Ladies and gentlemen, we give you Doug Gilmour—Stanley Cup champion (with the Calgary Flames, not the boys in blue and white), one of the most beloved Toronto athletes in recent memory and soon-to-be Hall-of-Famer. Earlier this week the Hockey Hall of Fame announced this year’s class of inductees, which included three former Leafs—Gilmour, Eddie Belfour and Joe Nieuwendyk—who will be officially welcomed into the Hall during a ceremony in November.
On the ice, Gilmour made a name for himself as an elite two-way centre that made everybody around him better (see: Andreychuk, Dave—his goal totals jumped every season he played alongside Dougie). Off the ice, he captured the hearts of Leaf Nation—not to mention local media, even if he didn’t always love them back—to an extent we haven’t seen since (except for maybe this guy).
That said, not everyone felt that the man affectionately known as “Killer” necessarily deserved the honour. Yesterday on the The Score’s Tim and Sid: Uncut podcast, host Tim Micallef questioned Gilmour’s credentials, connecting the fact that Gilmour’s prime playing years were with the Maple Leafs to the long-standing belief that the Hall has a Toronto bias (an argument which, frankly, we’re tired of, and one that is sure to surface again next year when former Leafs Gary Roberts, Curtis Joseph and Mats Sundin all become eligible for induction).
Of course, reminiscing about the halcyon days of yore can make fans of today’s squad cringe in agony. But we’re actually optimistic. Sure, we’re guilty of playing into general negativity surrounding the Leafs from time to time—but the team did put together a strong run down the stretch last year, and they enter next season with a young and improved roster highlighted by our favourite, one James “Optimus Reim” Reimer. The current edition of the blue and white may be a long way from reaching the success that the Gilmour-era Leafs enjoyed, but this team is not god-awful. Just frustratingly mediocre.