I’m a little late to talk about this, but luckily this is a blog and not an actual news publication, so I’ll do whatever the @#$% I want with it! Got it?
Toronto, ON I’m definitely no stranger to having strong and unpopular opinions, but I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who was absolutely dreading this year’s Winter Classic after it was announced which teams would be participating. Since HBO’s 24/7 confirmed their intentions to get involved once again this season with their Road to the Winter Classic special, I worried about the effects those big time cameramen were going to have on the Toronto Maple Leafs organization. I hate to say it, but I’m sure part of me has been praying for something to come and intervene with the 2013 Winter Classic since last season, and luckily my prayers were answered by an unsavoury and unnecessary Lockout.
It is hard for those of you in non-Toronto markets to understand the damage that the media has had on this hockey club, but trendsetting HBO was about to open the Maple Leafs up to a whole new world of media attention, and the very thought of it had me plotting to become a full time Sabres fan. You see, one of the reasons Toronto continues to struggle in the standings is because many hockey players don’t want to deal with the pressure from fans and media that is part of the packaged deal when signing with the Leafs. So, they decide to sign in cities where they can be a little more anonymous instead. Maybe some of you feel like this is an out-dated notion, but I don’t. Along with HBO’s swanky coverage of the Leafs and their gratuitous F-bombs, would come a new wave of jock sniffers, star fuckers, and casual fans to add to the already immense pressure that our players are trying to cope with. I don’t know about you, but I foresaw disaster. Keep the cameras out of our locker room, please!
There are many teams in this League where hockey players aren’t household names. Places where NHL players can walk down the street without getting noticed, let alone asked to sign autographs. I remember last season when I was in New York, and several of the Rangers passed by me near Madison Square Garden, yet I was the only one on the street who seemed to even notice them. How is it that NHL players aren’t even recognized in front of their home arena of all places?!?! I wonder how often that privacy is awarded to the Leafs (and visiting players for that matter) in Toronto? Hmm… Probably never.
I don’t know… Maybe I’m crazy, or maybe I’m just selfish, but I think Toronto will be better off in the long run for having not participated in the 2013 Winter Classic, and hopefully the NHL doesn’t just let Toronto/Detroit have a do over next season to make up for the loss of this one… Unless, of course, HBO has officially lost interest in the whole thing. Sadly, the State of Michigan would have prospered economically from hosting the Winter Classic festivities that weekend, so that is definitely a major downside to the loss of this game.