The Maple Leafs play in Toronto. The Hockey News is based in Toronto. Therefore, THN favors the Maple Leafs. So goes the silly syllogism among some non-Leafs fans. And it’s dead wrong.
So, yeah, the Toronto Maple Leafs are 1-2-0 to start the season. Ho hum. There will be a lot of that in Hogtown this season: losing.
To the surprise of a certain segment of the NHL fan base, however, we at The Hockey News collectively don’t really care whether the Maple Leafs win or lose. We have no horse in that turtle race. Sure, there are Leafs fans among us, but there are also Canadiens fans, a Flames fan and, until recently, even a Panthers fan (no joke). Heck, there’s also some egghead editor whose allegiance shifts annually with his Stanley Cup prediction. (This season, it’s the Ducks.)
And yet, despite this plurality, the assumption persists among some that because THN is based in Toronto, there must be some kinda backroom bias in favor of the Leafs. We get it often, and it causes severe eye rolling in the office every time.
— Alex Saunders (@real_saundies) September 16, 2014
Said fans are like the drunk searching for his keys under the streetlamp, not because his keys are actually there but because the light makes it so easy to see. It’s easier to believe a bias rather than rely on research.
In an effort to debunk this bunk bias, here are some things called “facts”:
In the past three years, THN has published 55 issues. On just five has a Maple Leaf been the main cover image – the same number of times each that it was a Blackhawk or a Lightning player. (Four times apiece, the Canadiens, Senators and Bruins were featured.) Sidney Crosby has graced our cover the most in that time, making Pittsburgh No. 1 with eight appearances, followed by Los Angeles at six.
Apparently, then, THN is hornier for the Penguins and Kings than the Leafs, who have caught a whopping nine percent of cover love the past three years. Given it’s the biggest hockey market on the planet, if anything, it’s been underserved.
As far as predictions go, since the 2004-05 lockout, Toronto has reached the post-season once (2012-13). During that time, THN has picked the Leafs to make the playoffs all of two times (2005-06 and 2013-14), neither of which we actually got right:
2005-06 8th in the Eastern Conference
2006-07 10th in the Eastern Conference
2007-08 11th in the Eastern Conference
2008-09 14th in the Eastern Conference
2009-10 11th in the Eastern Conference
2010-11 12th in the Eastern Conference
2011-12 10th in the Eastern Conference
2012-13 12th in the Eastern Conference
2013-14 5th in the Atlantic Division
2014-15 6th in the Atlantic Division
That’s it, that’s all. Thank you. Goodnight.