Press-Republican

Black

May 3, 2013

Maple Leafs in the spring

I’ve been waiting nine years to write this column. I didn’t know it would be nine years. How could I?

Who would have imagined that the National Hockey League lockout in the 2004-05 season would have been the beginning of a near-decade-long wander in the wilderness for my tribe, my nation, my Maple Leafs.

Missing the playoffs is a tragedy known to most NHL hockey fans — the exception being the Detroit Red Wings, who hold the pro sports record of 22 straight post-season appearances.

Why, even the mighty Montreal Canadiens have failed to make it to the dance several times in the past decade, even finishing dead last the previous season (I needed to rub that in.)

But the Leafs, good Lord, the most lucrative franchise in the league, the team with the most crazed fans (he wrote, struggling out of his blue and white straight-jacket), how could such denial, such penitence, such prolonged suffering be possible?

A few years ago, a friend, thinking it a gentle tease and not knowing how it actually hurt, gave me a copy of a book titled “Why The Leafs Suck,” by veteran sports writer Al Strachan. It chronicles the woeful tale of frustration since 1967, the last time the Leafs won the Stanley Cup, which, naturally, is the current league record for a championship drought. (The New York Rangers were the last to have that distinction, ending a 54-year Cup-less stretch in 1994.)

But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves and start to dream of sipping from Lord Stanley’s mug; playoffs are won one game at a time. As of this writing, the series versus the Bruins has not yet begun, and your scribe lives in the blissful ignorance of not knowing yet how badly — or well — the Leafs’ first playoff game in nine years went.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Black
  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Big shift in Quebec vote

    Being a man of science, Philippe Couillard, premier-designate of Quebec, chose to use a geological term (though his field is actually medicine) to describe what happened in Monday's election, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Trench warfare in Quebec elections

    I've seen many a Quebec election in my day (I'll skip the "by cracky"), writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Dr. Phil's election prescription Philippe Couillard is a brain surgeon, not a psychiatrist, so his expertise is not necessarily understanding the collective mind of Quebecers, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    March 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Party's charter flight to majority

    It's not surprising the political maneuvering in recent weeks in Quebec City has been dubbed the "winter games," writes Canadian columnist Peter Black

    February 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Joe Ryan's mountain vision

    Eventually someone surely would have taken the initiative to turn what the Algonquins called Manitonga Soutana and the locals called Mont Tremblant into a popular outdoor recreational destination, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    February 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Montreal's Genie on the courts

    In a land where raquettes de neige (snowshoes) are more popular than raquets (tennis), a young Canadian with classic California surfer girl looks is turning heads on the court.

    January 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Columnist's Canada in 1954

    I will depart from my usual discreet journalistic anonymity just this once and offer a few personal reflections on my life as a Canadian, writes columnist Peter Black.

    January 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • peter_black.jpg Prime minister's hockey history

    By my count, President Barack Obama has written three books under his own pen, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    December 27, 2013 1 Photo

  • peter_black.jpg Quebec City displays Holy Door

    It's the first and only such thing in North America: a Holy Door, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    December 13, 2013 1 Photo

  • peter_black.jpg Rouge et Or Tide rolls on

    Much like I probably will never understand the system by which Americans choose their presidents, what with primaries and the electoral college and all, I likely will never understand how Americans decide the best college football team, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    November 29, 2013 1 Photo