1. LAK 58 GP, 24 W, 49 PTS, -25 DIFF
2. TBL 56 GP, 23 W, 52 PTS, -24 DIFF
3. CHI 55 GP, 24 W, 54 PTS, -10 DIFF
4. TOR 57 GP, 23 W, 55 PTS, -27 DIFF
5. EDM 57 GP, 25 W, 55 PTS, -19 DIFF
6. NYI 56 GP, 24 W, 55 PTS, -30 DIFF
7. STL 54 GP, 24 W, 56 PTS, -19 DIFF
8. FLA 58 GP, 26 W, 57 PTS, -8 DIFF
9. ATL 58 GP, 27 W, 58 PTS, -29 DIFF
10. CAR 58 GP, 27 W, 58 PTS, -17 DIFF
11. PHO 56 GP, 28 W, 60 PTS, -3 DIFF
12. BUF 55 GP, 26 W, 60 PTS, +9 DIFF
13. CLB 58 GP, 26 W, 61 PTS, -7 DIFF
14. VAN 57 GP, 28 W, 63 PTS, +7 DIFF
New, fun twist: the teams who have a shot at the number one pick are now in BOLD~!
The only addition tonight is Carolina, because Washington won to take over the division lead again. Those silly SouthLeasterners. That would also subtract Washington from the list, logically.
Steve wondered why I hadn't included Vancouver originally: they were playing above .550. Now they are below again. Out of the playoffs + sub-.550 = on the list.
I realized a significant flaw in the "for the love of all that is holy, lose every damn game" plan while watching Toronto play Detroit on Saturday. I don't actually WANT to see Detroit beat Toronto. I want the end result of a Toronto loss, a Tucker trade, a Maurice firing, a Stamkos pick, but when I actually try to watch it happen... something inside of me clicks off the logical part of the brain. I cheered for the overtime winner, before saying "FUCK" real loud.
I bring this up because I know I'm not the only one who thinks these things. I'm not the only one who looks at the standings and thinks "well... at least if they start their run now, they might actually make the playoffs...", dejectedly as it may be. And don't get me wrong - I don't want them to go on that run. The only run I want is a run of high profile losses that will bring change. But then, I was bitching to people about how McCabe needed to be traded and the team needed to tank in 2006 before getting sucked up in the rush for the playoffs at the end. I pulled the same thing in 2007, demanding a Tucker trade, a new GM, a way for McCabe to get off the team, and a top draft pick. I didn't get any of those. What I got was a run at the playoffs that had me on the edge of my seat every game.
We missed by one point. Again.
So once again, the logical thing to do is throw a bundle of money in a barn somewhere, lure the deadweight (be it skill-wise or contract-wise) into said barn, and set the thing on fire. That's the logical thing. But as we all know, this is the Toronto Maple Leafs we're dealing with, not a logical organization. As Jason commented yesterday, it will take a few more wins before the higher-ups realize that there is still a chance to make the playoffs, however disastrous that would be for the franchise, and push Fletcher to trade for a Marian Hossa instead of trade away a Mats Sundin. Someone is going to look at this team, see that right now they are six points out of a share for eighth with 25 games left, and decide that things should be dealt with one game at a time.
All year I've been saying to anyone that will listen that this team sucks ass but will find a way to end up ninth or tenth. It looks like that might very well happen.
The morale of this story, in two forms:
1) It is very important that Fletcher dumps someone THIS week. Preferably before the next game. I know it won't happen, but make the statement that you are going forward for the future. I could live with making a run at the playoffs if we still dump who needs to be dumped and don't sacrifice the few kids we have. But really, John Ferguson didn't get fired so that the Leafs could make the playoffs in 2008. So let's get something done sooner than later before the tone around here changes, shall we?
2) The tone will almost definitely change soon. I can't help myself. They're going to make a run this month. I pray to God they don't. I pray that they keep up this "kill good teams but fold against bad teams" gimmick they've been working, given that we draw Ottawa once more and no one else in a top seven seed at the moment all month, and we end up with an abysmal record and four or more trades come the deadline. But fuck, honestly: three wins in their last four, all above three of the best teams in the league, 5-4-1 in the last ten, and two of their better players just game back. The momentum is swinging. This is going to be a bad month for the long-term future of this organization. I hope I will be wrong, but I doubt it.
So I'm just giving everyone a warning that if I start openly rooting for the Leafs to make the playoffs... don't be surprised.
(P.S. at least we didn't lose much ground in the Stamkos slide this weekend)
(P.P.S. fuck Chicago for not being able to close the deal, seal up that second point, and let us have third place back)