I know this is my fault even if I don’t quite know why

The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Toronto Maple Leafs. All opinions expressed by Mike Ulmer are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Toronto Maple Leafs or its Hockey Operations staff, parent company, partners, or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Maple Leafs and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NHL accredited member of the media.

Cody Franson gives winning goalie James Reimer a tap after the Leafs defeated Edmonton 6-3 on Feb. 6. This picture was taken mere moments before I did something that sent the entire season down the toilet.

You’ve got to see this:

http://www.sportsclubstats.com/NHL/Eastern/Northeast/Toronto_ChanceWillMakePlayoffs.html

According to this graph, when the Leafs defeated the Edmonton Oilers 6-3 on Feb. 6, they had a 90.05 per cent likelihood of making the post season.

Today, they stand on the verge of elimination. They haven’t won a home game since they beat Edmonton.

This comes down to a very simple question. What the hell did I do in the hours after 10 pm on Feb. 6?

Sure as hell this is my fault.

I know of a lawyer who stops watching the Leafs when the club hits a tailspin. He is convinced that by watching he puts the whammy on the team. Others position themselves just so in front of the television or trot out lucky jerseys for must-win games.

Like my lawyer friend, these people hold responsible jobs, raise their children well and obey the law in as much as lawbreaking can be reasonably avoided.

A significant body of spectators and an overwhelming majority of hockey players believe they can alter the future by how they clip on their garter belts. Women have similar rituals too.

What is science but eventually proven conjecture? Didn’t the orbit of the earth and quantum physics exist before someone put a name to them?

If we are obliged to respect religious and cultural rituals (is a lucky t-shirt harder to fathom than, say, transmogrification?), if we influence events the way a butterfly creates a tidal wave by flapping its wings on the other side of the world… who’s to say my lawyer friend is wrong about the whammy?

If one person had enough cosmic pull to put the hairy eyeball on the Maple Leafs it is absolutely, positively me.  Stuff happens to me that doesn’t happen to other people.

Once I was breezing out of a bathroom at the Air Canada Centre. I had ducked in to get a Kleenex. I ran right into Bryan Colangelo. “You do know,” he said, “that you just walked out of the women’s washroom?”

Who bumps into the personification of tailored-shirt cool while stumbling out of the wrong washroom? Only the guy who’s gone into the wrong loo 1,000 times before.

Stuff happens to me. Bizarre stuff. Stuff that doesn’t happen to other people. I once got into a roadside confrontation with another driver. He reached out of his car and slapped me. I reached into the car and slapped him back. That’s when I saw the blue and white sign at the base of his windshield. I had just slapped a disabled guy, albeit a disabled guy with a very provocative vocabulary.

All of you who have slapped a disabled man in self defence, please raise your right hand. I thought so.

I was at a Chicago Cubs playoff game, listening on the radio when I accidentally knocked a pop-up out of of the left-fielder’s glove. Reprieved, the Florida Marlins scored 10 runs and they had to call security to get me out.

Okay, that wasn’t me but only because I didn’t have a ticket.

Got a hold of a friend’s pickup a couple of weeks back. While he took my freezer apart, I set out to buy and transport a new one.

You can drive a car straight off the lot but freezers take time to order. Desperate, I offered to buy a floor model for the list price. The nice lady agreed. I got the fridge on the truck and then scratched the hell out of it getting it in the house.

Voila. I had paid full price for a dented and scratched floor model. Who does that?

Once while running a garage sale I noticed from the other side of the car that a lady with a crutch was struggling to right herself. “What happened to your leg,” I asked solicitously.

She came fully into view. Her right leg had been amputated just over the knee.

“Cancer,” she said.

I was sitting in the press box at the old Buffalo Auditorium. I leaned just past a suited man to talk to the Oilers beat guy. “Has Boris Mironov been their worst defencemen? “ I asked. The writer nodded to the man between us. “Why don’t you ask him?” he said.

It’s me. I know it’s me. I just don’t know how to make the losing stop.

Like the werewolf who wakes up with bits of sheep fleece in his teeth, I am aware of the full horror of my actions. If the Florida Panthers make the playoffs, and they are three points to the good, the Leafs will be the only team not to make the playoffs post-lockout.

And who came began working here at MLSE the year of the lockout…Moi.

It’s not you. It’s not them. It’s me and while I have cursed my own team I will now direct my powers toward salvaging some tiny shred of good.

Go Sens Go.

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About Mike Ulmer

Mike Ulmer has written 210 post in this blog.

The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Toronto Maple Leafs. All opinions expressed by Mike Ulmer are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Toronto Maple Leafs or its Hockey Operations staff, parent company, partners, or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Maple Leafs and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NHL accredited member of the media.



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