I’m excited about tonight’s game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Florida Panthers. I’m particularly looking forward to seeing young goalie Joseph Woll in action. It’s unfortunate that Ilya Samsonov is injured, but I’ve been eagerly waiting to see Woll play for a long time. In my opinion, he’s the real deal and has the potential to become the Maple Leafs’ starting goalie in the future.

Related: Maple Leafs’ Quick Hits: From Blame to Strategy & Production

Tonight’s Game Could Not Be More Do-Or-Die

Tonight’s game puts immense pressure on the Maple Leafs as it’s a do-or-die situation, a must-win game. After this game, fans will have a better understanding of the team. The game itself brings a lot of excitement for that reason. Interestingly, I’m feeling less anxious about this game compared to the first-round series between the Maple Leafs and the Tampa Bay Lightning, during which I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.

Now, for some inexplicable reason, I’m less worried about the second-round series, even though the Maple Leafs are currently behind three games to nothing. Perhaps, I’m going through the five stages of grief described by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross in her influential work.

[As an aside, for readers who don’t know the work, it’s really worth understanding. In brief, Kubler-Ross outlined the five stages of grief which help understand the emotional journey individuals might go through when faced with a terminal illness or the loss of a loved one. The stages include (1) Denial, (2) Anger, (3) Bargaining, (4) Depression, and finally (5) Acceptance.]

I’m Eager to Watch This Game 4

Back to the Maple Leafs. I’m anticipating watching the game. Logically speaking, it seems tough that the Maple Leafs can win four games in a row against a Panthers team that has managed to prevent them from scoring any more than two goals for the past five games.

Joseph Woll, Maple Leafs

At the same time, this game will provide Maple Leafs’ fans with significant insights into their team. If Woll manages to achieve the impossible and win four games, can you even imagine the story? It has happened four times before in NHL history, so it’s not entirely impossible.

However, if the team fails to secure a victory in the second-round series, it raises serious questions about organizational changes.

Related: Maple Leafs Should Move Marner to the Third Line for Game 4

If the Maple Leafs Fall in Round 2, Then What?

It’s hard to imagine there wouldn’t be substantial changes in the Maple Leafs’ leadership and team. I can’t imagine there won’t be calls for the Maple Leafs organization to blow things up “real good.”

In fact, as I pondered this dire situation, it reminded me of one of my favourite television shows from the late 1970s and early 1980s. This show reflects both my age and my preference for the type of comedy I enjoy.

The phrase “Blow it up real good” originates from a comedy sketch on the Canadian television show SCTV (Second City Television) that aired from 1976 to 1984. Every show ran a sketch called the “Farm Report” that featured fictional farm broadcaster Big Jim McBob (played by Joe Flaherty) and his co-host Billy Sol Hurok (played by John Candy).

In the “Farm Report” sketch, Big Jim and Billy Sol reported on farm topics in exaggerated and comedic ways. The catchphrase “Blow it up real good” became one of their signature lines. It was always used as a humorous exaggeration to suggest that any farm problem could be solved by explosive action – blowing it up “real good.”

The Phrase Could Explain the Current Maple Leafs’ Situation

The phrase “blow it up real good” now has become popular in my own memories and seems to fit this particular Maple Leafs’ context. It’s pretty obvious that failure in Round 2, especially given the way the team has gone down three games to Zilch, will demand changes.

Perhaps things won’t be demolished. That said, there might be drastic or exaggerated measures to solve the team’s perceived problem of being unable to travel far down the road toward a Stanley Cup. By the way, unlike Farm Report, few people will find the situation humorous.

So Here We Are, With the Maple Leafs’ 2022-23 Season on the Line

As I was also writing this post, I was reminded of another phrase that did not emerge from SCTV’s Farm Report. And, forgive me if I cite an American reference and not a Canadian one. The phrase was “These are the times that try men’s souls.”

It’s a line from the essay series “The American Crisis” written by Thomas Paine in 1776. Written during the American Revolutionary War, it was meant to inspire and encourage American colonists during the critical moment of their struggle for independence from British rule.

Paine’s essay recognized that struggle for anything tests people’s courage, determination, and resilience. It emphasized the difficulty of the situation and the need to persevere through tough times.

This is a challenging moment for the Maple Leafs organization. We’ll see how the team performs. Who knows, it could turn out to be a great story.

Related: Whatever Happened to ex-Maple Leafs’ Josh Ho-Sang?

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