February 7, 2007

Is the Leafs Winning Streak Good or Bad?

by Dan Bilicki In: Ice Hockey

It’s not very often that a winning streak could possibly hurt your team. Very rarely would it be better for a team to perform badly for a given stretch. It just so happens that the Toronto Maple Leafs are in this rarified air right now (Also the Boston Celtics apply here, but that’s more in the Intern’s wheelhouse).

With the trade deadline approaching quickly, the Leafs have rolled off five straight wins including last night’s victory in St. Louis. The only thing that this upswing is creating for their fans is false hope for this season. Now that the Leafs are looking like nearly a playoff-calibre team, it would be seemingly foolish and defeatist for General Manager John Ferguson Jr. to deal away any of his players that would have value. The reality is that even if Toronto should make the playoffs, it would be at a very low seed and, ergo, would draw a first round match against the elite of the Eastern Conference. The fans should realize that the team and it’s future would be better served by dealing a player like Darcy Tucker, an unrestricted free agent this off-season, and, while it seems unconscionable, Mats Sundin. Many teams are looking for an elite centre and would mortgage their future for a bona-fide star like Sundin.

The real question that arises (and is one of my favourites for sports fans): Would you rather have your team win a Championship but miss the playoffs for a few years before, or would you rather make the playoffs every year but get bounced early on every time?

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