Friday, March 12, 2010

A Changing of Seasons

Hey, remember when hockey was totally awesome and amazing and fun? It was a couple weeks ago at the Olympics.

But here in Toronto, we all knew that The Leafs would be returning and we'd get disappointing, boring, uneventful, meaningless games again.

Well, they're meaningless, but they're also surprisingly fun.

The team is a bunch of kids now. Most of the veteran players have been dumped to other teams for youth and late-round draft picks. So now the guys like Bozak, Hanson, and Caputi are getting lots of ice time with no pressure. What better position to be in for players who would be in the minors for any other team? You get to play in the NHL, and nobody cares if you stink up the joint for the next 15 games? Okay, so they care, because you're basically playing for your spot on next year's roster. But the team isn't about to go out and land a bevy of high-priced free agents, and there isn't a lot left here to trade with. So if you've got any talent and work ethic, you've got a good chance of cracking the squad. So they're having fun, working their butts off, and actually winning some games.

A bunch of overtime wins of late have shown that a little determination can go a long way. The Leafs aren't going to see the playoffs this year, but they could have some fun in the meantime.

Which leads to the next season - baseball. The Jays have their home opener in less than a month. Here's another team that nothing is expected of in Toronto. Nobody's making proclamations of a wild card spot or big surprises. The optimism stops at which players might make a comeback, or have a good year, or that exciting baseball may be played.

It's a team that could surprise. We've still got a pretty strong rotation of young arms, although who knows what our relief situation could look like. Our lineup has some pretty big hitters in it, and there's always the possibility of Vernon Wells actually earning his exorbitant paycheque. Are they the Yankees or Red Sox? Hell no. but this is a team that's capable of throwing together some decent streaks, putting up some good numbers, and generally making a few hours at the 'Dome worthwhile. Too bad the fans in Toronto can't appreciate the game for the game's sake, and only show up if they think the team can contend.

I suppose there's the Raptors too. 6th place in the East, although really tied for the last playoff spot. The could be good for a round or two of those games that some teams play after the regular season... whatever those are called. Playofs or something? It's been a while since we've seen any of those in this town.

Regardless, as the season on the ice winds to a close, I'm looking forward to seeing that green of the diamond again.

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