Shooting for Success
It's an interesting time for folks who cheer for the Maple Leafs.
A look at the roster and the competition suggests going back-to-back - '67 AND '07 - is a pipe dream.
But if the Carolina Hurricanes can the win the Stanley Cup and the Edmonton Eskimos can miss the CFL playoffs for the first time in 34 years and - just maybe - the Detroit Tigers can capture the World Series all within the same 12-month period, well who's to say what's possible?
But you have to wonder if something less, something more of an individual nature, might go a long, long way to giving Leaf fans a real belief the team is moving in the right direction under JFJ and Paul Maurice.
How about a scoring title? Haven't had one of those since Gordie Drillon in 1938.
Or a Rocket Richard Trophy? The silverware didn't exist back then, but Frank Mahovlich
led the league in goals with had 48 back in '61, although Boom Boom Geoffrion scored two more to lead the league.
Then, there's the Hart Trophy for MVP. Ted Kennedy was the last Leaf to grab that trophy back in 1955.
Based on today, of course, Martin Havlat's going to win all three.
But it's not hard to imagine the impact it would have on the city if Mats Sundin could find his way to one of those coveted awards this season.
He's shooting more and playing more like a goal-scorer, and the team is apparently looking like a club that could surprise in the standings and with the amount of offence it can generate.
Don't remember those predictions from last year than Jonathan Cheechoo was going to win The Rocket. So surprises do happen.
Nothing would be as big, of course, as winning the Cup. But if Sundin could have such a spectacular season that he would find one of those trophies on his mantle, they'd probably be willing to hang his jersey immediately from the rafters, so starved is this franchise for something resembling recent success.
As of today, the most interesting question for Leaf-aholics might be this; if you were to rank the captains of the post-George Armstrong era in order of their impact on the city and the team while they wore the "C", how would you rank them?
For me, it would go like this:
1. Darryl Sittler.
2. Mats Sundin
3. Doug Gilmour
4. Dave Keon
5. Wendel Clark
6. Rick Vaive
7. Rob Ramage.