Yesterday, in a chilling and stark ceremony that featured pagan ritual, witchcraft, and the drinking of goat's blood, Glenn Anderson was inducted in to the Hockey Hall of Fame, while former Leaf captain and franchise saviour, Doug "Dougie" Gilmour, was not. Yet another bitter kick in the teeth for those of us that remember Game Six.
For those that don't realize the significance of yesterday's event, let me explain: Late in the third period, after Wendel Clark heroically ties the game as the extra attacker with his third goal, setting up overtime, Anderson decides on his own to make up for it by putting the Leafs down a man for overtime with a completely stupid, pointless, and obvious hit from behind on an L.A. player. If you don't know what happened after that, see the "special feature" in my very first post: The Greatest Screw Job Ever in the History of Sports. Then read every NHL Sourcebook since 1994, and then read today's newspaper. Then come back to reading my blog. (There, now you're all caught up)
But what if Anderson had never thrown that stupid hit? How different would our world be today? Global warming, terrorism, Paris Hilton... would any of these horrors exist, or would we be living an ideal, utopian dream, with King Wendel Clark reigning over a land of justice and harmony for all? Maybe somewhere in between. But, first of all...
Gretzky doesn't high stick Gilmour. Or, if he does, it's of little consequence, because the Leafs wouldn't be short-handed. Since Dougie was about to dump the puck the length of the ice to kill off the remainder of the penalty, "the Dastardly One" had a sense of urgency that contributed to the "high stick". If there's no penalty, Gilmour's not looking to dump the puck, and Greztky is most likely to let him carry it and try to stick-check when a defenceman pinches. No stupid Anderson penalty, no high stick.
Leafs win Game Six. The only conclusion you can draw is that if there'd been no high stick, then the Leafs would have won Game Six. Otherwise, none of our suffering makes any sense. So the Leafs must win that game if Anderson doesn't sabotage it. There's no other option. Probably Wendel scores his fourth, around the 5 minute mark. Clark is the overtime hero with a 4-goal game in Game Six. Leafs win and advance to the Finals to meet Montreal. Wendel's heroics go down in the hockey world as one of the greatest achievements ever. Does Cliff still trade him at the '94 Entry Draft? Perhaps, but if so, his value is way up. Maybe the Leafs get Sundin and the rights to Forsberg (ha!), or more realistically, maybe instead of Garth "the" Butcher, they get Adam Foote. Imagine then, the Leaf defense evolving in to a six-pack that looked like this by 1999: Yushkevich, Markov, Kaberle, McCabe, Foote, and... Bryan Berard, because...
Bryan Berard doesn't get high-sticked in the eye by Hossa. Kerry and Wayne conspired to set the precedent that certain star atheletes in the NHL can wave their sticks around players faces and get away with it. Without that precedent, maybe Hossa feels less inspired to act like Zorro, and more encouraged to keep his stick on the ice. Okay, maybe this one's a stretch, but really, if Anderson had never thrown that stupid hit, everything would be different. Everything. Even your breakfast cereal. Wendel would be on the front of the box. Because...
Leafs win the Stanley Cup in 1993 and again in 1994. It's pretty obvious isn't it? I don't have to explain that one. Probably they win the Cup again in 2000 and 2001 also, since the pressure is completely off and the city is behind the team like never before. Multiple parade routes are planned with each championship, and each time celebrations take over the city and no one has to go to work for three weeks. Every Leaf player on the 93-94 team becomes an eternal legend in Toronto, even Krushelnyski. Gilmour, after scoring a hat-trick in Game One, having six assists in Game Two, scoring the winner in triple overtime in Game Three, and then adding a goal and 2 assists in an 8-0 blowout over Patrick Roy and the Habs for the 4-game sweep, wins his first of 2 back-to-back Conn Smythe Trophies. Fourteen years later, Gilmour goes through to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Meanwhile, Creepy Glenn, who scored 498 career goals, but failed to score the 2 that mattered most, is left out, year after year, again and again, and no one sheds a tear.
So, in mock tribute to Anderson's "accomplishments" let us present our nomination for a new chapter to DownGoesBrown's immortal classic, "How To Fight When You Don't Want To Fight". Congratulations Dougie, in our hearts, you're already in the Hall of Fame.
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