With Captain Mats Sundin injured and their playoff hopes growing dimmer by the hour, each and every player looked deep inside and found inspiration.
They remembered what it meant to be a Leaf. They remembered the pride, the tradition, they remembered those who wore the jersey before them and they remembered the fans. They hit the ice with the determination of men possessed. The Buffalo players saw the fire in their eyes and trembled. They knew they were playing the real Leafs.
Then the clock radio started. You hit the snooze button as fast as possible but, reality had already begun to sink in.
The Buffalo Sabres wandered into the ACC last night and beat the Leafs 6-2. They did not play particularly well but were able to out hit, out skate, and out score the Leafs. To add injury to insult Nik Antropov left the ice with a swollen knee.
With 74 points the Leafs sit 12th in the conference, six points behind the Flyers with only nine games left. Do the math.
Many people have claimed Toronto's ownership is to blame as they are content to simply fill the seats. Why spend money on players when the fans come out to the game anyway? Those folks are only half right. Management is at fault but not through negligence.
The fact is not one person in the organization (some players excepted) understands hockey or what it means to BE a Leaf. It would be best for all if the Leafs were put up for sale.
Now, where can we find someone with the necessary knowledge, passion, and cash?