By HOWARD BERGER
TORONTO (Feb. 1) – It is geared toward neither a mature audience nor the young and influential.
If it were a television program, the caution notice would read “Parental Guidance Mandatory.”
Only on a non-policed website would it be tolerated to even the slightest degree.
It is, however, perversely amusing and indicative of those whose waking hours are governed solely by the fortune of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
An otherwise passionate and thorough blog-site – Maple Leafs Hotstove – descends into the gutter with its unfiltered Comments section… clearly enhancing page-views for proprietor Alec Brownsombe, but attracting and appealing to the absolute lowest common denominator.
Brownscombe (though he regularly partakes in the vulgarity), Garrett Bauman and others affiliated with the site are knowledgeable, ardent fans of the Leafs; able to express themselves adequately. An overwhelming majority of those who log onto the site during games have no-such capacity.
A tiny percent are able and willing to react appropriately (some humorously).
An example of this mania occurred immediately after the Pittsburgh Penguins drew even with the Leafs on Tuesday night at the Consol Energy Center, thanks to a shoulder re-direction by Evgeni Malkin with 6.6 seconds left in regulation time. It capped an improbable, third-period rebound from a 4-1 deficit and led to a shoot-out victory for the home side. Granted, this was an extreme situation – difficult for all fans of the Blue and White – especially after a similar misfortune befell the club in its previous game, last Tuesday, at Nassau Coliseum (the Islanders tied the match with 16 seconds left; Leafs won in overtime).
Judge for yourself, however, whether you, or any person you know, would have gone to a lap-top and reacted in the following manner (comments preceded by user tag):
Quinten_24: “Sweet mother of sh—.”
skiingallday: “Fu—you Leafs”
tmlfan: “FU—“ (written 20 times in capital letters)
Dipsy_Doodle_Dandy: “HOLY FU—ING SH— I swear if Burke does not make a damn move tomorrow I am going to lose it!!!”
McKelvie: “Piece of fu—ing sh— team…”
Alec_Brownscombe (yes, the website proprietor): “That’s just a crazy, fu—ing desperation-time bounce”
Shift_Disturber: “Fu—you hockey gods”
skiingallday (again): Fu—you Gus; Fu—you Schenn; Fu—you Lombo; Fu—you MAF; Fu—you. Just fu—fu—fu—life”
peterbleafs: “Fu—these Leafs… losers”
Bruce Gamble: “I blame Wilson”
Shotgun Charlie: “It’s the life of a Leaf fan”
peterbleafs (again): “Gardiner fu—ed this game up”
skiingallday (yet again): “Still shaking… with rage… fu—ing Leafs can’t fu—ing seal the deal”
Matt Mistele: “There’s no one to blame for this but the universe, and stupid, dumb luck. Started with one idiotic-referee no-goal call and ended with the luckiest fu—ing bounce any player has gotten all season. Welcome to hell, Leaf fans. We have your usual table ready”
Matt: “Schenn for Lebda. And then trade Lebda for another beauty package because no one will take Schenn now”
DURING FIVE-MINUTE OVERTIME…
Mortagleus: “Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww fu—.”
skiingallday (still at it): “Are you serious, Kessel? F MY LIFE”
skiingallday (misery increasing): “Fu—you Connolly”
creasemonkey: “Connolly is fu—ing useless”
Newslang14: “Fu—you Connolly, you lazy, soft little bitch”
Leafs4ever: “Fu—Gus just got run over. These refs got paid”
Leafs4ever (seconds later, watching Penguins TV broadcast): “I’m so hostile right now; I honestly would punch Bob Errey in the nose if I was in front of him”
McKelvie (again): “I hate that I love the Leafs”
Mike_84: “Sh—damn Gino”
tmlfan (again) “Oh my fu—.”
Stanley goes to White Kessel: “Internet [TV] feeds SUCK A—I’m gonna break down and get TSN. I can’t stand this choppy, fu—ing 1980s Shopping Channel bullsh—.”
HisDukeness: “Gus damn near split his balls in half on that one”
tmlfan (once more): “F- – kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk”
Shift_Disturber (again): “Fu—ing Bulls—t”
Whalz: “Fu—ing awful”
garry_leeman51 (again): “I feel sick to my stomach… need a scotch”
mcloki: “So, first order of business tomorrow night – run Fleury”
looshV: “Fu—! Awful!”
Potsy: “I fu—ing hate the shoot-out. What a bill shot fu—ing way to end a great game. Also… Fu—Fu—Fu—.”
Shift-Disturber (still going strong): “The hockey gods are a—holes”
Stanley goes to White Kessel (again): “If that’s not enough for Burke to pull the trigger on a trade, I don’t know what it. The players that fu—ed up (Gards, Phaneuf, Gus) aren’t the ones on the block anyway, so we didn’t lose trade value tonight”
BorjeSundin: “We have a lot of dead-weight contracts to clear. Connolly: $4.75 (million) and useless; Lombardi: $3 (million) and useless; Schenn: $3.6 (million) and useless; Armstrong: $3 (million) and useless. That’s a quarter of our cap space tied up in CRAP”
BorjeSundin (again): “Why should we chill? We wasted three hours of life”
Cloud09: “And you’re full of sh—. Only one who has anything to answer for is Connolly. So STFU”
HowieDoin: “Fu—this. I want changes like fu—ing yesterday”
djstml: “All the bitching on this site makes me want to pee… on all your keyboards. STFU you babies.”
Facebook: Howard Berger [Thornhill ON]