Back to the Future


Thirty years ago today a mad scientist and a time travelling
Delorean brought young Wendel Clark 30 years into the future from 1985. The
hope was that he would have travelled far enough into the future to see the
Leafs win the Stanley Cup. Instead of seeing a bright new future filled with
endless possibilities, it just seems to be a lot like 1985 with some flashy new

The World Wendel would have left in October, 1985 would
had the Leafs with a 1-4-0 record. Fast forward to the future, the Leafs now
have 1-3-1 record, thanks solely to the invention of shootout and overtime
losses which did not exist in 1985.

The world Wendel left on October 21, 1985 had the Leafs
coming off a year that placed them in the lottery, grabbing Clark first
overall. Travelling into the future, the 2015 Leafs have improved enough over
the past 30 years that they now draft 4th overall.

“[Dan Maloney] suffered
through 52 losses last season in his rookie year as coach and after five games
this season, the Leafs have won one and lost four. The most recent one was
Saturday night at the Gardens when, after running up a 3-0 lead on the Winnipeg
Jets, they faltered in the third period and lost, 4-3.” Toronto
Star Archives

“Goalie Don Edwards, the veteran added from Calgary Flames to
bolster that position, played soundly in the face of a 48-shot barrage from
Winnipeg Jets. Rookies Dan Hodgson and Wendel Clark, who carry such a big
portion of the teams’ future hopes, scored the Leaf goals. Through 40 minutes
of the match, the Leafs cleared their own zone effectively and pressed
effectively on Jet turf.

The winner at 18:12 was a weirdo. The Leafs transformed winger
Perry Turnbull’s attempted pass into a goal when his soft flip struck the skate
of Leafs’ Jim Benning and the stick of Chris Kotsopoulos and bounced over
Edwards’ pad into the net.

The Leafs haven’t beaten the Jets in the past 13 meetings and have
been outscored, 84-39, in those matches. Their chief nemesis over that stretch,
Jet captain Dale Hawerchuk, was handcuffed by the Leafs along with linemates
Paul MacLean and Brian Mullen.” Toronto
Star Archives

It looks
like Wendel might have travelled a bit too far into the future and missed out
on the Leafs still blowing 3rd period 3 goal leads, and he’s one
year too late on the Leafs playing in games where they’ve been horribly
outshot. Maybe the future is brighter after all.

When you
think about it, Rielly and Gardiner really aren’t all that dissimilar from
Iafrate, and Benning. You can even toss in a Scott Harrington as Todd Gill
reference for good measure.

The Bester
and Wregget tandem went on just as long as the Bernier and Reimer one seems to
be existing for, and neither of the tandems really offering the Leafs much more
than league average goaltending.

I think I’ve
also settled on Nazem Kadri being this generation’s Tom Fergus.

So let’s
say a time travelling Wendel Clark shows up today, and we get the opportunity
to send him back to 1985 with the equivalent of a Grey’s Sports Almanac, what
do we give him?

I’m gonna
say something along the lines of Justin
Fisher’s draft book
. Ignoring for a moment that even Clark wasn’t an ideal
high pick, and if the Leafs had sucked worse a little sooner or a little later
it would be a drastically different story, putting something like this in the
hands of young Wendel means the Leafs learn that Tom Kurvers isn’t worth
missing out on Scott Neidermayer for. They learn that drafting people with the
last name Pearson isn’t a good idea, and Tyler Biggs probably never exists.

Of course,
there’s a possibility that 2015 Steve Simmons sneaks this information back to
himself in the past so he can continue to write lazy narratives about how the
team fails at every opportunity (this may have already happened).

I guess
what I’m saying is, The Back to the Future movies are really good, I’m sorry
that this post is adding the nausea induced by people beating Back to the
Future day to death, and the Leafs are just as bad now as they were in the 80s
and we really have no reason to believe we’ll ever be happy again.

Enjoy the