Sunday, October 18, 2009

Thoughts on the Maple Leafs "90s Night"

Maple Leafs 90s night
Would I be a loser if I pointed out that
that apostrophe is unnecessary?
When I first heard that Saturday night was going to be "90s Night" at the ACC, I was thrilled. I mistakenly thought it was an indication that the Leafs were planning to try something new and actually record a save percentage in the 90s.

Apparently not. But after finding out that the night was actually intended to honor various Leaf teams and players of the 1990s, I was still excited. After all, there may not be a Leaf fan on the planet who's spent more time chronicling the various highlights of the previous decade.

For those that missed it: the Leafs honored the 90s by having the current roster wear jerseys of 20 different ex-Leafs during the pre-game warmup. They also brought out Felix Potvin, Bill Berg and Mark Osborne to drop the puck.

And while I can't find a full list of the 20 Leafs who were "honored" during the warmup, the list was apparently based on the results of a poll on And while the fan participation angle is nice, the actual poll was... well, bizarre. Have a look.

Can anyone figure out the point behind dividing up the players that way? I suppose they wanted to avoid having fans vote en masse for the players from the 1993 team because... well, I'm not actually sure why that would be a problem, but it's the best guess I can come up with.

But have a look at group three for the forwards -- you're telling me that only two of Sundin, Andreychuk and Borschevsky can be part of the Leafs all 90s teams? Really?

And it gets worse: check out groups four and five. Yes, fans, you get not one but two chances to vote for Todd Warriner, Mike Johnson and Freddy Modin!

And while guys like Eddie Olcyzk, Kirk Muller and Darcy Tucker didn't even make the voting list, we did get beloved former Leafs such as Darby Hendrickson and Mike Craig. I'm amazed they overlooked Brandon Convery.

Anyways, I have no idea whether the online poll was actually used in the end or not. It just seemed strange that nobody caught those errors.

Some additional thoughts:
  • At first I was going to criticize the team for not spending more time matching up the current and past players appropriately. I mean, Rick Wallin as Mats Sundin? But then I realized that we don't have any players worthy of wearing most of these guys' jerseys, so I felt better. And by "better", I mean "terrible".

  • Wayne Primeau as Wendel Clark? Ugh. They should have just had the real Wendel Clark take the skate. And then stay on the ice and play on the first line.

  • Ironic to see Mikhail Grabovski wearing Peter Zezel's jersey considering their respective faceoff skills. I'm pretty sure Grabovski would lose over 95% of his draws to Zezel. And not in their prime. I mean today.

  • Speaking of which, MLSE couldn't have thrown me a bone and had Grabovski play Berezin, and Ponikoravsky be Modin?

  • It was great to see Felix Potvin mentioned in the opening, and it was a brilliant move to use the occasion to replay his Hextall fight on the main scoreboard. I just wish Felix himself could have been there to take part in the ceremony. Anyone know why the Leafs invited his dad instead?

  • How many Leaf fans do you think watched the game at a bar, a party, or for some other reason had the volume turned down and momentarily thought they were having a stroke? Toronto's 911 lines probably lit up for a good ten minutes.

  • If you're going to a 90s night, why not go all out? You're telling me you couldn't have arranged for the anthem to be performed by Color Me Badd or Dee-lite?

  • Finally, I loved the idea for the ceremony and thought the execution was solid. But is anyone else concerned that we're starting to get a little Habby with all the ceremonies lately? I like an occasional nod to history as much as the next guy. But as a rule of thumb, if you find yourself holding a pre-game ceremony that prominently features an appearance by Mark Osborne, you might be overdoing it.


  1. You might be onto something with the "Habby" observation on the whole, but I think the example you chose to make the point was a poor one. We got to see Mark Osborne and Bill Berg on the ice, followed immediately by a checking line to start the game. This wasn't just a self-congratulatory nod to the 92-93 team, this was a full-out attempt to make us think we were watching a game from that year! If the players aren't going to put any effort toward giving me a product it's not painful to watch, I appreciate the marketing team picking up the slack.

    I believe they were in negotiations to get Dee Lite, but the manager at Chili's wouldn't give all four of them the night off at once.

  2. "ceremoney"
    And they say Freud's ideas are dead.

  3. We should probably keep the ceremonies for now. They are far more entertaining than the hockey.

  4. I think the "Habby" remark is spot on. Let's win something. I'll celebrate that.

    Seriously, it's getting nauseating. If a great passes away then sure, play a nice montage. But the marketing department is really grasping at straws and its reeks of desperation more than it does of a sincere attempt to honour former Leafs. Olczyk, Domi, Sundin and co. were left off of the docket because it would be tough to get them away from their REAL lives to participate in such a hokey display of "spirit". The schtick is getting old MLSE. Win something.

  5. What about Josh Holden, Harold Druken or Ladislav Kohn? Its an atrocity that they were left off the ballot!

  6. no Lonny Bohonas makes me a sad panda

  7. I'd have pointed out the apostrophe too, and in that spirit, Darcy tucker never played a game for the leafs until February of 2000.

  8. Great post. It was great to see Felix between Bill Berg and Mark Osbourne, but it made me miss Peter Zezel again a lot. I'm sure he would have been there. Maybe giving Grabbo his jersey was an attempt to channel some karmic energy.

    I nearly had a heart-attack when I saw Stajan wearing Dougie's sweater.

  9. Zezel-grabbo matchup made me snort PC caffiene-free diet cola out of my nose.

    Well played.

  10. i like how they strategically split some obviosu people apart.

    I just couldn't help wondering how that "heads-up phone call" went.

    "Hi, is this Peter Ing? Yeah, hi, it's the Leaf marketing department. No, we don't have any openings, sorry. Anyway, we're putting your name on a ballot next to bester and reese. We're going to invite the most popular guy to Toronto in October. Just a heads up. Don't wait up, though"

  11. O Canada. Our home......Grooove is in the heaaaaart

  12. But I stopped Wayne!

  13. Anyone else find Joe Bowen's Teeder Kennedy cheer during the moment of silence last week reeeeally awkward?

  14. So how many goals would this year's Leafs lose by if they played any team from the 90's?

  15. So how many goals would this year's Leafs lose by if they played any team from the 90's?

    I'd say it would be close. Maybe 1990s Leafs in overtime, maybe even a shootout.

    (Keeping in mind that most of those guys are currently 40 or 50 years old.)

  16. For a second I thought Wayne Primeau really was Wendel Clark.
    I didn't clue in until I noticed the other team hadn't shit their respective pants yet.

  17. Nice move by the Leafs to honour Zezel, I mean sure the GM they hired traded him to Anaheim when he asked to be moved to Toronto to be close to his dying niece when the Canucks were out of the playoff race back in 99 but whatever...

  18. Who got to be Darren Puppa, that's what I want to know? And Brian Bradley for that matter...

    They really have to do this for the 80's Leafs...that would truly warm my heart. As part of the throwback, we could trade our first round pick, because we'll never be so bad that it is in the top ten...

  19. So... any idea from memory which ones were which? I caught a few but was really hoping a list would be posted SOMEWHERE!!! Stajan as Gilmour made me laugh. Orr as Domi - obviously. Which other ones did you catch?

  20. Hm, off the top of my head:

    - Stajan as Gilmour
    - Primeau as Clark
    - Wallin as Sundin
    - Orr as Domi
    - Grabs as Zezel
    - MacDonald as Potvin
    - Blake as Foligno (??)

    Friendman also mentioned that Ian White was Mirinov, but I can't imagine he would have been one of the top six defencemen they'd choose...

    Others I could see but not identify were Gill, Andreychuk, Rouse (might have been Komisarek) and a #32 I'm assuming was Steve Thomas.

    Anyone else?

  21. Another one: Mitchell was wearing #16, so I'm assuming that was Borschevsky.

    If so, that means they didn't go by the online poll after all since they had all three of Andreychuk, Borschevsky and Sundin.

  22. Was anybody Adam Mair?

    I once fought that guy when he was on my own team in Pee Wee...

  23. You know, as you mention 32s and 16s, that makes me think. Maybe the sorting was so messed up because they didn't want duplicate numbers? I know that would be re-fucking-tarded, but I double-checked, and as the voting was sorted, there was no possibility of overlap.

  24. Would I be a loser if I pointed out that
    that apostrophe is unnecessary?

    No, sir. That would mean you know the proper rules of grammar. Well done you.

    Every time Kyle Wellwood's name was mentioned last night I thought of your blog, and followed his name with "is fat." Thanks for the impact on my life. :)