After a brief spell where they appeared to be playing up to their talent level, the Leafs have been horrendous again. And, as a result, the rose-coloured glasses and sepia-toned photographs come out, like in this piece from the Toronto Star's Garth Woolsey:
Woolsey's talking about 1962-64, and of course everything looks great in retrospect. But he's conveniently forgetting the 1951-52 through 1957-58 seasons. Just to refresh your memory of those seven dark years:
The Leafs were a mess. They went through numerous coaches: Joe Primeau, King Clancy, Howie Meeker and Billy Reay - with Reay replaced by Punch Imlach in 1958-59 after a 5-12 start. Not coincidentally, this is the worst seven-year period in Leafs history. So as much as we might like to remember the highs of the early 1960s, when the Leafs "made it look so easy," that followed an era where when they could barely make the playoffs, and when they did, they were outscored more than 2-1 by their opponents.
I'm not saying the Leafs are just a couple years away from a string of playoff successes, but it's important to remember that they sucked a lot back in the "Original Six" era too.