Where Are the Doubters? Biting Their Tongues

October 16, 2005

by Bardia Sinaee (HockeyNations.com – HockeyLeaks.com)

(TORONTO, ON) – There are two things in common between, Jason Allison, Eric Lindros, Jeff O’Neill, and the Toronto Maple Leafs: they all had some serious doubters, and, they have all proved them wrong in this past week.

On Tuesday, all of Leafs Nation was tuned in to see their team get its first win against one of its top rivals with two goals in the third frame. The Philadelphia Flyers could merely watch as the Leafs turned two simple power plays into two game-stealing goals. And just out of curiosity, who scored those two? None other than Jeff O’Neill and Eric Lindros. The doubters, a rather popular cult in Toronto these days, also saw Jason Allison get two points of his own.

Ironically, Bobby Clarke, the man who supposedly despised the Big E and dealt him to the Rangers in 2001, could only sit and watch on Tuesday as Lindros tied him for 10th on the all time scoring list.

Yet again the doubters struck, this time accusing the Leafs of a fluke win, and praising Atlanta because they were bound to beat up the Leafs with the return of Kovalchuk.

Someone got a beating alright, but it wasn’t the Leafs. I don’t know about you, but 9-1 doesn’t sound like a fluke to me. The doubters called O’Neill washed up, and even damaged goods, and this washed up winger used his damaged goods to score 3 goals (his second hat-trick against Atlanta) and 1 assist, while ol’ Kovalchuk was busy trying to throw the puck into the net – literally.

And, while Mr. Clarke of the Flyers was busy watching Crosby, Mr. Lindros of the Leafs snuck by him on the all-time scoring list by scoring the Leafs’ sixth goal of the night. Allison added three assists.

Silenced by the outstanding performance of the Leafs’ newest acquisitions, the doubters’ cult aimed their guns at another popular target: Ed Belfour. Ever since his acquisition, Belfour has been plagued by doubters who say he is plagued by his back. But in his first game as a Leaf, Belfour’s back didn’t seem too plagued when he picked up the Leafs and carried them to a 6-0 shutout victory.

No matter how many times he proves them wrong, Belfour still has his doubters. They are a big part of the doubter cult, constantly asking for Belfour’s removal or retirement. Yet again, Eddie stuck a sock in their mouths and single-handedly won the game for the Leafs on Saturday against a very young and fast Montreal squad.

Irrefutably, as I write this, the doubters are rock-bottom in hangover mode from Saturday’s game, while Jeff, Eric and Jason are among the top of the league in most offensive categories.

Author’s Notes:

No offense to Kovalchuk for the puck throwing comment, he’s got unlimited potential, but the Thrashers are putting too much pressure on such a young kid… Currently, the Leafs’ rookies are silencing their own doubters, Steen has 6 points in 6 games, and Wellwood has 5 points in 5 games… Ed Belfour’s son, Dayn is currently among the top goalies in his age group and already has a sizeable amount of doubters… No offense to Bobby Clarke, he’s a smart guy, but I just don’t like his attitude…

169 Responses to Where Are the Doubters? Biting Their Tongues

  1. Aetherial says:

    Leaf fans, and the Toronto media are, on the whole, completely out to lunch. There are only a few exceptions. Funny enough, a number of Leaf fans on this board are pretty thoughful and reasonable.

  2. 92-93 says:

    I disagree with you that ‘on the whole, Leaf fans are out to lunch.’ and I agree with you (last sentence) … lol.

    the toronto media is a whole other different issue. you have guys who have incredible mood swings that write for toronto papers. then you have guys like simmons that always criticizes the leafs no matter what the issue is. there are very few toronto columnists that can be taken seriously (exception: damien cox).

  3. brashman says:

    If you haven’t checked it out yet, look at Berger’s Blog on Hockeybuzz.com about Al Strachan. I really hate Strachan. He and Simmons are sooooo hypocritical. For those of you that want an insight into what the media does in TO, I suggest reading the original blog, Strachan’s response and the response by Berger.

    Eklund also wrote a good piece about the TO media in his blog last week. Basically he says when the Leafs win, start planning the cup parade, as soon as they lose they are cellar dwellers.

  4. habs79 says:

    Honestly I have very little knowledge of North Bay and middle to northern Ontario. However I wouldn’t be surprised if the hating for the Leafs was just the fact that they hate Toronto itself. I’m sure you saw the peice on the Windsor GM and coach getting suspended for the hazing. When was the last time anyone every talked about Windsor. Maybe they have an inferiority (spelling?) complex? Whenever anyone talks about Ontario, the be all and end all always seems to be Toronto. I’ve been to North Bay, and Pickering for visits. Wouldn’t want to live there, but they are quite nice.

    I just realized that whole comment really had nothing to do with hockey. Ah well, go pick-her-ring already……..LOL. I just had to get that in there.

    I do see your point, as we had the same experiences, just at opposite ends of the spectrum. You got bugged for liking the Leafs, I got bugged for not liking them. Although I have to admit it was fun every year everyone gets their hopes up, the deeper they get in the playoffs. Win round one, and every says this is the year. I would just stay quiet and let them talk, then when they faced Hasek or Brodeur, or Irbe? (even I didn’t see that one comming). I just knew whenever they faced a goalie that was as good or better than their goalie, it was over. I would just say this is the round they go out. They would laugh and say “no way you’re stupid they are going to win the Cup.” Ah well it was always fun getting the last laugh.

  5. Ace_Bailey says:

    This article is sort of like comparing the Leafs to the Yankees (but with a playoff streak like the Red Sox). Every season the Yanks tank in the beginning. Even this season they did so poorly that I thought the Jays might’ve had a chance to make a run for the wild card, but the Yankees came back. Older teams tend to start slow and finish strong.

    That’s my theory. We’ll just see how it plays out.

  6. burnz30 says:

    Czerkawski hasn’t done anything yet. I thought that he had a pretty good pre season, but he has been invisable so far in the regular season. Hopefully he can find his grove and start producing instead of just floating around!! If he doesn’t get it going, he’s probably going on waivers (like you said).

  7. 92-93 says:

    you had the easier task as well. its easier to say a team will lose then it is to say a team will win (let alone win a cup). I am just grateful that the Leafs have been competitive over the last 12-13 years.

    i saw alot of gnashing of teeth in the free agency period from leaf fans over the club not making the playoffs. i couldn’t believe it! i remember following them when they had NO CHANCE to make the playoffs. i even remember during the early 1990s (before gilmour) when i would keep track of the standings in say something like… ‘OK, the leafs are 10pts out of a playoff spot with 5 games to go, so if they only won their last 5 games and the team ahead of us could lose 5 straight games, then we’ll tie them and …’

    pathetic i know but my point is that i am grateful every year just to see the leafs compete for a playoff spot let alone being in the top 8 in the NHL. if you look at it that way – regardless of how high they finish in the standings – every victory in the playoffs is a great thing. people look at the leafs losing in the 2nd and 3rd round and shake their heads and say ‘they suck.’ they just don’t understand. they just don’t know. the leafs losing in the 2nd round means that they were one of 8 teams that had a shot at making it and in the 3rd round they were one of 4! what’s wrong with that? alot of teams in the NHL hardly ever get that far on a consistent basis.

    just a little insight in behind some of the reasoning of why some fans celebrate what appears to be meaningless victories.

  8. Aetherial says:

    Sadly, a lot of other people on this board laughed their ass off at Czerkawski signing. I defended it, and even put up some pretty convincing numbers in my arguement.

    Apparently, they were right and I am wrong.

  9. Aetherial says:

    Not sure if you live here or not but if you don’t then you can’t understand. Believe me when I say that Leaf fans are utterly delusional a lot of the time.

  10. Aetherial says:

    Al Strachan is the biggest moron in town. Thankfully he was dropped from the Second intermission piece on HNIC. He consistently made himself look like an idiot.

    Throughout the lockout he spewed some of the most ridiculous crap I have ever heard…. well, except for the daily dose of garbage on this site.

  11. Aetherial says:

    The Leafs won’t be *picking up* anyone.

    They HAVE to allow for Allison’s bonuses in their budget. I am not going to argue, they simply do have to allow for it, or suffer next year for it.

    That puts them at like 38 million. This will go down as some people have to go back to the minors. They are carrying a failry big roster.

    The point is, unless they trade someone who makes decent dollars, they won’t get anything back worthwhile.

    So far, under the new rules. McCabe and Kaberle are about the two biggest D-man bargains in the league. So who the hell are they going to trade?

    Forget it. They live or die with this team. They will likley scramble for a playoff spot and be out in the first or second round… not as bad as everyone else’e projections and not as great as the Leafs Fans projections.

  12. 92-93 says:

    I used to live in T.O. so I know where some people are coming from. but ‘Maple Leaf fans’ extend well beyond the borders of Toronto. in fact there might way more fans that live outside of Toronto then there are living IN toronto.

    its just plain wrong to generalize. that’s my point. and if you think generalizing a large group of people, numbering in the millions, scattered throughout the world or completely contained within the city limits of Toronto, is an OK thing or is an accurate thing to do, then you need to really step back for a sec. sure its only a sports team and its only a game, but generalizing people is both frustrating (for those being generalized and ‘summed up’), dangerous and it often reveals/point to larger deeper issues.

    how do you know that fans in other cities are not ‘delusional alot of the time’? does the fact that toronto has a larger fan base mean that they are the most delusional if a smaller fan base has roughly the same percentage of delusional followers (fewer in number, but the same ratio)???

    its just nonsense. and i am sick and tired of it and i am not going to accept it, ever. i’ll call people on it every time regardless of who they cheer for, and then i’ll move on to what my point is (and i hope others call me on it too). I made the same mistake in another post about the sens (even though i noted that i was making the mistake in the post itself) when i said that ‘all sens fans have one eye on their team and one eye on toronto’ which i thought was kinda of sad and pathetic. but you know what? i live in ottawa now and i see that its not entirely true. alot of the ottawa media is obsessed with what the Leafs do but not necessarily the fans. sure they come out to the corel centre in larger numbers to boo the leafs a little louder but they are just having fun (and sure it could indicate a anti-toronto bias in the nation’s capital but it doesn’t mean that everyone that is booing really hates toronto, they could just be joining in to feel like they belong).

    in any case, its wrong to generalize and more importantly: it is ALWAYS wrong and problematic to generalize. generalizations are used to try to distill something very complicated and unpredictable into something that is easier to handle and explain. but they almost always oversimplify things until the opinion itself becomes unreliable and inaccurate. that is why when you are trying to prove a point when you writer a paper such generalizations are discouraged – they are bad for constructing sound opinions. there is no phenonemon or group of people that deserve to be generalized whether its a serious political issue or a non-serious group of sport fans.

  13. fanboi says:

    Bobby Clarke – Could only watch….

    and look at his two stanley cup rings compared to zero for Lindros….

  14. fanboi says:


    4th Place in the Northeast Division

    6th Place in the Conference

    W00t! Well Done

    — Check Back at the Olympic Break

  15. 92-93 says:

    Leafs are now 4-1-2 with the Leafs having a 3rd period lead in all 7 games. however, in 4 of those games they have blown that lead.

    i am not surprised that quinn is pissed about the way the leafs are playing – regardless of the time off and the fact that its early in the season. and don’t say that its just his job to be pissed and expect more out of the guys. the Maple Leafs are not going to keep winning the way they are playing D (forwards and defensemen – although Kaberle and McCabe are surprising some people with their play). they are running around their end way too much. the forwards are not giving the D-guys a way out of the zone and both of them are not covering their assignments.

    as much as one can say that the Leafs are lucky to have the record they have (and they are) one can also say that the Leafs should be 7-0 right now. the 3rd period lead they blew tonight was a 2-goal lead (not a big lead in the new NHL but if it wasn’t for belfour the leafs wouldn’t be in this thing). and the last game against montreal – the Leafs SHOULD have blown their lead (if it wasn’t for Belfour to hold them in – they were outshot 14-5!!!). in the 2 games against ottawa and in the home game against the Habs the Leafs got a 3rd period lead and just fell apart afterwards (habs and sens fans would have you believe that its because their team is just so good and that is why the Leafs couldn’t hold the lead but i have not been impressed with the way the sens have played against the leafs or with the habs more generally … but its early of course).

    i love the way the D and forwards are clicking in the offensive zone – especially on the PP. the leafs have 7 players with 7pts or more (Steen, Kaberle, O’Neill, Lindros, Allison, Tucker, McCabe) and the young guys are chipping in too (Stajan – 4 pts, Wellwood – 5 pts). Czerkwaski is taking up space on the payroll and something needs to be done (habs fans knew this all along). but he is the only one really not performing here (even Antropov has had his share of good games).

    the saturday game against the Flyers is the perfect game for the Leafs to really get their act together because if they can win that game, they will then have a home-and-home against a boston club that hasn’t looked that good (so far). they can then head home to face Hasek’s Sens and Luongo’s Panthers and face two really tough challenges at the end of the month. however, for all the good news about the Leaf’s ‘good’ start (and it is good news), the players are not really going to feel panicked to improve their D and Quinn himself has complained at the nonchalance during practices. if you are winning, no matter how precarious the wins are, you don’t feel you need to improve. it is for this reason that i think that if the Leafs begin to lose at this point – against Philly, Ottawa, etc. in the next 5-10 games, I do not think it is exactly the end of the world. in fact, it seems very necessary that the slump should start sooner than later for alot of reasons:

    1) the panic/realization will set in that they can’t keep playing the way they are

    2) it is early in the season

    3) its is before Sundin’s return so the improvements will get be complimented/given a boost with his return.

  16. 92-93 says:

    by the way, its still early i know but the northeast is not surprising anyone right now. its one tough division. only boston is really lagging behind and they’ll pick up their play soon enough. and the Sabres are going to be around all season long and will definitely challenge for the last couple of playoff spots. only the Northwest and the Pacific Divisions also have pretty tough divisions.

    Sens 5 wins 10pts 5 games

    Habs 5 wins 10pts 7 games

    Buff. 5 wins 10 pts 7 games

    Leafs 4 wins 10pts 7 games

    Bos. 3 wins 6 pts 8 games

  17. 92-93 says:

    what’s the situation with the D when Pilar comes back in December/Janurary? I know there’s the rumours of Antropov for Witt, but it just won’t happen considering the cap situation. plus, after Pilar comes back the leafs will have too many D. Personally, I think once Pilar gets back into shape (which may take awhile), the leafs D should look like:





    Where’s Colliacovo? Brown? Belak? Kronvall?. Colliacovo and Kronvall need to connect with the Marlies and work on their D and get lots of minutes. Belak … who cares!?!? If Brown really impresses with the Marlies then bring him up. But it is Berg (and his $1.1 million dollar contract) that will be used no matter what so maybe his role could be limited to being cycled into the defence as injuries/bad play dictates (not likely considering Quinn’s infatuation with Berg).

    Khavanov and Klee is an OK second D-line but I think Pilar and Woz would work well together for some reason. But am I the only one who seems really unimpressed with Khavanov so far? He’s not as bad as Belak but he isn’t much better than Berg either. I think the Leafs just need to give their young guys alot of minutes: so stop sitting Woz and let him play and keep giving loads of minutes to Colliacovo and Kronvall with the Marlies so they can come up next year and finally make the likes of Berg, Khavanov, Belak obsolete.

    next year’s D could look like this (if they resign certain guys and let other guys go – I mean, if they take the amount they are spending on guys like Berg and Belak and tack it on to what Kaberle and McCabe and Klee are making, maybe they can keep those big-3 guys?):




    [Kronvall or Brown]

    all in all, how is Witt going to come into this year’s Leaf line-up? Maybe if the Leafs unloaded Belak too (or Khavanov for an extra pick). The leafs need to unload the likes of Belak and Czerkawski and if Khavanov and Antropov need to be included to make a deal happen then so be it. I am still holding out hope for Thomas to come in and fill-in as an extra-forward. I know its not going to happen but honestly, even in the new NHL, would you rather have Czerkawski or Thomas? I think the answer is obvious. Thomas doesn’t have much speed but he has positioning (that is why he scores the big goals he scores).

  18. 92-93 says:

    so i guess the Flyers-Leaf game proves my post above. the mistakes finally caught up to the Leafs at the end of 60 minutes resulting in a loss.

    this is a group of talented guys but they have to work hard at winning and playing D – something that was not there tonight. it is particularly disappointing considering that they were playing a Flyers squad whom eliminated the Leafs last year (motivation to beat the Flyers, wasn’t enough). quinn has continually spoken out about the way the Buds haven’t worked hard in practice and the way the forwards hand around the neutral zone looking for the quick-and-easy pass or play.

    this is not uncommon for a team coached by quinn. his open, quasi-system style of coaching often results in this kind of problem and i think he is completely aware of that. all he can do is try to get the guys to work harder and to realize that its the only way to remain competitive with other teams. i am worried that when Sundin comes back, the team will relax even more – like they did against carolina in 2002 playoffs. up until that point, the leafs had a group of AHLers – and guys like McCauley who didn’t play a prominent role – come together under the leadership of Roberts and really work hard. when sundin came back, many leaf fans blamed him for messing with this chemistry but the truth is, in my opinion, that the rest of the guys relaxed a little (which in the 3rd round of the NHL playoffs means a lot).

    in any case, the point of this whole thread was to put down the doubters of the Leafs. while it is too easy and early to make such conclusions, the Leafs are certainly not as bad as many predicted. many believed that they did not have the talent to make the playoffs and its painfully evident that is completely false. the problem is their work ethic, which is easy to fix. tonight’s game was pathetic, hardly any shots, no sense of coherence at times. there was some tough luck (non-call on the high stick on Domi, the disallowed goal that should have been a goal), but the way the Buds played tonight, they deserved to lose. hopefully they’ll play better against the Bruins and start working harder.

  19. shotgun says:

    According to Quinn the refs blew it for them. That pretty much sums up his coaching style. The Leafs were winning the match ups against the boards and Quinn says it’s some kind of dirty Philly hockey. The biggest cheap shotting, diving team is calling out everyone else instead of looking in the mirror. Lindros and Allison haven’t proved anything yet. They have both been on the ice for some amount of time, just not a whole season. Well, it’s still the beginning of the season which means they’ll have plenty of chances to disappoint.

    It’s this kind of post that makes me sick of rooting for my team.

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