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Cheers, We Lose

For the remaing portion of the season in front of us, most Leafs fans will be watching their team stumble through games and rotate in the standings between sixth, fifth and fourth last place in the league. It is, after all, a top pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft that we're setting our sights on.

For the more hardcore Leafs fans among us, we're also hoping that the teams below in us in the standings win more games than us, so to prove our own draft position. That means, like a Proline ticket, we're cheering on teams we'd never dream of.

Fist pump in the air, the Thrashers dumped the Rangers. Hooray, the Islanders just took the Bruins to overtime.

While this is all good and fun, it's rather depressing for some of us. This league is about winning, not losing.

And it's also true that even if the Leafs rebuild, the window for winning a Stanley Cup will be smaller for us than it was in the past. Unless the Leafs scouts continue to bag excellent prospects in the draft, it'll be hard to hold onto our best players as they demand raises and long contracts.

In the current economic climate, most franchises are trying to come to terms with the reality that the salary cap may be shrinking in the years to come, and are being more selective on who they do and do not retain.

That means the teams with real chances at going for the big prize are going to foolishly hit the markets to sign the league's premium players to inflated, extended contracts. Meanwhile, the fans of teams that let them go delusionally laugh off the fact that their stars have left for money that their team was too smart to hand out.

The league is getting way too technical, and it's becoming too much a financial war. I don't like thinking about the cap, or who we won't be able to retain five years after we draft them.

I just want to enjoy some hockey.