March 29, 2007
Try the cringe calculation
By JODY VANCE -- Sun Media
Friday night's first half of a home-and-home with the Sabres changed a great deal for Leaf fans.
It saw the creation of "the cringe calculation." In the dictionary of Jody, the definition will read something like: The number of goals scored by your team multipled by the amount of time left in regulation = when fans begin to breathe.
After witnessing that incredibly ugly 16-minute collapse in the third at HSBC, it will be some time before Leafs Nation will feel safe with a 4-1 lead. We are seeing the effects linger.
What do they say about counting your chickens?
Count 'em too soon and you might feel the negative effects of the cringe calculation.
This new phenomenon took hold of Leafs Nation in game two of that home-and-home against mighty Buffalo.
It was deja vu when Toronto went up 4-1 Saturday and not one Leaf fan exhaled. A few familiar faces in the press box quipped, "Well now The Sabres have them right where they want them!"
Luckily, the cringe calculation is all about the fans and not the players. The Leafs proved their grit and commitment in pulling out the rather unexpected 4-1 win Saturday.
Ahead to Tuesday and the all-important Canes/Leafs tilt: The tension was thick during the pre-game. What would be the cringe calculation this night?
Even at 5-1, fans still watched with bated breath.
Player-turned-TSN-analyst Glenn Healy, however, proved he has ice water running through his veins. Healy was comfy enough to call this game over before the start of the third!
As much as Saturday healed what ailed both player and fan alike, the fallout from Friday loomed in the back of many minds. Glenn Healy would have got an earful from a few fans suffering this new cringe calculation.
Cocky can bite you in the butt in the most painful ways and cocky isn't something you are likely to see from Leaf fans. Well, for the next week or so anyway.
With all of this in mind, if their beloved team is successful in clinching a playoff spot -- ignore all of the above.
Jody Vance is a sportscaster with Leafs TV. Her columns appear Tuesdays and Thursdays in 24 hours.