Archive for March 8th, 2012

And then there were six

- March 8th, 2012

A revealing stat, or fact, was laid bare by TSN during the Maple Leafs/Penguins game on Wednesday night.
And it certainly puts into perspective how bad the Leafs have been since the lockout that killed the 2004-05 season.
Just six NHL players have participated in a playoff game with the Leafs, who are about to hit eight years (or seven seasons) since their most recent playoff appearance.
Steve Sullivan, Nik Antropov, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Tomas Kaberle and Matt Stajan played in a playoff game while wearing a Leafs sweater. The sixth, Adam Mair, is not in the NHL right now but playing for Springfield, the American Hockey League affiliate of the New Jersey Devils, this season.
The Leafs’ previous playoff game was on May 4, 2004 at the Air Canada Centre when the Philadelphia Flyers beat them 3-2 in overtime.
What’s more, the Leafs could have another distinct post-season fact all to themselves this spring. Few die-hard Leafs fans need a reminder that only Toronto and the Florida Panthers have not been in the playoffs since the lockout. The Panthers stand a good chance of getting in next month, which would leave the Leafs as the only members of that group.
While some Leafs fans have been wishing for the firing of general manager Brian Burke to go along with that of Ron Wilson, it’s doubtful Burke goes anywhere this off-season. But if the Leafs’ futility is pushed to nine years in 2013, it’s hard to see how Burke survives.