Yes, the Toronto Maple Leafs roll into town this Saturday, which means we must ready ourselves for watching “Canada’s Team” play a game of stick and puck at Rogers Arena. There is no prouder tradition then watching an entire panel of CBC hosts fawn over everything Maple Leaf.
I know we pretty much know the rules for how to handle a visit from the Leafs, but just as a good reminder, and maybe as a handy guide for any new fans to the team, here are the things you must remember anytime the Leafs play the Canucks on a Saturday night.
1. The game will start at 4
Why? Because eff you, that’s why.
Who are you to ask for a home game to start at the same time as normal home games?? You expect Toronto to have to stay up to watch a game on a Saturday?? They have things to do! Think of all of the things! So many things! So many important things us west coasters just wouldn’t understand.
As one Redditer put it, us west coasters “do not tend to have personalities or interesting things to talk about” whereas east coasters are “warm and genuine.” Who are we to argue with Reddit?
Yes, we are truly blessed Toronto is coming early in December to remind us west coasters how to celebrate holidays with warmth and love instead of cold sullen anger and civil war over badly made mashed potatoes. Don’t boil them too long, and don’t over-mix them, how hard is that to understand??
Now to be fair, a game starting at 4 on a Saturday can be nice because it can free up your night. But damn it, part of you knows it only happened because Toronto deemed it had to be that way, and that will eat you up inside while you’re downing Jagger bombs and wondering how you got glitter inside your wallet and shoes.
2. Where is Auston Matthews??
One of things they did in wrestling with their big stars was always have the commentary try and keep the people wondering where their number one attraction was at all times. If Hulk Hogan isn’t on screen and it’s a couple of luchadores fighting in the ring, commentary would start talking about how one of the guys in the ring has purple pants, and boy oh boy, that’s one of the Hulksters favourite colours, brother.
You always want people wondering what your main guy is up to. Keep him at the front of their minds.
With Matthews, it will be the same sort of deal. You’re going to hear a lot about him. Even if he’s not on screen.
Boeser score a slick goal? Well, that sure reminds them of Auston Matthews in his rookie year.
Bo Horvat dangle around someone? Shoot, isn’t that the same move Matthews did last week?
Zamboni on the ice? Couldn’t they call them Mattbonis instead?
It’s going to be a heavy dose of Matthews in the lead up, during, and after the game.
Remember when he missed his first NHL game due to injury? Of course you do, because it was the top three stories on TSN for like a week. We already had to read about his heroic recovery from a cold, God help us all if he ever gets the flu.
“Well last I checked his bodily fluid emissions were hitting 12 ounces per minute Bob.”
“While it’s upsetting he’s sick, that rate of bodily fluid emission is quite high for a rookie, isn’t it Jeff?”
“Why yes Bob, here are 12 charts going over his vomiting, vomiting that hasn’t been seen at this rate since a young Wendel Clark joined the Leafs.”
“What. A. Player.”
3. Don’t bother with intermissions
The Canucks get 1994 retrospectives from the Rangers point of views on the best of days from Hockey Night in Canada, so don’t hope for anything Canucks related with the Leafs in town.
You might get Canucks content in passing, though.
“Daniel Sedin got his 1,000th point last Thursday, so we talked to Mitch Marner to ask him his thoughts on watching the Sedins growing up and what influence they had on his career.”
Vancouver is also really low on Don Cherry type players, so expect him to blast most of the team, minus Sutter, Gudbranson, and Dorsett.
Don Cherry probably hates Brock Boeser for having sideburns and hippy hair for all we know.
4. Prepare for the worst
Auston Matthews hat trick, the 3rd goal coming in overtime.
Prepare for this. Anything less than this will be manageable.
If he scores a hat trick just shut down your social media now and ignore any of your Leafs friends, lest you want YouTube videos being sent to you every single minute of your life.
5. Lou Lamoriello will be there
At one point the camera will probably show him lurking in the shadows like the Darth Vader of the NHL that he is. Don’t worry, he can’t hurt you.
Well, physically he can’t. Mentally he tormented you for years with his boring Devils teams and hatred of facial hair.
But physically, you’re good.
6. Nazem Kadri is going to do something stupid
Look, it’s going to happen. We didn’t watch Matt Cooke in this town for years without learning that jerk players do jerk things.
When Kadri throws a questionable hit, and he will throw a questionable hit, prepare yourself for Leafs fans to defend it.
They will defend it using questionable science.
“Well you see he came in at a 48 degree angle, which science has shown is the least dangerous angle you can come in on a guy. If anything, you should be thanking Kadri for being so nice on that hit.”
They will defend it by randomly bringing up past players for the Canucks.
“Yeah well, sure, Kadri two-handed Sedin in the head, but Ryan Kesler. Right? Ryan Kesler. Ryan freaking Kesler. I rest my case….Ryan Kesler.”
They will defend it by questioning the player Kadri hit.
“He’s milking it. I mean, he was only nearly beheaded, he didn’t fully take off his head. Suck it up and get back in the play Nearly Headless Stecher!”
Just be ready to walk away from that fight. You will not win it.
7. There will be Leafs fans around you
They will be at the arena, at the bars, and possibly somebody in your life that you know and love, is a Leafs fan.
Try not to be too hard on them. We all make mistakes in life.
While the easterners are a warm and caring people, don’t forget we Canucks fans are a coldhearted lot with little of interest to say.
Due to this, don’t feel bad bringing up Canucks super legend Mats Sundin every chance you get.
Talk glowingly of how he finished off his career with the best team, and how he will always be best remembered as a Vancouver Canuck.
For extra fun, pronounce his name wrong.
“Matthew Sundan sure was great. One of the best Finnish players of all time, in my humble, boring west coast opinion.”
Finish this up by handing them some poorly made mash potatoes.