The 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs kicked off last night, which to a Toronto Maple Leafs' fan can only one thing.
It's time to start watching the Blue Jays next season of mediocrity.
The Leafs have not won the Cup since 1967 - the year my mother and father were married, and three years before I came to the world only a few blocks away Toronto General Hospital. Even better, the team has not even made the finals in that span.
I live in San Jose, California these days, and cheer for the Sharks these days. Of course, the Sharks differ from the Leafs in that they get to round two of the playoffs before choking, rather than skipping the playoffs altogether.
This year, it's not just Maple Leaf fans who are shut out.
For the first time since 1970, no team from Canada has qualified for the playoffs. Not once will a playoff puck be dropped in a Canadian city this year.
Granted, more than two thirds of the teams now play in the US, and the population of Canada is roughly 10 per cent of its huge neighbour to the south. Canadian players still comprise the bulk of the guys who lace up each game, however.
But even that is changing - the 2015-2016 season is the first time in the 98 years of the NHL, less than half of the players are Canadian. According to TSN, 50.2% of the roster spots are made up of non-Canadian-born players.
Americans are the next-largest group (about 25%), but even their numbers have eroded slightly, with Swedes and Russians picking up the slack.
Oh well; here is a flashback to 1992, when the Blue Jays took the World Series.
|"For we got your World Series trophy. And we might not be giving it back...."|