Maple Leafs not alone in 0-for-decades

STEVE SIMMONS

, Last Updated: 9:32 AM ET

The Maple Leafs' championship drought is often overblown in both perspective and in reality.

Yes, 40 years have elapsed since the Leafs won a Stanley Cup, but no, on a broader scale of professional sporting achievement, that's not exactly monumental.

At least the Leafs have championships, although all were produced in a six-team league.

The Minnesota Vikings don't have any football titles in 46 years of existence.

The Texas Rangers don't. Counting the club's time in Washington, the franchise is 47 years old.

The St. Louis Blues and Los Angeles Kings have never won Cups; next year marks the 40th anniversary without a celebration for both.

When you do the math on established teams, it's remarkable how many franchises have not won a thing.

The longest-serving NFL teams that are championship-free are Minnesota, Atlanta, New Orleans and Cincinnati.

Almost half the teams in the NBA, the youngest of the four major leagues, have won nothing.

Hell, the Denver Nuggets have won nothing in two leagues.

The Leafs may be badly run and nowhere close to another championship, but they are by no means alone.

THIS AND THAT

The Raptors' meek and weak performance in New Jersey in Game 3 reminded me of an old joke they used to whisper about Lindry Ruff from his hockey playing days. "Ruff at home," they'd say, "Lindy on the road." Or to modernize it: You don't want to be Vince Carter ... Don't know what was worse in Game 3? The Raptors defence or Chris Bosh's lame play ... The year Sam Mitchell was honoured for coaching ended three games ago ... The CFL Draft goes Wednesday: The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are on the clock ... Every time I turn on a draft show I can hear Pierre McGuire's voice shrilling about NHL teams passing on Zach Parise. "They'll regret it," screamed McGuire, who has since been proven correct ... This doesn't happen often: Statistically, Jamie Langenbrunner of the New Jersey Devils scores 14% more points per game in the playoffs than he does in the regular season. By comparison, Henrik Sedin of the Canucks scores 12% fewer points in the playoffs than he does during the season ... Little known fact: the Raptors' highest-paid player is Rasho Nesterovic. But he doesn't receive the Bryan McCabe treatment because the Raptors didn't negotiate the contract when he was acquired from San Antonio.

HEAR AND THERE

The less heard on John Ferguson, the more chance the general manager will return for another season. With a draft in eight weeks and free agency right after that, had the Leafs been inclined to replace Ferguson the time to do it was yesterday. ... Combined, the Leafs' overpriced duo of McCabe and Pavel Kubina earns $12.15 US million a year, or roughly $600,000 fewer than the entire six-man defence of the powerful Buffalo Sabres ... Mike Keenan has gone to work for Swedish hockey. Word is he won't consider trading Henrik Lundqvist to another country ... On second thought, how much were Peter Forsberg, Keith Tkachuk and Bill Guerin really worth at the trade deadline? ... Among the reasons scoring is down in the Stanley Cup playoffs: More thorough scouting has led to much improved penalty killing. The Vancouver Canucks, with all of 16 goals in nine playoff games, have a power-play efficiency of 6% ... Just how strong is the Ontario Hockey League? Well, strong enough that rookie of the year Patrick Kane will be an early pick in this year's NHL draft, while finalists Steven Stamkos and Alex Pietrangelo will be early picks next year.

SCENE AND HEARD

True story: Wichita State has been stripped of its national cheerleading title for -- get this --using an illegal cheerleader. Better question may be: Who could possibly have known? ... If Dirk Nowitzki earns MVP honours and Dallas loses in the first round, doesn't that diminish his award? ... Tough time to be a defending champion: The Carolina Hurricanes are out of the playoffs and the Miami Heat are just about done ... If you're ranking the remaining playoff goalies one through eight, Ray Emery, strong as he has been, still ranks eighth ... Know this about drug cheats like Floyd Landis: The labs are wrong. The doctors are wrong. The tests are wrong. Everybody's innocent even after being proven guilty ... You can't make this stuff up: Michael Vick is being investigated by the Humane Society of all people ... We have a 'When Toronto FC will score its first goal pool' in the office. I have never ... Somebody will be fired if this doesn't change: Mariano Rivera of the Yankees has no saves, and an earned run average of 12.14.

AND ANOTHER THING

Gentlemen, watch your backs: The king of hit from behind, Ryan Hollweg, has re-signed with the New York Rangers ... Trouble comes in pairs. Like Brian Burke and Brad May, to name one ... I amuse easily: the Atlanta Falcons drafted Jamaal Anderson yesterday ... The very clever Norman Chad on Mark Cuban: "(He) is symptomatic of an increasingly uncivilized, unruly, sporting public. If he doesn't get his way, he cries, and if nobody listens, he cries louder." ... Argos co-owner Howard Sokolowski was sitting near LaDainian Tomlinson at the Raptors game the other night when he turned to a friend and said: "Think he'd like to sign here?" Said the friend: "Think we can get him to break a few laws first." ... Loyalty is a wonderful trait, but if the Calgary Flames get off to a slow start next season, Darryl Sutter will have no choice but to fire coach Jim Playfair ... I must have invested in Brady Quinn: How else to explain him dropping that far back, that quickly ... And hey, whatever became of Tom Cousineau?


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