Toronto Maple Leafs: Where Losing Is Not an Option, It's a Given

Gerald NortonFeatured ColumnistNovember 29, 2010

Toronto Maple Leafs: Where Losing Is Not an Option, It's a Given

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    Abelimages/Getty Images

    Decades. 

    That's how long it has been since the Toronto Maple Leafs have even competed for a Stanley Cup.

    Years. 

    That's how long it has been since the Leafs have even made the post season.

    Limitless. 

    That seems to be the number of reasons why the Leafs are the biggest losers in professional sports, but here are the top five reasons the Leafs are in their most recent mess.

The Fans

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    #1? In losing...oh the humanity.Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images

    The Fans.

    If losing isn't an option, you'd never know it by speaking to a Leafs fan, or at least enough of them.  Sellouts, hand-over-fist merchandise sales and wall-to-wall media consumption, all in the face of decades of abject failure, says it all.

    Toronto Maple Leafs fans don't mind paying to support losing teams.

    Owners don't mind giving them what they paid for.

The Media

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    Don't worry Don, soon enough you won't remember any of the bad years.Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    The Media.

    Like the fans, the media seem willing to accept any degree of abysmal play and still shill out big bucks to support it.

    The CBC treats Toronto as the lone team in Eastern Canada, only to lament poor ratings come playoff time when the Leafs once again fail to make the cut.

    If all you broadcast are the Leafs, don't be surprised when, like the Leafs, your audience disappears come the postseason.

    Add to this the mind-numbing amount of hype and hyperbole spewed to placate the TML fanbase, and it's no wonder Leafs Nation has delusions of grandeur.

The Draft

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    Bettman opens the 2010 draft while Burke is hiding in the washroom.Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    It's not just the picks, which have been less than stellar, it's the trading of them, both before selected, or soon there after.

    In the past decade of drafts, the Leafs have retained two of their No. 1 picks, Schenn and Kadri, neither of whom are exactly "franchise" players.

    Two.

    Add to this the impending loss of their 2011 first-rounder and you have the makings of years of futility.

Management Trades/Signings

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    Hey Tooks, bet we win a Cup before the Leafs even make the post season!"Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Raycroft for Rask?

    Finger?

    Kessel for two firsts and a second?

    The list goes on and on and on... just like the losing.

The Officiating

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    The man who single handedly stole the Cup from the Leafs...Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    The Officiating.

    Or, at least according to the fans. 

    The fact that the Leafs are one of the few teams consistently sporting a positive penalty plus/minus, while being one of the worst teams in the league, notwithstanding.

    Whatever.