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Longest active playoff drought might be almost over

Apr 12, 2013, 9:54 AM EDT

Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf Getty Images

There’s still eight games left — an opportunity for the Toronto Maple Leafs to pull off a stunning collapse for the second straight season — but right now their entry into the playoffs appears to be all-but inevitable.

They have a 99.7% chance of still being around after April 27, according to the Sports Stats Club. Toronto has a five-point lead on the ninth place Winniepg Jets despite the fact that the Leafs have played in two fewer games.

It’s been a long, painful trip since they last participated in a postseason contest on May 4, 2004. They finished two points shy of a playoff berth in 2006 and then one point short in 2007.

The Leafs got the second overall pick in 2009-10 — only not really because they traded it to Boston before the start of that season as part of the Phil Kessel deal. That addition that might have been all that stood in the way of Toronto finishing dead last in the NHL and thus potentially drafting Taylor Hall instead of the Edmonton Oilers.

After their collapse in 2011-12, Leafs minority owner Lawrence Tanenbaum issued an apology, which led to CBC’s Rex Murphy’s scathing response:

And yet that chapter of the Leafs, led principally by youngsters and players that former GM Brian Burke acquired via trades, are on the brink of putting at least one embarrassing streak to an end. Of course, there’s still the issue of Toronto’s over four-decade old Stanley Cup drought…

  1. chicagobtech - Apr 12, 2013 at 10:25 AM

    “Of course, there’s still the issue of Toronto’s over four-decade old Stanley Cup drought…”

    Could be worse, they could be the Cubs.

  2. timsabourin - Apr 12, 2013 at 10:39 AM

    Obligatory hack comment about the Kessel trade… do you get paid by the word Dadoun?

  3. e5again - Apr 12, 2013 at 10:50 AM

    So how long is the playoff drought?

  4. sunking1 - Apr 12, 2013 at 10:52 AM

    All good things must come to an end

  5. kingsforever - Apr 12, 2013 at 10:58 AM

    “could of drafted Hall” who cares??? Seguin was available with that pick and is better than Hall

    • tuberippin - Apr 12, 2013 at 1:32 PM

      Hindsight is 20-20. At the time, the pick was Hall. Thus, one could assume that had the Leafs held the pick, they would have also taken Taylor Hall.

  6. dan46778 - Apr 12, 2013 at 11:55 AM

    Thank u kessel thank u kessel

  7. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Apr 12, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    It’s my understanding that Seguin has been in Julien’s doghouse for much of this year while Kessel has put up more points than him. Seguin may be a stud in the long run but I’m just fine with Phil for now.

    • timsabourin - Apr 12, 2013 at 2:06 PM

      Kessel looking to be a PPG player with a 2ish/porbably 3C for the second straight year. Very okay with Phil.

      • 19to77 - Apr 12, 2013 at 4:15 PM

        Seguin’s been hit and miss even with two extremely skilled linemates in Bergeron and Marchand – and with them out, he’s been thoroughly underwhelming. On the other hand, Hamilton’s been very solid throughout the season and is only going to get better – as will Seguin.

    • hockeyflow33 - Apr 12, 2013 at 8:09 PM

      The B’s pulled this same garbage with Kessel when he was here in Boston and then ran him out of town. The way they treat Seguin, I’d be shocked if he wanted to re-sign here.

      I’ll never forget how the hockey-ignorant media in Boston slammed Kessel for his one-dimensional game. His one dimension by the way is scoring. I’ve never heard this complaint about any player before or since.

  8. jpelle82 - Apr 12, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    a 99.7% chance of making it and a 99.9% chance of not making it far…

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