While there would be a no more appropriate way to honor the Toronto Maple Leafs at their centennial than with a box of broken hearts and crushed expectations, it appears the NHL’s refusal to give the Centre of the Hockey Universe all the events in 2017 has fans upset.
As in, we haven't seen this kind of entitled whining since our last episide of "Caillou." ("BUT MOMMY, ROSIE GOT THE ALL-STAR GAME!!!")
This hubris tracks back to 2012, when then-GM Brian Burke revealed the team was pushing for all three of the NHL’s annual signature events.
Well, the 2017 NHL All-Star Game is in Los Angeles. The 2017 NHL Draft is in Chicago, as announced on Thursday. The Winter Classic was allegedly headed to BMO Field, but now it appears that St. Louis might get the Classic and Toronto would be left with the Heritage Classic. The crummy Heritage Classic! What are we, Calgary?!
Yes, it's the NHL's 100th anniversary as well, and they want to spread the attention all around the continent, into as many large media markets as possible. Yes, I understand all of your arguments and the reasons all make a lot of sense. It still doesn't change the fact that IT'S NOT FAIR MONTREAL GOT ALL THIS STUFF!
Please recall that the 2009 All-Star Game and the 2009 NHL Draft were both held in Montreal in honor of the Habs’ centennial. They did not receive an outdoor game, because Canada wasn’t allowed to have them again until the Winter Classic proved viable.
I guess the first thing to say here is that the Canadiens are not, for a great many reasons, the Leafs.
I was reminded today that the Leafs have, in fact, the second-most Stanley Cups in NHL history (13) behind the Canadiens (23), which is like comparing the Yankees and the Cardinals for Major League Baseball prestige.
There’s also no comparison when it comes to how self-obsessed one franchise is over the other, as we’re reminded that the Canadiens’ centennial celebration actually lasted three flippin’ years.
C'mon, Toronto, you don't want to be them. They're [expletives].
But if you’re in Toronto, and you’re still asking “why not us?”, here is why not you:
1. Blame the NHL for wanting to spread the wealth. It’s Los Angeles’s 50th anniversary and the League wanted to exploit that. Plus, it’s so much easier to draft ‘famous for hockey’ celebrities in LA for intermission concerts. As for the NHL Draft, this is undoubtedly kick-back to the Chicago Blackhawks for playing in roughly 75 outdoor games in the last five years. Or so it seems.
2. Blame the World Cup of Hockey.
The Leafs aren’t going to get the triple crown of the draft, all-star game and outdoor classic all in that same year. With the 2016 World Cup of Hockey already slated for Toronto, league officials confirm the events need to be spread out to other markets, especially with, as Bettman pointed out, the NHL turning 100 years old and Canada celebrating its 150th birthday all in 2016-17.
In other words, the last thing the NHL wanted was for Toronto fans to be saving their dough for All-Star weekend or a Winter Classic instead of shelling out that $7,000 for World Cup ticket strips.
But hey, maybe it all works out. From Kevin McGran:
I've been told that once everything is announced, it will all make sense. Maybe there's something up someone's sleeve. Certainly, there's a good relationship between commissioner Gary Bettman and team president Brendan Shanahan. Certainly the league will want it TV rights holders -- who own the Leafs -- to have something big to broadcast.Right now, the Maple Leafs are looking more and more like the Rodney Dangerfield's of the NHL. Don't get no respect.
Listen Toronto, all is not lost. You’ll have the World Cup. You have the Hall of Fame. You’ll have a lovely outdoor game. You have a spiffy new logo with a butt on it. You’ll probably have Steven Stamkos, which is nice.
You don’t have to have everything. Even if it is your birthday.