Is any NHL team capable of beating the Toronto Maple Leafs? After last night’s game, the answer is a resounding “no,” as the Leafs have proven that they can win in every way situation: shutout domination; annihilating their opponent, then barely hanging on; the come from behind victory. This edition of the Leafs is literally unstoppable.
The defence has been poised and fearless, readily entering into the offensive attack while managing to scare the daylights out of opposing forwards, particularly those from France. Woody Allen said 90% of life was just showing up: thanks to Phil Kessel, this is true for our other forwards. I could describe Kessel’s domination by comparing his speed to Mogilny or his exploits to Achilles, but the damage he’s wrought to opponents is recorded authoritatively by the league statisticians: Phil leads the NHL in goals, points, and plus minus (a distinction shared with Phaneuf, that ransacking enthusiast). Doubly impressive, Kessel’s managing to do all this with only one testicle.
The Maple Leafs are undefeated both at home (3-0-0) and on the road (0-0-0). At this rate, statistically speaking, we are heading for a perfect 82 win season. This would definitely be a triumph for a team that has failed to make the playoffs since the lockout. But in my opinion there will be doubters: “Reimer will suffer the sophomore jinx” (nah, he prays successfully to Jesus all the time); “Kessel is streaky and he’ll have another fourteen game slump” (no he won’t, how dare you!); “Bozak is a third line centre on your first line” (he’s been improving his faceoffs all summer…); “wait, you’ve only played three games” (hardly the leafs’ fault). Be assured, these critics, depraved Senator fans, know nothing about hockey: they’re fans of a team who passed on a young Chris Pronger (prototypical defensive bully), Paul Kariya (989 pts), Jason Arnott (907 pts), preferring Daigle instead (umm…ya). We’ve beat them four times in four playoffs. Currently sitting 1-4, the Sens have no shot at a perfect season like us. Leaf doubters of this variety and others can all be thoroughly ignored.
But it must be said, we’re not out of the woods just yet. A bigger question remains to be seen: can the momentum from mission 82W carry over to Mission 16W?
As ever, we have no reason for doubt.