The 95 Percenters within Leafs Nation have probably already decided Vesa Toskala is Finnish for Allan Bester after seeing him get beat through the five-hole on the first shot of his first exhibition game with the Leafs.
Don't judge. If they knew how to think matters through and not overreact, they wouldn't be 95 Percenters. Toskala's shaky pre-season debut is as good a jumping-off point to get into the 95 Percenters theory a friend came up with back in the day. It's pretty basic -- 95% of Leafs fans submit to the worst kind of cliché-clouded, casual-fan groupthink.
It's not their fault. Life in and around Canada's counting room, the one-time Toronto the Good, has given them such a case of anhedonia when it comes just savouring a team, a game a sport for what it is, that they can't enjoy anything unless the team is close to a winning a championship and well, you know how that chapter unfolds. So yes, Toskala has a shaky start and already he's the worst goalie in the NHL.
The twist is the remaining 5% of Leafs Nation are the smartest, albeit self-loathing hockey fans alive. So they defend the 95 Percenters from any and all onslaughts from fans of other teams, especially expansion teams that have a lameass kitty mascot. Very few 95 Percenters know they're 95 Percenters, but they usually betray their status fairly quickly.
Five telltale signs:
- Went down to the Air Canada Centre when it opened in 1999, but have never actually been inside for a Leafs game.
- Have Nik Antropov in their hockey pool.
- Say 50 Mission Cap is their favourite Tragically Hip song "cuz it mentions the Leafs."
- Whining about how the Jays "haven't done anything since '93," never pausing to consider tthe baseball team is only 26 years behind the Leafs in this regard, baseball is 10 times more sophisticated than hockey (and thus several times harder to dominate unless you're the Yankees or Red Sox), and that back-to-back World Series should be worth a lifetime exemption. Besides, in a true sports city, you have your favourite teams and don't crap on the others. Yankees fans don't build themselves up by dumping on the Knicks.
- Coming from Oshawa.
- Senators 5, Capitals 4: Team 1200 cheerleader Gord Wilson is already in mid-season form, describing penalties against the Precious Team as "two minutes for being Brian McGrattan."
- It's hard not to wonder if Canada's gut-wrenching early exit from the Women's World Cup over in China (needing a win, they tied Australia, giving up the tying goal in injury time) heralds a slow decline for the national women's soccer team. Even Pellerud is probably going to leave as coach and of course, the national body for soccer is a total gong show.
Speaking of which: The footy fans who organized last week's Black Wednesday show of action have started a Facebook group -- 34 people have signed up.
- CTV has already figured that what Global seldom did in its years carrying the NFL: Not everyone in Canada wants to see the Buffalo Bills every week. Even Bills fans don't want to see the Bills every week; they need reminders of what good football looks like.
- Sort of good news for Canadian-based Syracuse Orange fans: Andy Rautins' ACL isn't as bad as it could be, although he'll still miss a year (hat tip to cishoops.ca).
About the pic: That's Mayko Nguyen, the hottest Canuck actress you've never heard of. The new season of Showcase's Rent-A-Goalie is only five weeks and two days away, and she's in it. Remember, if you support Canadian cable sitcoms, the sooner N. Sager gets one.)