Down Goes Brown has a reminder: Kerry Fraser still owes Leaf Nation one Stanley Cup.
It is 16 years to the day of Wendel Clark's greatest game and Wayne Gretzky's quote, unquote accidental high stick on Doug Gilmour. OK, so as injustices go, it's pretty small-scale, but it was as close as the Leafs have got to the Cup since you-know-when.
The amusing part is it only became a big deal after the fact, when the Leafs lost Game 7 on home ice two nights later. What everyone forgets is that fateful Game 6 started at 10 p.m. (it might have been 10:30). It was after 1 a.m. in Ontario when Gretzky high-sticked Gilmour, then scored the overtime winner a few seconds later (the L.A. Kings had started OT on the power play, but there's no need to look up the fact the Leafs had six more power plays in the series, 33-27). The way it's remembered is the next day, almost no one in school (I was in Grade 10 in the spring of 1993, but was able to grow a reasonable facsimile of a playoff beard) knew what had gone down.
Meantime, and there is no easy way to segue, it is hard to fathom the sad news about Peter Zezel, who was the second-line centre on that 1992-93 Leafs team. Kurtenblog had a very nice post about Zezel, touching on the fact he had potential to play pro soccer. Who knows, maybe if he had been born 20 years later, he would have ended playing pro soccer in Europe.
He was a memorable player, cool last name, solid two-way game, and by most accounts, was a good person. (A personal favourite bit of Zezel trivia is that he was an extra in the Rob Lowe hockey movie, Youngblood. Zezel was the Hamilton Mustangs played whom Dean Youngblood takes off before the final faceoff, so he can fight the other team's enforcer. Only in Hollywood do hockey enforcers play centre instead of on the wing.)
Zezel cut his playing career short to support a niece who was dying of blastoma. How many people would do that? Not to be preachy, but is noteworthy that as Sun Media reported, Zezel donated his organs, which more people in Canada should do.
Hockey loses Zezel (Lance Hornby, Sun Media)
Zezel's little niece gave mom the last tulip; Player knows he did right thing by leaving season for dying girl (Tony Gallagher, Vancouver Province, May 19, 1999)
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