Friday, November 9, 2012

This Day in 1980's Leaf History; Nov. 9, 1985

Sick of waiting for the asses of the NHL and PA to solve their seemingly minscule differences, I'm going to delve into a topic near and dear to my heart...the Toronto Maple Leafs of the 1980's. Why this time period? The Leafs of the 80's were awful. They never had more than 71 points in a season and won only two playoff series. But, this was my childhood and for some reason I still loved them. In lieu of looking at current NHL hockey, let's look at this day in 1980's Leaf history; a decade of crap.
Saturday Nov. 9, 1985. The Leafs collect their first home point of the season. After six straight losses at Maple Leaf Gardens, they tied St. Louis 2-2. The point gave them a grand total of 4 on the season with a record of 1-11-2. Coach Dan Maloney said afterward, "We're not barnstorming, but we're making some progress. A point each night - that's progress to me. It's a hell of a lot more than we were doing before."
Tim Bernhardt turned aside 23 shots and Miroslav Frycer had a goal and an assist. In the third period  rookie Wendel Clark fought Blues defenceman Ric Nattress, five of his 227 PIMs that season. Clark would notch 34 goals and finish second to Calgary's Gary Suter in Calder Trophy voting. Frycer, in the midst of a career season ended up leading the team with 75 points in 73 games.
Amazingly, after such a putrid start to the season the Leafs still made the playoffs with a measly 57 points, thanks to Detroit's historic 40 point season. Toronto upset first place Chicago in the first round with a three game sweep then took St. Louis the full series games before losing 2-1 in game seven.
Toronto ended up one game away from meeting Calgary in the Stanley Cup semi-finals. This was pretty much the highlight of the decade for a young Leaf fan.

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