Don't get me wrong. The Toronto Maple Leafs are plenty capable of screwing up a season on their own without having to bring any curses into the equation. This is an organization that is addicted to underachieving. An organization which is somehow even more pathetic than my Philadelphia Flyers. An organization that hasn't even been back to the Stanley Cup Final since before guys started wearing helmets in the league. Even this little 9-year-old girl knows they're a joke.
So I don't want to completely let the Leafs off the hook here. I don't want to strip away their agency of their own suckery. But I just don't know how else to explain the fact that less than 3 weeks after going out and trading for Ryan O'Reilly, this happens.
Ryan O'Reilly takes an Auston Matthews shot to the hand, and now he's on LTIR with a broken finger.
Now it's not like a broken finger is going to keep ROR out for the season. He'll miss a few weeks and be back to normal. Only issue is that the Leafs don't have a few weeks to play around with. There's a month left in the season and then the Maple Leafs are tasked with doing the impossible--winning 4 out of the next 7 games once the regular season ends. It's something that they've failed to do in…checks notes… each of the last 17 season.
And what's even better about the fact that the Leafs won't have enough time to build any line chemistry and eventually fizzle out in the playoffs is the Auston Matthews situation. This is the last year the Leafs don't have to be violently worried about the possibility of losing him. Once this year is over he ends into the final year of his contract. Are you positive he's going to stay? So positive that you don't even have to consider moving him at the trade deadline next year or else you run the risk of losing him for nothing in free agency? If you go 7 straight years of losing in the 1st round of the playoffs, what's keeping him in Toronto? Certainly not the money because he's probably paying half of that in taxes right now.
The Toronto Maple Leafs had this season to get it right. The Bieber Curse is hitting them harder than anybody else in Canada right now, and that doesn't seem to be a coincidence. Montreal wins the Cup in '93, Bieber is born in '94. No Canadian team has won the Cup since. The longer that goes on, the harder it gets to deny it.
P.S. -- Since we're talking about Toronto Maple Leafs curses, it's a great time to plug in one of the best tracks from The Tragically Hip.