Volume 94, Issue 1

Friday, May 12, 2000


Potts the Mustang macdaddy

The Toronto crash of 2000

Up and coming sport: swimming to the top of the pool

The Toronto crash of 2000

The Toronto 'Make-me-Laughs' and 'Craptors', of their respective ice and hardwood playing surfaces, did a fine job removing any sort of Canadian content from their respective championships for the 1999/2000 hockey and basketball seasons.

The Maple Leafs bowed out of the Stanley Cup play-offs last Monday night. As if the state of New Jersey didn't smell bad enough, Toronto was able to raise the stink bar ever higher by managing only six shots on net during the entire 60 minutes of play.

Is this a team fighting for their post-season lives? Is this a team that had the number one offence during the regular season? Is this the team that posted its first 100 point season since Tim Horton was more than a jelly donut and double-double hot spot?

Well before the Devils came into town wielding their National Hockey League killing 'trap' style of play, Toronto was in over their heads against the sixth seeded Ottawa Senators.

Curtis Joseph, who should really still be in the running for the Conn Smythe trophy as play-off most valuable player, took the blue and white square on his shoulders through the first round against the Senators. If it were not for Steve Thomas' late game heroics in game 5, Ottawa would have been up 3-2 and it would have been a whole different series.

The worst part about all of this is that Toronto fans from across Canada had already planned out the victory party, 'Hockey Night in Canada' had transformed into 'Hockey Night in Toronto,' Don Cherry was even taking more time to pronounce the European players' names on the Leafs correctly.

Long before last Mondays skate in the heart, the Toronto Raptors bade a fond farewell to the National Basketball Association's play-offs. The New York Knickerbockers made quick work of the Jurassic upstarts, by polishing them off in three quick nights.

Granted, this was the Raptors virgin voyage into the magic of post-season and the games were relatively close, but come on. The team boasts the new 'next Michael Jordan' in one Vincent Carter, someone who was more 'man' than 'amazing' while forgetting altogether how to drive to the basket.

Tracy McGrady is the perfect 'Scottie Pippen-esque' side kick to the human highlight reel. The team has a collection of players who should have been able to consistently shoot the long ball – namely Dell Curry, Dee Brown and Doug Christie, a well as a handful of veterans with a wealth of intangible post-season experience – Muggsey Bogues and Antonio Davis.

Instead the Dinos get trampled by a team they owned during the regular season? A team that, not three weeks previous to their game three loss, delivered New York a 20 point spanking? A team made up of a strangler, a centre who's body is falling apart and a coach with one of the worst lids in the league?

If only Toronto had won at least one game, maybe McGrady would truly consider sticking around NBA North and maybe Butch Carter would be spared despite his legal tomfoolery before the series had even started.

Maybe – but probably not.

In the end it seems that two franchises with so much promise and the hopes of an entire nation simply rolled over, died and booked their tee times. And now we sit.

And wait. To stew in the juices of defeat until next season upon which we will once again be brainwashed into thinking – 'maybe this is the year?'

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Copyright The Gazette 2000