This one goes out to the ones we hate... to love.
The Toronto Maple Leafs, a team mired in mediocrity, won't see the light of the NHL playoffs this year.
Winning just two games in their last ten will do that.
On the bright side, there's Hugh Oliver. The 83-year-old Toronto poet, musician and novelist never fails to make even the most depressing realities of Canadian culture seem so terribly entertaining. Oliver, recently the subject of an award-winning documentary, has churned out a pretty little ditty on the lamentable Leafs.
In the trademark style that has made him a Canadian institution.
Whether it's the fact that there's a Justin Bieber in this world -- or a storied Canadian hockey team consistently breaking hearts, Oliver lends a certain merriment to all that melancholia.
Last season, the Leafs scraped into the playoffs and found themselves nine minutes away from defeating the Boston Bruins in the first round. Cue the collapse. Boston scored three straight goals, and another in overtime to send the Leafs packing.
That seventh game in the series went down as one of the most remarkable crashes in team history.
But remember when the Leafs were giants? Okay, okay. Same here. But Oliver certainly does. He harks back to a golden age in Leafland, somewhere around their last Stanley Cup win in 1967. It was a time when saw-toothed superpests like Eddie Shack made the opposition bleed for every inch of ice. And, as Oliver puts it, "Tim Horton's name spelled trouble."
"For attackers who in hoards were flattened on the boards," he croons. "Now it's Timbits or its double-double-double."
In those halcyon days, the Leafs iced a team of powerful, bruising skaters. Their home, Maple Leaf Gardens, issued a roar that could be heard across the city.
And the beer, Oliver hastens to add, cost "less than a buck."
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