The NHL and Stan Lee: Do they hate the Leafs?
How's your vacation going so far? Me, I feel so relaxed after only one day. I can barely remember the 624 missed shots that have taken 1,937 days off my life this season.
And yet, strangely, I also miss those magnificent Leaf bastards.
I know, right? It's an illness. We are all sick in the head.
You've no doubt heard about this Guardian Project, to be officially unveiled at the All-Star Game this weekend. And you've no doubt thought: Why is a professional sports league collaborating with the creator of Spider-Man to produce a new series of superheroes based on NHL teams but not set in the world of hockey?
Like spam, New Coke, flying cars or Paula Abdul, the Guardian Project just doesn't make much sense. But now that most of the Guardians have been revealed, there is another question we should be asking here in Toronto: Do the NHL and Stan Lee hate the Leafs?
Have we Leaf fans not suffered enough this season? The acute depression caused by losing streaks? The failed comebacks? The ever-shrinking speck along the horizon that is the eighth and final playoff spot? Dion Phaneuf's shooting accuracy?
Is all of this not enough? Now we have to be the laughingstock in a make-believe world?
Look at the other Guardians.
The Avalanche is shooting ice bolts from his fingertips. The Flame is melting enemies with fire surging from his eye sockets. The Bruin has grizzly fangs and the head of a bear, which can only mean he was loosely based on Zdeno Chára.
The Red Wing has "wings that resemble an F-14 fighter jet" and the power to "telekinetically manipulate anything mechanical." The Panther has "razor sharp gold tipped claws that can slash through 6-inch thick metal walls." The Blackhawk has "six wing blades that when deployed extend from his body and allow him to fly like a human dragonfly."
NHL? Stan Lee? Really?
All the other Guardians have ferocious features and dazzling superpowers and you turned us into a... tree?
And don't even try to tell me this is because we are the "Leafs," okay? The Penguin has human legs! The Shark can breathe on land! The Panther walks upright!
Oh, and I bet they're all just thrilled to be fighting evil alongside The Maple Leaf, what with his immobile trunk-legs and gnarly deformities and terrifying photosynthesis.
The other Guardians have sleek metallic torsos and bulging muscles. Our Guardian is "composed entirely of wood." The other Guardians strike menacing poses. Our Guardian looks like he's waiting for a bus, a bus that only picks up harmless tree people with beach ball faces.
The other Guardians fire laser beams or manipulate the weather or ride tsunamis and futuristic motorcycles. Our Guardian plans to obliterate dark forces with "sticky sap bombs" and his ability to "communicate with the plant world."
How is our Guardian supposed to believe in himself when he can be felled by an errant cigarette butt or Asian longhorn beetle or frigging Woody Woodpecker?
I mean, honestly.
We have enough to worry about with our team. Now we have to deal with fans of other teams posting pictures to Google and claiming this is our Guardian? Now we face ridicule for our win-loss record and our superhero?
Shame on you, NHL. And shame on you, Stan Lee.
We Leaf fans deserved better.