I’m almost glad that the Toronto Maple Leafs lost to David Ayres. It’s been over a week since it happened, and I’ve come to process it. I actually believe this team was better off LOSING to the Hurricanes, who, if you haven’t heard, won with an EBUG in net. Just hear me out.
After much thought, I think I’d rather deal with the jokes about losing to the Zamboni driver as opposed to the alternative. The whole LEAGUE would’ve gone NUTS if the Leafs won against a team with an MLSE employee in net.
The Leafs’ game against the Canes seemed pretty lopsided before Petr Mrazek’s injury. The Leafs just weren’t getting it done, it was one of those nights that the Leafs have been trying to eliminate.
Not only that, but this game against Carolina served as one of the most important games in a tight race between the Florida Panthers and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Although this game wasn’t life or death, it was very close to it. The Panthers played (and lost) against the Vegas Golden Knights. It was the perfect day for one team to enlarge the gap between the other.
The outrage was already flowing the second Dave Ayres stepped on the ice. One of the best offences in the league got to shoot on a guy who had not only never played professional hockey, but someone they’d shot on multiple occasions. How could the league let this potentially derail Florida’s playoff hopes? It would’ve been a mess. Kyle Dubas said it best.
“But Spencer! Two points are better than none you idiot!”
I’m getting to that.
The Wake-Up Call
Nothing about that game was acceptable. NOTHING. The Toronto Maple Leafs didn’t DESERVE to win that game. They were absolutely crushed defensively. The Leafs let in FORTY-SEVEN shots on goal that game. They couldn’t get any quality shots on net. It didn’t matter who was in net, they were absolutely stifled.
The Toronto Maple Leafs didn’t deserve what looked like a gift of a win. Although the loss isn’t really the same as hitting the bottom of the league (see: Blues, St. Louis), it has to provide a rock bottom, a turning point in the season. A Wake-up call.
If the Leafs won that game, then it’d show that it’s okay. That they can be bailed out. They didn’t deserve to be bailed out.
It looks like the wake-up call worked pretty well. The Toronto Maple Leafs have won all 3 games they’ve played since the embarrassment. They look good out there, even without many key members of the team!
The Death of the EBUG
During and after the game, it was reported that the league was already looking into this mess. Like I mentioned before, how could the league gift the Leafs a win like that? It’s an MLSE employee!
Unfortunately for the Leafs and fortunately for the sake of fun, the Leafs lost (did I mention that?), so the league isn’t rushing for action.
Still, it will be a hot topic during the GMs Meeting, we could see action on it. However, Ayres triumph, and the fact that an EBUG hasn’t ever screwed over the team they play for, make action less of a requirement (but that’s a topic for another article).
The EBUG is one of hockey’s most entertaining quirks, even though I don’t think losing was worth it just for that, but it’s a nice bonus.
Just watching the aftermath of the game was worth it alone. David Ayres was a star shortly after the game. The Hurricanes honoured him at a game, he appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, he’s a household name, and most importantly, he was featured on 6ixBuzz (shoutout to our Toronto mans).
The highlight of it all has to have been Steve Dangle’s LFR on the game (it’s a must-watch).
Ayres got to live out his dream, he set records, and he gave the NHL trolling material until 2067. I think in the end, two points would’ve been great, but it’s not every day you see something like that.
It’s taken me a week of settling down. It took me a day to sit down and think about if being a Leafs fan was worth it. In the end though, I think everyone wins in their own way here. David Ayres had the experience of the lifetime, the Leafs got their wake-up call, and the league will never forget what they saw on February 22nd, 2020.
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