I'll be honest, I’m not a math person. I have no interest in statistic wonkery or crunching numbers. That’s why I specialize in dick jokes, youtube and slashfic. However, there are some stats that even I cannot ignore.
I first time started to really care about hockey (and specifically the Leafs) began early in my last year of high school. This would place my timing in late 2004. We all know what happened in 2004 , so that season’s a write off. However, let’s take a look at the seasons after that. All numbers are from eth Maple Leafs website and only take into account the regular season.
2005-2006: 18th in the league, with 90 points and a 0.549 winning percentage. To be fair, this was also my first year of university, so…let’s just say there’s quite a bit I don’t remember. I do remember high-fiving some random guy at a party because 1) he was wearing a Leafs shirt and 2) Mats Sundin was not in need of surgery to fix a broken orbital bone. I also remember high-fiving another girl because of the acquisition of Eric Lindros. To be honest, I think that was during Frosh Week, which was one big blur to me anyway.
2006-2007: 18th in the league, 91 points, 0.55 winning percentage. There isn’t a lot I remember about this season, except one of my favorite hockey memories so far. I was in second year, in the common room of one of the dorms. I was watching a Habs-Leafs game (I think it was a Leafs home game, but I’m not sure) as the lone Leafs fan in a room of five or six Habs fans . The game went to a shootout, which the Leafs notoriously suck at. The best part of the night was not that the Leafs won, but rather the reactions of the Habs guys. It was a blast hearing the rink announcer say something like “next for the Maple Leafs…ALEXEI…PONIKAROVSKY!!!” and seeing the Habs guys go “OH FUCK! NOO!!!”
2007-2008: October 2007 was when I actually started writing about the Leafs. The Leafs finished 23rd in the league with 83 points and a 0.506 winning percentage.
2008-2009: finished 24th in the entire league, 81 points and a 0.494 winning percentage. Much swearing, tears, and alcohol consumption.
2009-2010: Finished 29th in the entire league with 74 points and a 0.451 winning percentage. I wanted to drink this team and myself into oblivion.
Each year, the team missed the playoffs. I know that some years were closer misses than others, but they were still misses. Now, I understand that the nature of sports teams is highly cyclic. I know that teams go through ups and downs and in a league with 30 teams, dry spells are inevitable. Just to be on the safe side, let’s look at the five years before I started following the Leafs, not counting the lockout.
2003-2004: finished FIFTH in the entire league with 103 points and a winning percentage of 0.628
2002-2003: NINTH in the league with 98 points and a 0.598 winning percentage.
2001-2002: Finished THIRD in the league with 100 points and a winning percentage of 0.610.
2000-2001: 14th in the league with 90 points and .549 winning percentage.
1999-2000: 7th in the league (out of 28 teams) with 100 points and 0.610 winning percentage.
What in the Hell happened?
On behalf of fans, be they LeafsNation, Spawn of ’67, PPP girlfriends, or Damien Cox sock puppets, I’d like to offer an apology. I am truly and deeply sorry that I decided, for no logical or sentimental reason, became a Leafs fan.