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But wait…the golf courses were closed

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The crowd screamed “Go, Leafs, Go!”

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And they went.

What the puck?

I do not understand it – the golf courses were closed.

This was supposed to be the team that at long last would assume the role of John the Baptist and lead Leaf fans out of the desert and into the oasis of playoff glory.

Wrong.

Ah, hopes were as high as a giraffe’s behind but apparently the giraffe was constipated and failed to produce.

Well, that is not quite true. The Leafs were 3-1 against those evil Habs and needed only one more win to advance in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

But coach Sheldon Keefe committed the great shinny sin when, after winning that third game 4-1, he changed the lineup for game 5.

This is like finding gold and then burying it again. And while you are thinking it safe to return to dig it up, someone else has taken it. Sheldon pulled a boner.

But then the Leafs have a history of boners.

Remember Harold Ballard, the buffoon who procured ownership of the Leafs?

Do you recall how he fired coach Roger Neilson, then relented because no one else was silly enough to take the job? And then Ballard wanted Neilson to wear a paper bag over his head so as to create mystery when he appeared behind the bench for a Saturday night game?

Well, he didn’t but it turns out that wasn’t a bad idea and I am sure most of the Leaf players – particularly the underproducing Mitch “$10 million” Marner – wished they did have said bags over said heads.

But those are bygone days. The management of the Leafs, however, appears to never learn from historical shenanigans and mistakes.

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Brian Burke, an American, was hired as general manager. He joined American Ron Wilson, who was already installed behind the bench as coach.

Then they traded to get American Phil Kessel. The draft picks the Leafs gave up were used to get Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton, both of whom the Leafs would love to have on the team.

Three Americans in effect running the Leafs – on the ice, behind the bench, in the head office.

Let me repeat that because I find it incredible – Americans running the Leafs, Canada’s team. Americans. Kessel turns out to be a dud and the Leafs trade him.

One little American, two little American, three little American boys – all gone, except for the Leafs digesting edible greens – greens as in contract money lingering on the payroll.

Trumpets, please, to herald the arrival of Mike Babcock, the latest Leaf saviour.

Turns out that despite his winning track record, the coach is a divisive force that turned players against each other and he had a whole bag of dirty tricks. Eight years, $50 million.

Did no one know his tactics before the hire? Or did no one care?

Just another salary lingering on the books while the person being paid heads elsewhere.

And now we come to Auston Matthews, an American from Arizona. League’s top goal scorer.

Goals against Canadiens, one. Goaltender Jack Campbell, American, loses three key games in a row.

And the band plays on, the Star Spangled Banner.

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