Monday, December 6, 2010

A Letter from the Fans

Dear Mikhail,

It has been many a fortnight since I last wrote to you, and for that I am deeply apologetic. So many times I have sat alone in the study with pen and paper in hand – wanting to write to you – tell you everything – but alas I cannot. It seems like only yesterday since we met in the summer of 2008. It was a warm July afternoon, only days after the summer free agency period had opened – when like an angel emerging from the clouds you arrived on my doorstep, bearing a more than reasonable and cap friendly 1 year $850,000 contract.

I welcomed you with open arms, welcomed you into my home, into my family, and most importantly, into my heart. You were small, but powerful, graceful – yet tenacious – perfectly suited for the brand of hockey played in the new NHL – or so I thought.

Even when I championed extended ice time for you at both even strength and on the power play – you failed me. Your 48 points (20G, 28A) in 2008-09 were disappointing, heartbreaking to your devoted supporters. You then bestowed upon us a pedestrian 35 points in 2009-10 – an almost unspeakably low total. 35 points Grabbo? How did you expect me to go to the office, face my friends from Montreal and Ottawa – look them in the eye – when I was standing by a man with only 35 points? Yes, your repeated spats with the Kostitsyn brothers of our rival Canadians were entertaining, but never more than a small distraction from two very disappointing seasons.

This year, I know I let my emotions take control when I showed up at your home, the hallowed ACC, wearing your Blue and White number 84 jersey, while a brown paper bag covered my head. I was depressed, filled with anger and outrage – I didn’t know what to do. In a way the paper bag represented my frail emotional state – I was trapped – my love and hatred of you had simultaneously consumed me.

Looking back on it now, and marvelling in your current production (18 points in 26 games) and increased work ethic at both ends of the ice - I feel foolish. Your slick spin-o-rama move to win the shootout against Washington was a thing of pure beauty. Perhaps I was too quick to judge, maybe I didn’t take the time to get to know you, appreciate you, before tossing you aside. I should have listened more closely when Brian told me you were worth every penny of that $2.85 million dollar contract. With all my heart Mikhail, I’m truly sorry. Henceforth, I will vehemently defend your position as second line center on our proud Toronto Maple Leafs – you’ve earned it.

Love always (well, love “most of the time”, when you’re not being a little bitch avoiding high traffic areas and coasting on the back check),

- Leaf Fans

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