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Sports: Young Buds – Leafs Season Preview

Ever since I can remember, the beginning of October has been like an early Christmas to me. After mailing Santa my wish list, I’d run downstairs on that fall evening to see what was waiting for me under the tree. For years, I’d be overjoyed with what I received and couldn’t ask for anything more. Then one year, Christmas in October never came around, and things haven’t been the same ever since. If you’re a die hard Toronto Maple Leafs fan like me, you’ve probably received coal for the past five years too. Now facing the possibility of a sixth straight season on the outside looking in, the Leafs are hoping to surprise everyone this fall, and bring the passion of the blue and white back to its roots.

So, what exactly can bring the Leafs back to the glory days? No, I’m not talking about their beautiful new duds for this season. I’m talking good old hard-hitting, “rock ‘em sock ‘em” hockey. Or, the kind of hockey Brian Burke has been aiming to bring back. One can only reminisce about the Leafs of the early 21st century, drawing comparisons to the likes of the Broad Street Bullies. But those days could become a reality again if Burke stays on track. I mean, what Canadian hockey fan wouldn’t love to see some more old school teams? The last time we saw one of those was 2007 in Anaheim. I wonder who put that team together…oh wait.

Speaking of that Ducks team, let’s take a look at their blueprint for success. Yes, there is the aforementioned Chuck Norris-style play, but how about those speedy forwards? Ever since Burke flipped the bird to the draft, the Leafs have had to resort to building through free agency and trades, resulting in less fast-skating youngsters. For the Leafs to put up decent offensive numbers this season, Burke must work his best move to date by trading Mikhail Grabovski for Sidney Crosby (can’t see Ray Shero agreeing to that). In other words, the Leafs will be relying heavily on their back end to keep them in tight games.

This year’s team will feature the first Leafs captain since Mats Sundin. Most people underestimate the power of a solidified leader, but if training camp is any indication, Dion Phaneuf is about to convince the naysayers. At the Leafs first practice, Captain Dion was already on players’ cases, telling them to keep their heads up. If life on the practice rink turns into a boot camp, count me in. But before I begin praising him, there’s still a full season of captaincy ahead.

If Toronto can learn to become an exciting team, not only will they begin to find success, but Torontonian hockey fans may start to turn on the game more often. The more that happens, the closer we get to the glory days when it was cool to cheer for the home team. Although the future looks up, these young buds still have a fair bit of convincing to do. It all starts by putting on those Santa suits and bringing little boys everywhere what they want.

Comments

  • Joshua solti

    Haha nice job man this is awesome!!!!!

  • Amber

    Awesome post Connor! I love the Christmas metaphor – I think people have forgotten what it was like to get that excited in October. Hopefully this year is a good one for the Leafs.

  • Connor Sziklasi

    Thanks guys!

    And I sure hope so too, good thing we don’t have to wait much longer.

  • Chris

    Great post dude. Keep it coming young gangsta!

  • John Gerontzos

    My boy! Love the passion fam!

  • Tom

    Nice post. I’ll be cheering right along with you. It may take a few years yet, but if you’re not cheering them on today, it’s not as sweet when they finally do win it all!

  • sabrina

    ya baby.
    go leafs go !!

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