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Baby Blues

by Mike Ulmer / Toronto Maple Leafs
I want to talk about tonight’s draft lottery. It starts at 8 p.m. but that’s not important right now.

This question:  What’s the one thing all of us, regardless of race, colour, nationality or religion have in common?

Somebody birthed each one of us. And then they birthed brothers and sisters. Everywhere you look, them people was birthed.

Do you know the pain involved in giving birth? A mother I know once told her curious son that if he wanted to experience the pain level, he should pinch his upper lip as hard as he could.

Tears flooded his eyes.

“Now,” she said, “pull your lip over your head.”

But people forget. If they can forget what it feels to force something the size of a five-pin bowling ball out of their bodies, believe me they can forget anything.

Leafs fans, it’s baby time. Problem is, as painful as this is going to be, someone else carts the kid away.

The Boston Bruins have an 18.8 per cent chance of snagging the first overall which will be either Taylor Hall of Tyler Seguin. If the Bruins don’t win the first prize, they are the team most favoured to go second. They can only fall one spot, so third is as low as it gets.

Leafs fans, imagine you had a big copy of the team logo tattooed around the spine of your lower back? That means no epidural as you give up the next big thing and the only tangible consolation for a 29th place season.

Now, I can make all sorts of arguments as to why you shouldn’t feel badly. I could point out that Phil Kessel is a marvelous player who scored 30 goals in 70 games.  Kessel never really found his legs after missing training camp and the early season as he rehabbed from shoulder surgery.

No one would argue that he is not a spectacular talent, a breathtaking skater with a ludicrously hard shot and a never-ending hunger to score.  He is 22 years old and an Olympian.

Realistically, he should score somewhere around 40 goals a season. Out of shape and coming off an injury, he neared that pace this year. You can quibble with the number, it doesn’t reflect injuries, for example, but average that out until his is 35. That’s 520 goals. That’s Dale Hawerchuk,  Jeremy Roenick, Gilbert Perreault territory.

Is it a sure thing? Nope. Is the first or second choice in the draft always a sure thing? Uh-uh, so help me Rick DiPietro, Patrik Stefan, David Legwand, Andrei Zuzin, Oleg Tverdovsky and Alexandre Daigle.

We have nothing to fear, but fear itself. Like that? Wrote it myself.

Seventy-eight days after it was released, Jaws became the highest grossing movie of all time. It scared a generation of people out of the ocean. Pretty well everyone has gone back.

Leaf fans have vast storehouses of things to forget. Giving away the second rounder the Kings used to draft Mike Cammalleri for, wait for it, Aki Berg.

Landing Tom Kurvers from New Jersey for the choice the Devils would then use to pick Scott Niedermayer. Don’t even get me going about dealing Tuukka Rask to get Andrew Raycroft and keep Justin Pogge.

Which brings us back to tonight. The Boston Bruins will use the pick once held by the Leafs to draft one of the top three players in the entry draft. That’s a nice long-term payoff for a team that made the playoffs. Even nicer when consider the second rounder this year and the Leafs’ number one in the 2011 draft shmaft.

It is a harrowing scenario and the silhouette of Kessel and what he can accomplish has been obliterated by the light of the train we are sure is coming down the tunnel.

My glorious wife had a mantra in delivering our three children:  “One bad day. One bad day. Then everything is going to be OK."

She might have something there.
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