The Leafs didn’t salute their fans last night, so that’s a thing now
The Toronto Maple Leafs can’t even beat one of the NHL’s best teams, snapping an ugly losing streak in the process, without creating a whole new controversy.
Most notably, the Maple Leafs decided to buck tradition by skipping the customary salute to fans following a 5-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. ... The players appeared to make a last-minute decision to skip the salute to fans after beating the Lightning. On the video, [Phil] Kessel can be seen saying something to captain Dion Phaneuf while the team congregated around winning goalie Jonathan Bernier before then skating along the procession and guiding some of his teammates off the ice.
And so Toronto woke up with breakfast television segments like this:
And Twitter was filled with tweets like this:
If the Leafs needed a reason to strip Dion Phaneuf of his captaincy, they have one now.— Steve Simmons (@simmonssteve) November 21, 2014
Team skipping out on stick salute to ACC fans exactly the kind of brilliant leadership we've come to expect from Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) November 21, 2014
For there to be no voice of reason in that room while that discussion is being had is a sign of dysfunction as a team.— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) November 21, 2014
Not saying the players aren't right. Large percentage of Leaf fans are clearly awful. But how does it help to poke that hornets nest now?— Down Goes Brown (@DownGoesBrown) November 21, 2014
And while many are blaming the media for trumpeting a non-issue, if the Leafs did indeed snub their fans because the players were unhappy with the support they’d been receiving -- and let’s be honest, there’s plenty of reason to believe they’d be unhappy -- well, sorry, but that’s a story.
For the record, Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reports that “one member of the team told me afterwards that the group was simply looking to change things up and didn’t intend to offend the paying customers.”
We’re just not sure that explanation holds water. Of all the ways to “change things up,” the group decides to skip the part where it says thanks to the fans?
The Leafs host Detroit Saturday. If they win, what will they do?
Yep, that will be up for discussion now.