Arguably one of the most notable Toronto Maple Leafs fans is none other than Sportsnet’s Steve Dangle. The same Steve Dangle that penned a book entitled This Team is Ruining My Life (But I Love Them). If you watch his videos for even a minute, you realize that he is very passionate about his favorite team, the Toronto Maple Leafs. Sometimes he embodies the passion and thrill for his favorite team that only certain people may feel comfortable sharing that side of them with a few select people.
But, not Steve Dangle. And I respect him greatly for it. He has no shame. In a recent video, he reacted to the Leafs’ Game 4 win over the Florida Panthers. Toronto’s backs were up against a wall down three games to none in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. A round in which they have not been since 2004.
The last time the Toronto Maple Leafs won a game in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs was on April 30, 2004, with a 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers would go on to win the next two games, winning the series 4-2 and advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Now, the Toronto Maple Leafs have extended the series with Florida and are set to play Game 5 tomorrow night. This is a situation Leafs’ fans have not found themselves in many times in the past 19 years. But, now they can enjoy the fruits of their team’s labor. Unfortunately, they are still down 3-1 in the series and will need to rely heavily on their best players, Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares, William Nylander, Ryan O’Reilly, etc.
Ryan O’Reilly is a former Stanley Cup Champion on the roster who can provide a calming presence and some advice from someone who has been there before. But, there are two other people in the organization that are former Stanley Cup Champions, and have gone through this very scenario: former Kings’ defenseman Jake Muzzin and forward Kyle Clifford.
Kyle Clifford is on the Toronto Marlies roster currently. But, it can be assumed that he has the players on the NHL team’s phone numbers, allowing him to offer some advice and comfort in a time that could be rather stressful.
Jake Muzzin, on the other hand, is on the Toronto Maple Leafs roster, but he hasn’t played a hockey game since October 27, 2022. He is currently recovering from spine surgery. He, like Clifford, cannot help the team on the ice. But, he does spend every day with these guys and can also provide comforting words of encouragement.
While Muzzin and Clifford were on the Kings, during their 2014 Stanley Cup run, they went down to the San Jose Sharks three games to none. But, they stormed back, winning the series 4-3, and as we all know, went on to win the Stanley Cup for the second time in three years.
Coming back from a 3-0 deficit is a feat that is nearly impossible. Only four teams have done it in the entire history of the NHL. And one of those teams is the 2014 Los Angeles Kings. Could the Toronto Maple Leafs become the fifth?
We will have to wait and find out. But, it has to be incredibly beneficial that two people who have been through this before are within your organization and know what to expect.
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