Looking Back, It All Seems So Rosy. . .
Call it rear-view mirror syndrome.
Despite 41 years of non-championship play - some call it endless losing - it is remarkable how some of those who were involved with the Maple Leafs as coaches and executives during those years are seen to have been enormous successes.
For reference, look how many people were happy to see Cliff Fletcher return in January, as though all the problems that existed back when he was fired as the team's GM in 1997 had just evaporated with time.
To these people, the return of Cliffy meant Dougie scoring on the wraparound on Cujo and all that was once good. That a '93 Leaf team couldn't win on home ice in Game 7 against a low-seeded L.A. team is simply forgotten.
Lots of people, it seems, would be more than happy if Fletcher stayed on as the permanent Leaf GM, or at least for another year.
Now, with the coaching job open, a Star poll tells us the top choice for Leaf head coach is. . .ta da!. . . Pat Burns, with 29 per cent of respondents saying Burns is the man for the job.
No. 3 on the list? Pat Quinn, with 14 per cent.
Failure, it's fair to say, never taints anyone with the Leafs. It seems to make them more attractive over time.
It's not just Star readers. Bob McCown of the Fan 590, a former colleague and a pal, went public this week with his choice for Leaf coach, and it was also Burns.
Now I like Bob. Smart guy. Understands the city and knows the teams. Wrote a book on hockey and everything.
But another person who thinks turning back the page to an era when winning didn't happen is going to make it happen now.
The rear-view mirror syndrome, usually accompanied by new reasons why the person in question didn't succeed last time, why it was somebody else's fault, and this time it'll work for sure. Just a special part of being a Torontonian, I suppose.