Volume 96, Issue 87
Friday, March 14, 2003

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"Killer" arrives to save the day

By Jeff Dixon
Gazette Staff

Doug Gilmour is the best damn Leafs player of our generation. Now he's back where he belongs.

Although the trade deadline has usually elapsed before the Leafs clue into the fact that they need any new personnel to aid their quest for the Cup, this year has been a pleasant surprise. With the acquisition of blue-liners Phil Housley and Glen Wesley and star right-winger Owen Nolan, the Leafs are now officially stacked.

Let's face it, as the Leafs were the only Canadian team to make any substantial deals this year, the only chance of Lord Stanley coming north of the border will be with Toronto. If the boneheads in Edmonton's front office were at all concerned with the goal of winning, then maybe they would have traded for more offensive firepower, instead of giving it away.

I know defense wins games, but it's essential to score some goals. As for our friends in the nation's capital, the Senators did acquire a couple of notable veterans in Bryan Smolinski and Rob Ray, but that doesn't mean squat. Toronto has bounced Ottawa for three consecutive springs now. My suggestion is that, instead of wasting time acquiring players who can't make the cut, the entire team should take a few lessons on winning when it counts. Maybe then their squad wouldn't be synonymous with choking.

Now, let's get back to what's really worth discussing. Doug Gilmour is not the all-time leading scorer in franchise history, nor has he ever captured any significant hardware with the Leafs. But to be a star in Toronto means a lot more than just the stats. He has the leadership and experience to carry the weight of the real "Hockeytown."

Combined with the presence Housley brings to the power-play and the reckless abandon that Nolan brings to every facet of the game, the Leafs are certainly dressed for success.

So, bring on the playoffs. Toronto's new acquisitions may even inspire me to avoid taking the naps I usually do whenever the Leafs roll through Ottawa. I can't help but want to don my Leafs jersey and chant obscenities at my roommate who doesn't think too highly of my stance.

My advice is to jump on the Leafs' bandwagon and not to be ashamed. Your buddies have probably already beaten you to it. And when you drive past me on Jun. 3, drinkin' a beer on Young Street and chanting with all the other drunkards about how great our boys in the blue and white are, remember that you can't argue with history.

The Leafs sure have it. Cheers.

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