A Tale of Two Cities

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

It was the best of Corsi, it was the worst of Corsi, it was the age of statistics, it was the age of character, it was the epoch of Beleafs, it was the epoch of math ability, it was the season of Fights, it was the season of Lockouts, it was the summer of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had Extra Skater before us, we had no TimeOnIce before us, they were going direct to the Playoffs, they were going direct to the lottery — in short, the period was so far like the third period of the Bruins series, that some of the noisiest media authorities insisted on the Leafs being treated, wrongly or even more wrongly, in the superlative degree of shot quality only.

There were a GM with a round gut and a coach with a goateed face on the bench in Vancouver; there were a GM with a round gut and a coach with a clean shaven face, on the bench in Toronto. In both cities it was clearer than crystal to the fans and media that things in general were settled for ever.


It was the year of Our Lord two thousand and thirteen. Numerical revelations were conceded to Vancouver. Henrik and Daniel Sedin had recently attained their three-and-thirtieth blessed birthdays, of which a prophetic blogger at Canucks Army had heralded the occasion by announcing that their performance was on the decline and the Canucks’ fortunes would probably decline with them, swallowing up the city in the billowing smoke of overturned vehicles. Even though the dragon had been slayed for only a couple of years, after rapping out its narrative of playoff futility, the spirits of first round exits in the two years past (predictably deficient in originality) rapped out their narrative of a window that closed.

The more it closes, the more Canucks fans want to jump out of it

Mere results in the earthly order of events had lately come to the Vancouver GM and fans, from a road trip through the Pacific Division in America: which, strange to relate, have proved more important to the NHL standings than any narratives yet delivered through any of the panelists on the HNIC Hot Stove.

Toronto, less favoured on the whole as to matters statistical than her sister of the Orca and the flying skate, rolled with exceeding smoothness down hill, making money hand over fist and spending it on buy-outs and free agents.

Where are you now, Grabo?

Under the guidance of her Carlylian coaches, she undermined herself, besides, with such inane achievements as buying out a possession-driving forward because he had reportedly given away the puck at an inopportune time to the Bruins, depsite such occurrence never, er, having occurred. It is likely enough, that rooted in the shot attempts at home and away, there were growing signs, already noted by the blogger, Fate, that indicated it was most certain that a fall down the standings was inevitable for some of the most terrible possession stats in history.

It's all downhill from here...

It is likely enough that in the houses of the suburbs adjacent to Toronto, there were sheltered from reality that very day, plans for a parade route, bespattered with blue and white confetti, being made by the fanboy, Destiny, and already set to tumble due to the Regression. But that blogger and that fanboy, though they work unceasingly, work in obscurity and no one really paid attention to either of them: the rather, forasmuch as to entertain oneself at the fanboy’s expense, would be cruel and unusual punishment. As for the blogger, toiling in obscurity is simply his lot in life.

In Vancouver, there was scarcely an outing or performance to justify much in the way of boasting. Daring robberies by men wearing masks took place in opposition nets every night; Henrik Sedin showed much character as the Captain, but when challenged in a shoot-out clumsily let it get in his head and skated away;

The only thing dumber than the shootout, is letting a Sedin shoot.

the Canucks fired shot after shot and then were beaten when the opposition finally shot back, "in consequence of their lowly shooting percentage"; third-rate fourth liners battled along the boards against first-rate third liners and were imprisoned in their own end on a nightly basis; the team went East like musketeers in search of a common bond, but then they returned to face the mob atop the Pacific only to see the mob have their way with them, and nobody thought any of these occurrences much out of the common way. In the midst of them, the offseason huntsman, ever busy driving possession and ever worse than useless in the eyes of the fans, was a constant contradiction; now, stringing together long shifts in the offensive zone; now, being a healthy scratch, and now missing games by the dozen with another groin injury; to-day taking shifts with the Utica Comets in the AHL, and to-morrow with the big club back in the NHL.

All these things, and a thousand like them, came to pass in and close upon the dear old year two thousand and thirteen. In the middle of all this, while the blogger and the fanboy worked unheeded, those two of the round guts, and those other two of the goateed and the clean shaven faces, carried on with the business at hand. Thus did the year two thousand and thirteen convey these franchises, and their myriads of fans–the readers of this blog among the rest–on the long road to the playoffs. 

[with apologies to Chuck Dickens]