Friday, January 25, 2013

The Myth of the Maple Leaf Mid-week Malaise

Last night, while listening to the Leafs hosting the Islanders game (which Toronto dropped 7-4 after leading 3-1) I heard at least a few times from the broadcast team of Dan Dunleavy and Jim Ralph a reference to the Maple Leafs "mid-week malaise". This is in reference to the fact that neither the players or the fans can gather up enough intensity for home games that are not on Saturday. The theory goes that a Saturday night game in Toronto is such a magical experience, it is difficult to get up for a game during the middle of the week. Apparently ex-coach Ron Wilson even espoused such a theory before being turfed last season.

Well, it's bullshit.

I checked the game records going back five full seasons, and here's the results. I counted mid-week home games as Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. In fact I believe every "weekend" game not in that group were Saturdays.

Mid-week 9-10-5
Weekend   9-7-1

Mid-week 7-11-7
Weekend   9-5-2

Mid-week 10-12-4
Weekend    8-5-2

Mid-week 13-10-4
Weekend   5-5-4

Mid-week 12-8-5
Weekend   6-8-2

So, maybe up until three seasons ago the "Mid-week Malaise" was in fact true, from 2007 thru 2010 the Leafs were collectively 6 games under .500 during the week and 7 games over .500 on Weekends. This all changed over the last two years however. In this span the Leafs are a collective 25-18-9 at home during mid-week matches while going 11-13-6 in weekend home games. If anything, they should play less Saturday night home tilts.

It used to be that a Saturday night home game in Toronto certainly did hold a cache of importance to both fans and players. Sadly those times seem to have gone, hopefully not forever.

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