By Fred Wallace
Hi, this is Fred Wallace with " Off the Wire ".
The Toronto Maple Leafs are in Detroit tonight to face the Red Wings in NHL action at Little Caesars Arena.
The Leafs are just one game short of matching their longest win streak of the season;....... 3.
And everyone will tell you the common denominator in this spectacular string of victories is connected to the dismissal of Mike Babcock and the arrival of Sheldon Keefe in the head coaching position.
Have you ever seen people dance on a grave with such joy ? ....you'd think it was Mike Keenan or John Tortorella that got gassed last week.
Never mind that Babcock has won Olympic Gold twice, been to the Stanley Cup Final 3 times- winning once, plus also was at the helm for championships in the World Cup, at the World Hockey Championships, the World Juniors & the CIS University Cup.
And never mind that Babcock entered the Leaf picture at a period of futility and turned a hopeless crew into a 100 point squad in fairly short order.
Babcock, thankfully say the masses is gone, replaced by Sheldon Keefe who has a Calder Cup Championship to his coaching credit.
The resumes of Babcock and Keefe don't matchup. In fairness, Keefe is still very early in his coaching career, but the coming of Keefe is being heralded as the arrival of the messiah.
The departure of Babcock also means the shackles have been loosened on the ice for 36 year old Jason Spezza.
Have we not seen this act played out a million times in Toronto where a past-prime-player is heralded as the 2nd coming ?
Prior to the arrival of Coach Keefe, the Leafs had lost 6 in a row.
The same guys that lost all those games and looked so useless in the process are the very same guys who now are going to be revitalized and galvanized under a new coach...
I don't buy it. Sorry.
The Leafs might win tonight at Detroit, but those who believe this is a successful strategy in the vein of the St Louis Blues Championship last year are dreaming in Technicolor.
I'm Fred Wallace