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article imageOp-Ed: P.K. Subban has more heart than entire Maple Leafs organization

By Rocco Pendola     May 14, 2014 in Sports
What will the Leafs do if the Montreal Canadiens win the Stanley Cup? The discrepancy between the Leafs and Habs speaks volumes to Toronto's perpetual patheticism (my word).
After years of dealing with the same and similar crap as a Leafs fan, I fear we're close to, if not past the point of no return. Because even if Montreal doesn't get past Boston (we know what happened there!) the Canadiens' franchise has outdone the Leafs' organization in every way possible. For goodness sake, Montreal was in disarray just two years ago (remember when they traded Mike Cammalleri during a game!). And now they're a legitimate Cup contender who might lose to, but will not choke at the grubby hands of the Boston Bruins.
Some context ...
I write about tech companies for a living. And I'm starting to do sport talk on Fox Sports Radio. It's been a seamless experience because you can draw parallels between what happens in technology and sports. Increasingly, we argue about companies and stocks they way we debate teams and players.
Here's a verbal specimen: An article I wrote for about Apple's superiority with its iPhone over Google's Android operating system. The response to that article reminds me of the (misguided) passion a few tortured souls exhibited back when Jim Balsillie was killing BlackBerry. Like the Apple versus Android camps, diehards of the artist formerly known as RIM couldn't let go. They fought to the death and wound up in a rhetorical pool of their own blood.
Supporting the Leafs feels like as much of a lost cause as it was to back BlackBerry. The Leafs are the BlackBerry of the National Hockey League. It's not simply that they fail, it's that they fail in the worst possible way. It's that the Leafs fail -- most miserably -- during the season when the Canadiens have a team built to win the Stanley Cup.
It's probably impossible to figure out why, but the Canadiens appear to fear losing more than the Maple Leafs do. You can't fall back on the standard the fans will support the franchise win or lose so there's no urgency to win argument because that's the case in both Montreal and Toronto.
Montreal's front office deserves as much credit as we can spew at them. They have experienced as much tumult as Toronto. And they have not simply worked through it, they seem to have thrived off of it.
While the Leafs can't keep it together, persist and resist the psychological forces that trigger collapse, guys like P. K. Subban get off on the pressure. After Game Six, Subban told Pierre McGuire on the NBC Sports Network that he couldn't wait to go into Boston to play Game Seven. That the environment there is what it's all about. And it makes him even more hungry to win. That type of passion simply doesn't exist in Toronto. For whatever reason, it's not part of the culture. As long as there's gas in the Bentley, Dion Phaneuf's all good.
The best thing that could ever happen to Maple Leafs fans as well as the franchise is a Canadiens Stanley Cup appearance. I'm rooting for it. It's oddly easy to root for Montreal even as a Leafs fan. I don't think I'm alone in that sentiment. Montreal plays the way we wish the Leafs would play. You can't help but respect that. This should irk the living heck out of the entire Maple Leafs organization, assuming they can muster the level of concern for their collective future as an individual like Subban does during a pivotal moment in a seven-game playoff series.
Nobody in Toronto should be off-limits. Put everybody on the trading block. This isn't Pittsburgh where Sidney Crosby failed because of those around him. Crosby has passion. He just needs help and real protection. Toronto fails because its best players don't seem to thrive off of anything. And the worst part is, like BlackBerry, there doesn't appear to be an obvious fix. There's no remedy for the Maple Leafs short of wholesale change, which will likely lead to more talk of rebuilding and waiting for new units to mesh.
I'm stilling "waiting for next year," but I've almost had enough.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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