Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Canadiens Series Will Not Live Up to Expectations

John Tavares, Toronto Maple Leafs (Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports)
John Tavares, Toronto Maple Leafs (Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports) /

For the first time in 42 years, the Toronto Maple Leafs will face the Montreal Canadiens in the playoffs, and it will unfortunately disappoint.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have their best chance at winning a Stanley Cup in 20 years, so the buzz in the city should be electric. From Dundas Square to High Park, Toronto should be filled with people walking around wearing their blue-and-white, getting jacked up for playoff hockey.

Instead, for those of us following the rules, we’re stuck inside watching the American teams compete in some of the most entertaining playoff games in recent time.  The hockey in the United States so far has been phenomenal. Every game has been close and the buzz in each arena has given me goosebumps.

Whether there’s been 2,000 or 12,000 people in the building, each crowd has provided a wonderful atmosphere and it’s seemed to have energized the players and heighten play.

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The Montreal Canadiens announced that they plan on having 2,500 fans for game six of their series against Toronto. Unfortunately for them, this series won’t last that long, so those fans won’t have the opportunity to watch their team play this postseason.

The pandemic is still very active and we should all be staying home, but the North Division needs to find a way to add fans, to make these games more exciting. Whether it’s fully vaccinated individuals or health care workers, there needs to be an opportunity for those types of people to watch the games live and add some excitement into Scotiabank Arena.

At this point, that clearly doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen, so as a result, the North Division games are going to be so much more boring than the American games. The crowd adds so much to the game and without them, it feels like we’re watching a glorified practice.

Although we experienced this last year, that was fine because every team had the same playing field. Now that the American teams are able to provide an atmosphere, the Canadian playoff games are going to look like a joke, and it’s not going to be a great way to excite casual viewers.

Auston Matthews and Connor McDavid are arguably the biggest and most marketable stars in the NHL, but since they’re stuck playing in front of nobody, it’ll be hard to attract viewers that only tune in during playoff time.

Instead, they may be more inclined to watch Nashville vs. Carolina, as the Hurricanes building and game presentation was amazing during their last game.

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The Toronto Maple Leafs are not Stanley Cup favorites every year, so let’s all hope that by the time this team makes it to the Stanley Cup Finals, that fans will be allowed back into the buildings, or it could be a missed opportunity to experience something special.