Toronto Maple Leafs: Dubas Must Be Enjoying Atkins Newfound Popularity

Toronto Maple Leafs (Mandatory Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports)
Toronto Maple Leafs (Mandatory Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs are but one part of the current halcyon days of Toronto sports.

The Raptors won the NBA Championship a couple years ago, and both the Blue Jays and Toronto Maple Leafs have excellent young rosters that suggest that this may go down as the best period in the history of Toronto sports.

As we watch the Blue Jays excel this September (after failing to meet expectations for the other six months of the season) I am reminded of what I love so much about the current Leafs roster.

That is, before overwhelming negativity tried to suck all the fun out of following them.

Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Blue Jays

It’s hard to to look at Valddy, Bichette and Biggio and not compare them to Matthews, Nylander and Marner.

To take the comparison further, earlier this summer the commentary surrounding the Jays felt very Leafs-like.  People were yelling that Atkins was garbage (sound familiar?) and to fire the manager (a guy who doesn’t seem like he should be polarizing, but somehow is in this world of instant results and constant complaining), and asking outloud if this team will ever live up to expectations.

The Jays recent hot streak, however, has given me new hope for the Leafs.  People might be down about them right now, but as soon as they rattle off ten wins in a row and start to play like they’re capable of, the bandwagon is going to fill back up.  You can feel people wanting to be excited about this team and holding back, because…..well, because they’re the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Jays are extremely fun to watch right now, but to me they are also an important reminder about the mercurial nature of how fans and the media view sports teams.  I don’t think anybody would dispute the credentials of Ross Atkins at this point, but two weeks ago he was supposedly worse than Kyle Dubas, who himself deserves nothing but praise for the job he’s done as the Toronto Maple Leafs GM.

Dubas took on a lot problems that Lou Lamoriello left for him, and promptly built his team into one of the best in the NHL – almost finishing first overall, and entering the playoffs as one of the biggest favorites in the modern era.

It didn’t work out, but John Tavares getting kicked in the head and Jake Muzzin being unable to suit up for Game 7 should absolve everyone of blame.  It doesn’t, because critical thinking is anathema to sports, but it should.

The Toronto Maple Leafs and the Blue Jays are similar not just in terms of how their teams are built around three young superstars, but also in how they have general managers who are content to put their heads down and take the unpopularity that comes with sticking with a plan even when the results say it isn’t paying off.

Next. Leafs Must Be Salivating After Recent Habs Trade. dark

The Jays right now are showing us how fun it’s going to be once the Leafs live up to the roster Kyle Dubas built.