Whoa, don't let that title catch you by surprise there. I'm not rooting for the Leafs or anything it just happens that, somehow, Damien Cox of the Toronto Star and myself are on the same page. Now he's not saying anything earth shattering. In fact, all he's saying is that John Tavares is the real deal. But, despite that, it's still amazing to say I agree.
It's a derby in which the Maple Leafs, not yet bad enough to get better, must have a horse.
Brian Burke knows it, Dave Nonis knows it and even Ron Wilson, you have to believe, knows it.
John Tavares' special performance on a big stage for Team Canada in the opening game of the world junior championship in Ottawa on Friday night was just the latest piece of compelling evidence that made it clear the Leafs need to be at least in a position to win the draft lottery and land the No. 1 overall pick next June.
Any other day I would say this might be more fanboy trash coming from Toronto, but when it comes to a kid as special as Tavares, it's not. I guess you could say I'm developing a creepy man crush on the kid. As you may remember, I wrote a short essay about this on Monday.
The only difference between myself and Cox -- and it's kind of a big one -- is that last Monday the Islanders had lost nine in a row and were 13 points out of the 8th playoff spot in the East. As of 4:30 this morning when Cox's article hit the internets, the Leafs were 5-5 in their last ten and only five points out of the 8th spot in the East. They still have a chance whereas the Islanders will have to play better than .600 hockey for a few months to climb back in this. I kind of question Cox's faith in his team when reading this, as they're certainly not done in the Everybody Wins League. But then again, these are the Leafs. It can be painful to watch sometimes.