArthur:

Currently, with two points in six games, he’s on pace for a 27-point season, which would hardly justify more than tripling MacArthur’s 2010-11 salary of $1.1 million.
Dave Feschuk is paid to write about sports.

Dave Feschuk’s article was given prominent play on the front page of the most-read newspaper in Canada.

Dave Feschuk either doesn’t understand or doesn’t care about:
a. Small sample sizes
b. The average intelligence of the reader
c. His reputation
d. All of the above

2. Clarke MacArthur now has 6 points in 8 games, which by Feschuk's math, puts him on pace for a 62 point season. Funny how that works.

3. I’ve been a St. Louis Cardinals fan since I was about 9 years old. Had a very illuminating twitter exchange with Navin Vaswani prior to game seven of the World Series, in which he told me to enjoy the game. A simple enough comment, but something I hadn’t really thought about. I don’t know that I enjoyed many of the Cards’ playoff games. My mood has alternated between angst, horror and, when they won, post-game relief. But this was a great reminder – we are supposed to enjoy the games. It’s not often the teams we cheer for get a shot at winning it all. When they do, it’s a good to take a step back and try to enjoy the experience.

4. I didn’t really enjoy game 7 of the World Series. I tried. I thought of Navin and countless other Jays fans who haven’t had much to cheer about for a very long time. I did my best to step-back from the on-field action and just appreciate how far the Cards had come, but it was mostly an angst-filled night where I sighed a lot and hoped the Cards wouldn’t fall apart down the stretch.

5. The Cardinals winning the World Series was great. For some inexplicable reason, this was way better than in 2006. I think having access to Twitter and sharing the moment with so many other sports fans was a big part of making this year's win more memorable.

6. I own more Cards swag than I do Leafs gear and I cannot wait until the media thank me, as a fan, for the Cardinals success. If Leaf fans are to blame for MLSE’s failures, I can only presume Cardinal fans like me are to credit for that team’s success.

7. It was weird when the game was over and there was nowhere to go. No honking horns on the street, no people celebrating outside in T.O. A strange thing when the team you cheer for wins and their home base is 1,300 km away.

8. When Stoke lost in the FA Cup last year, the bar I was in was full of Manchester City fans. After injury time played out and the squad I was desperately cheering for lost, I quietly bought a round of beers for the tables around me, left them to celebrate and slipped out into the streets. Not a lot of Stoke fans in Kingston. I was the lone guy in red in the bar.

9. Back with the Leafs…how great was it to have Bob Cole call the Leafs – Pittsburgh game? He may have lost a gear (or two) but no matter how many names he gets wrong his voice is the sound of hockey to me.

10. The bonus to Bob Cole calling a Leaf game? No Jim Hughson.

11. If I was starting a new Leafs blog, I’d call it “To the line but not out”

12. Or, “Gustavsson would like that one back.”

13. The Leafs are still struggling on their special teams. On the PP, if you look at shots generated per 60 minutes of PP time, they’re 27th in the league. If they don’t start generating more shots and chances, their PP is only going to get worse. Anyone interested in why the PK is struggling should read this article at PPP on the Leafs strategy of “fronting” their D.

14. People keep asking me if I think the Leafs are for real. The short answer is no. They’ve played some pretty weak competition to date and there’s no way this is a 100+ point team. That's not to say I haven't enjoyed them putting up such a great record this early in the season, I just don't think we should expect this team to continue winning at this rate.

15. Of note, with the points the Leafs have put in the bank this early in the season, going .500 the rest of the way should be enough for 95 points – which would mean, dare I say it, playoffs.


  1. Loving point 9, i listened to the games on my laptop at 3:30 am when i lived in India and I tell you, it made me feel like i was back at home with family/friends.

  2. Anonymous11:17 am

    Re: Point 15

    My math could be wrong, but if they go .500 rest of the way wouldn't they have 87 points?

    17 points with 12 games played. 70 games remaining = 70 points if they play .500?

  3. Anonymous - sloppy writing on my part.

    On average, post-lockout it has taken 91 points to make the post-season in the East. For the Leafs to hit 91 points, they need a points percentage of .500

    They need a points percentage of .557 to hit 95 points.