Thursday, March 26, 2009

Leafs Abomination: The Leaked List of Chapter Titles

The fine folks over at Pension Plan Puppets broke the news today of a new book being released this October - Leafs AbomiNation, by Dave Feschuk and Michael Grange.

Sub-titled "The dismayed fan's handbook to why the Leafs stink and how they can rise again", the book is apparently aimed at fans who thought the Macleans article from last year was great, but just wished it had been 200 pages longer and written by two NBA beat reporters. It features a front cover with a Leaf fan wearing a bag over his head and a very clever "$19.67" price starburst, which we should all appreciate now since it will be covered by an "80% off" sticker by November.

As you'd expect, the folks over at PPP have already gone negative. They assume, without even seeing the book, that it will be nothing more than a long, poorly-written screed that will recycle all the familiar cliches, void of any new ideas and ultimately blaming Leaf fans for everything. But that's not fair. There's no reason to assume the book will be long.

Anyway, I managed to obtain an advanced copy of Leafs AbomiNation. While I don't have permission to print an excerpt, I wanted to do something to give readers a taste of what to expect. So...

Here's a top secret list of the chapter titles from this upcoming masterpiece.

  • Not one single Stanley Cup in a generation: An embarrassment that could only happen in Toronto, and 14 other cities

  • An unshakable loyalty to the home team through good times and bad, and other terrible character flaws of Maple Leaf fans

  • The mysterious and spooky curse of the owner who refused to spend any money on hockey operations for 20 years.

  • First Draft Schmaft: How we managed to write this book in one weekend

  • An examination of the Leafs' futility using in-depth statistical analysis... no, just kidding, "1967!"

  • Things we imagine Leaf fans would say if we'd ever spoken to one

  • What MLSE should be doing: Business advice from two guys who make their living in an industry that won't exist anymore in ten years

  • Plan the Parade... to the recycling bin

  • Why 1927 is more recent than 1967: Advanced theoretical mathematics from Ottawa Senator fans

  • Spilling into the streets to celebrate winning a playoff game: Pathetic and lame when Leaf fans do it, admirable passion when it's Calgary and Edmonton

  • The Pat Quinn era of sustained regular season success and long playoff runs: Nope, never heard of it

  • Montreal Canadiens fans would never meekly put up with a bunch of underachieving, overpaid losers (Note: chapter currently being rewritten)

  • Leafs fans are gullible morons who'll buy anything with a Leafs logo on it no matter how awful the product is, or at least we hope so because that's this book's entire business plan


  1. Here's a party idea. Get a couple buddies together, cash in your empties, and use the money to buy every copy of this piece of trash in Toronto. Pile them up at center ice in Maple Leaf Gardens, and burn them. If you're feeling especially frisky, throw Howard Berger on the pile first.

  2. "Montreal Canadiens fans would never meekly (emphasis mine) put up with a bunch of underachieving, overpaid losers"

    Have you *seen* any of the games at the Bell Centre recently?

  3. I was going to take exception to the Canadiens thing but then I remembered that I just ranted about the same thing so... never mind... we're starting to look like you guys....

  4. @ Eternal Optimist: You always have looked like us. It's just that it took you guys 16 years to realize that the 70s were over.

  5. well played as always DGB.

    "The Pat Quinn era of sustained regular season success and long playoff runs: Nope, never heard of it"

    exactly. the haters trot out the same criticisms now that they did when the Leafs were a 100-pt team. mouthbreathers.

  6. As a bruins fan, I get kind of self-conscious when people trot out LOL1967! because the bruins won 2 in the next 5 years but not since 1972, which isn't much more recent.

    I think this book is funny, though, because in Boston it's all Cam Neely/Ray Bourque were the greatest players to lace up skates, after of course Bobby Orr, THE BEST EVAH! (I mean, he was good, and changed the whole defensive game, but Frank Brimsek was awesome.)

  7. Do you think I can buy this book in B.C. or is it only available in Canada?

  8. "Not one single Stanley Cup in a generation: An embarrassment that could only happen in Toronto, and 14 other cities"

    That's what I've been saying all along. Vancouver fans around here try to get my goat with the 1967 thing. VANCOUVER fans!

    At which point they trot out the "Well, at least we've been to a final"

    Uh-huh. That makes it oh so much better.

  9. wow, what a masterpiece this book will turn out to be. Two basketball beat writers who conjured this thing up while bored on the road following the Raps. I get that gig would be boring since the Raps players wouldn't ever be caught dead inviting you to some post-game shindig, but why pick hockey? I mean, weren't there like five other major sports you know nothing about you could have written on?

  10. What MLSE should be doing: Business advice from two guys who make their living in an industry that won't exist anymore in ten years

    This is so cutting, it could be a Wendel Clark punch. I love it. Bravo again, DGB.

  11. Just finished the book. First of all, the authors make some factual errors in the so-called Stephen Harper Index, errors which only serve to diminish Leaf accomplishments of the past:

    1.feschuk & grange contend that the franchise's first two Cup wins, as the Arenas in 1917-18 and as the St Patricks in '21-22 came in the 4-team NHL of the day, and thus came against only 3 other teams. Acutally, the Stanley Cup was a challenge Cup in that era, and teams from other leagues could challenge the NHL champ. Both of those wins came over the Vancouver Millionaires of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association, which had 5 teams and in starting in '21-22, the Western Canada Hockey League could also challenge, bringing the total number of teams that could potentially win it to 12.

    2.The authors just have not done their homework when the say that there have been only three seasons in which a Leaf has produced 100 or more points. the correct answer is FOUR:
    Gilmour 127 pts 1992-93
    Sittler 117 pts 1977-78
    Gilmour 111 pts 1993-94
    Sittler 100 pts 1975-76

    3 I guess the authors do not consider the Lady Byng Trophy, which has been in the League since the 1920's along with the Hart and the Vezina, not a "major" NHL trophy, since they say that a Leaf has not a "major" trophy since Doug Gilmour won the Selke for best defensive forward in '92-93.
    It is strange that the Selke, which did not begin being presented until the 1970s is considered more "major" than the Byng, which was claimed by Alex Mogilny in 2002-03. As we all know any trophy win by an individual Leaf is always a major accomplishment!

    Other than these and a couple minor errors in the introduction, the book is informative as to how the current and recent hierarchy at MLSE works, where all these faceless execs fit in, where they came from:
    Tanenbaum, Peddie, Stavro, Dryden, Fegie Jr., Teachers' etc and explores some of the power struggles that have gone on.
    They blame a lot of diffenent things to justify the title of the book: History (read Harold Ballard), Peddie, Blue and White Disease, Fergie, Teachers' and last but not least the fans themselves for continuing to by team memorabilia and tickets to games, etc.

    I think this is passing the buck, fans behave as fans wherever the town. Ownership, since Conn Smythe
    passed the torch, is of course largely culpible for the sharp demise since expansion. Witness the terrible player decisions that were made, most of which are listed at the end of each chapter.

    By the time I was half way through, I noticed an upcoming chapter titled Blame Teachers', and thought, "some one should blame at least the english teachers these two had in school"
    The book is not a bad read, but really too many run-ons and poor sentence structure in general gets to be tiresome.

    Not bad for two basketball guys, but they should know that Red Kelly's pyramid power was only used in the playoffs and thus could not have affected Sittler's stick prior to his 10-point night.
    It happened instead prior to his 5-goal night against Philly in the playoffs. Furthemore, Domi did not cold-cock Scott Niedermayer at the end of the game six loss against Jersey in 2001 playoffs. It happened at the end of the game five WIN by the LEAFS.

  12. Mindless defense of the Leafs is exactly the critical point of the authors of Leafs Abomination. In this light, please, continue to defame and deride the legitimate analysis of why the Leafs continue to struggle.

    Because you don't appear to need to know why. It appears you folks are content that the Leafs just suck - and will forever - so enjoy that sort of absurd ignorance. It suits Leafs fans.

    On the other hand, if you care to understand the truth, then you can accept the consequence that 40 plus years of mismanagement might negatively affect your fandom.

    Bottom line: Abandonment of the Leafs Franchise, in person and through the media, is the only hope for redemption.

  13. @temerity71...

    Way to strike while the iron is hot.

  14. DGD - how are you NOT ripping into this book???!!!???!!???

    To support what "Anonymous" said here are the factual errors I observed in this "well intended but poorly written" book

    Re: Ducks Stanley Cup
    “….Scott Niedermayer, the Ducks defenceman who was named the MVP of Anaheim’s Cup-winning run in 1997….”

    This is obviously a type-o (I hope), as the Ducks wont the cup in 2007

    P. 64
    Re: Gary Valk and Tie Domi’s commentss
    “Scoring the series winner in overtime in game six of the second round of the 1996 playoffs at Mellon Arena….”

    Right situation, but the wrong year. Valk’s goal OT winner was in 1999, making perfect sense as that was one four appearances for the Leafs in the Conference finals (since the league moved to a 16 team playoff format). In the ‘96 playoffs the Leafs went out in the first round to St. Louis.

    Re: John Ferguson with Dallas Stars when the won the Stanley Cup
    “….was promoted to the director of player personnel for the Dallas Stars during a successful string of seasons that culminated in the Stars; 1998 Stanley Cup…..”

    Dallas won the 1999 Stanley Cup. Detroit won the cup in 1998 (back to back cups from 1997)

    P. 201
    Re; Wendel Clark Game 6 Hat Trick
    “While Clack was a reliable big-game player (and who will forget his hat trick in Game 6 of the ’94 conference final?)…..”

    The Leafs were ousted in 5 games by Vancouver in the ‘94 conference finals. Clearly they must be talking about his game 6 hat-trick in LA during the ‘93 conference finals.

    P. 247
    Re: Capitals vs Penguins in “conference finals”, 2009
    “Perhaps the best came in the Eastern Conference final, when the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals…….played an epic seven game series….”

    The Pens and Cap’s met in the Eastern Conference semi-finals (second round). The Pens took out the Canes in Eastern Conference finals that year,


    This book is full of info piecing together the Leafs ownership issues over the past 20 years. Unfortunately, in light of the basic lack of fact checking, I don't know how much of the NEW information I learned from this book is actually true.

    It's a disgrace to get this much statistical information wrong. This book can be easily read by grade school kids and the errors lead to mis-information in historical context and fact. Brutal, especially from newspaper
    "reporters / editorialist"