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September 19, 2008

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Playing possum

Are you like me?

small rocket

Are you all a-quiver about the beginning of NHL training camp? Thought so.

As a Montreal Canadiens fan, I should be extra-a-quiver as Les Glorieux are celebrating their 100th year as the marquis team in the NHL. They host the All Star Game. They host the next junior draft. And they are retiring Patrick Roy's sweater on November 22nd (get it? 11/22? 11 + 22 = 33? Heh heh.) Many pundits are saying the planets are aligning, the old ghosts from the Forum are in play, and the Montreal Canadiens will win the Stanley Cup this year.

Ahem.

I don't think so. In fact, I'm worried that they will underachieve so badly with this pressure this year, that they won't even get past the first round of the playoffs. Think about it: last season, those same pundits were saying the Habs would not make the playoffs, and what did they do? Won the Eastern Conference! They were seeded second, next to the mighty Detroit Red Wings!

When the pressure was off, Montreal excelled. With the pressure on...I'm thinking not so much.

Which leads me to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Seriously. This team REALLY sucks! Their biggest splash in player personnel this off season was signing a guy named, Jeff Finger. Uh-huh. (Are you like me? Do you think Finger's number should be 11? Heh heh.) For the first time since the Ballard years, no one is expecting Toronto to make it to the playoffs. Even those faithful who thought last year's lineup had a chance don't believe it. 70 points as best, they all say.

Which means the Toronto Maple Leafs will probably make the playoffs. They'll overachieve because Leaf Nation is allowing them to be stinky bad. Mark my words. There's something to be said about playing possum, about having no expectations. In a watered-down league of 30 teams, a team as gut-puking awful as the 2008 Maple Leafs could contend. For the playoffs. Not the Cupô, the playoffs. And that's me, a Montreal fan saying so.

Thanks and good luck.

Please don't kill me.

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