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The 2018 Nucks Misconduct Bandwagon Outreach Program. Finding homes for displaced fans.... in Toronto

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Now, now... put down the pitchforks and hear them out.

NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Toronto Maple Leafs John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Another year of playoffs is arriving and the Canucks are not participating again. The organization believes that other teams should have a shot at the title keep interest alive south of the 49th parallel. Since our fans have some extra time to cheer for other teams to win Lord Stanley’s Cup, some of us contributors at NucksMisconduct are going to try and find another place for you to get your fix of winning hockey. We know it sounds weird, actually cheering for another team, but it beats the hell out of sitting around and rehashing arguments about how bad things are for this team’s fans. The playoffs are a time of magic, and you can enjoy the hell out of them, especially without the deep emotional bond of your regular team complicating things. But you shouldn’t just give your loyalty away. We are going to ask members of other SBN hockey blogs why you, a Canuck fan, should cheer for their team during the playoffs.

The 2nd in our series of finding an alternate team to cheer for in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs is going to be a tough sell, I know. Asking fans of any Canadian team to cheer for another can be like asking someone to cut off their own foot. I know there’s a lot of you for whom this is a no-go zone, so if that’s the case, you’re excused. For those of you looking for a team that plays an entertaining, up-tempo brand of hockey, this might be your team. We spoke with Arvind of Pension Plan Puppets about this:

1. The Leafs made the post-season for the first time in a long time last year, but didn’t have enough to get past the Caps in the first round. How will things differ this time around?

Well, it potentially may not be. Thanks to the NHL’s playoff structure, the Leafs will face either the Tampa Bay Lightning or Boston Bruins in the first round. Both of those teams are better than the Leafs, if we’re being totally honest, and Toronto is an underdog in either series.

That said, the Leafs do have a chance in either series, and if they win, it will likely be because of their insane scoring depth. Few teams can boast of having three 30 goal scorers on their team, let alone three on separate lines. But the Leafs have that with James van Riemsdyk (35 goals), Nazem Kadri (30), and Auston Matthews (30, in just 55 games. To add to that, Frederik Andersen has been very strong this year, and is capable of stealing a game or four. The Leafs are a year older and wiser, and are a good enough team to give any opponent a real challenge. We’ll see how it turns out.

2. There are many who say they could never cheer for another Canadian team. What would you point to as a reason for them to change their minds?

Well, if you put aside the fact that we have an annoying fanbase, there’s a lot to like about the Leafs. They’re young, and very very fast. They have a bevy of super-talented 20-24 year olds who are growing up in the NHL together, and showing incredible promise while doing so. They’re doing this in a pressure cooker media market, for a franchise that hasn’t seen sunny days since the early 2000s. There’s an element of a fairy tale here.

I also think there are similarities between the Canucks of today and the Leafs of a couple years ago. The Leafs got lucky (winning the Matthews lottery), and made some smart decisions (Nazem Kadri’s and Morgan Rielly’s contracts, selecting William Nylander and Mitch Marner, trading down for Travis Dermott). The Canucks could follow that blueprint, pending this years lottery results. So for Canucks fans, this Leafs team could be a window a couple years into the future.

3. Forget the stars of the team for a second. Tell us about a guy who non-Leafs fans might be able to latch onto in a playoff run and cheer for.

I would go with Patrick Marleau. He’s one of the most respected and admired players in the league, for his professionalism, longevity, and excellent play. As we all know, the only silverware he’s missing is the Cup. He’s been solid for us in a second line role, and has a reasonable chance at filling out his trophy cabinet, and cementing his Hall-of-Fame caliber career in style.

Some great stuff to ponder here, and we thank Arvind for his time and contribution. So what say you, NM’ers? Can you look past the traditional stance of never cheering for a Canadian rival, or is it something you’re not willing to budge on? Have your say in the comments, and take the poll.

Poll

Would you cheer for the Leafs in the 2018 Playoffs?

This poll is closed

  • 30%
    Yeah, why not?
    (14 votes)
  • 28%
    Only against the Bruins.
    (13 votes)
  • 23%
    No.
    (11 votes)
  • 17%
    I am going to sue NM for asking this.
    (8 votes)
46 votes total Vote Now