Media, Not Maple Leafs, Should Be Ashamed

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- I have had more than a day to digest the Toronto Maple Leafs' heartbreaking 5-4 overtime loss to the Boston Bruins in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals Monday night.

I'm a Leafs fan. I consider myself borderline diehard.

I was at the final game at Maple Leaf Gardens. I partied beforehand up and down Carlton and Church Streets. I have taken red-eye flights into Toronto on a few Friday/Saturday mornings just to watch Hockey Night in Canada in person. My wife and daughter surprised me when I returned home from a recent trip with a Maple Leafs-themed bathroom.

I am as close as a person comes to being Canadian without actually being Canadian. My Dad was born in Toronto. I grew up on the border in Niagara Falls, New York. I know what the Canadian Ballet is. I can point out Waterloo, home of BlackBerry ( BBRY) headquarters on a map. And I know that The Tragically Hip are way more popular inside Canada than Rush or Bryan Adams. My first ever concert -- Gordon Lightfoot.

And I feel like I know a thing or two about hockey. All these years I thought the Canadian media did as well. Maybe I was wrong.

They jumped on the bandwagon and opportunistically made a spectacle of the Leafs' misfortune just like everybody else did. What a shameful bunch of hacks. Though I hope I missed some worthy analysis through the sensationalist noise and hysteria.

While I understand that what happened in Boston the other night was bigger, at least to the hockey world, than the ball going between Bill Buckner's legs, a little bit of context . . . just a bit of perspective . . . from somebody . . . anybody . . . would have been nice.

We sure as hell were not going to get it from the vultures at ESPN, who only decide to cover hockey when somebody bleeds or gets embarrassed. They were all over the Leafs/Bruins Game Seven. And, sadly, the self-proclaimed Worldwide Leader in Sports offered us nothing better than Good Morning America's cursory next-day postmortem.

It was clear from the second the puck dropped on CNBC that the NBC Sports Network wasn't prepared to provide any worthy insight into the night's events.

(And, just to cover my butt, this is not a shot at CNBC. NBC used CNBC to broadcast the game. That's it. What follows is directed squarely at the folks who put on the one of the worst hockey telecasts east of San Jose).

Dave Strader, who made an attempt at doing play-by-play of the Leafs/Bruins game, showed us out of the gate that he hadn't done the most basic homework. He repeatedly mispronounced Cody Franson's name. It took Strader and his broadcast partner, Bryan Engblom (who I actually like), half the game to provide some context on the Maple Leafs' face-off problems.

Both guys must have done the game with blindfolds on. Like the referees, they missed a handful of offsides calls that should have gone against the Bruins. They offered absolutely zero insight into the regular seasons that brought each team to this pivotal moment in time.

And somehow NBC calls Strader its No. 2 hockey play-by-play guy behind the legendary and obsessively over-prepared Mike "Doc" Emrick.

All of this to say, I'm not making excuses; rather I am setting the table for the pathetic job the media did in the aftermath of the Leafs' collapse. A failure in coverage that, sadly, spread into Canada.

When the Leafs were up 4-1, people started congratulating me on Twitter. I responded repeatedly with caution. Here's an example:

You see, I had watched the Maple Leafs all year long. Probably saw about 35 to 40 of the team's 48 regular season games. I watched every minute against the Bruins.

The Leafs have had three problems all season and all series long.

The team often has trouble clearing the puck from its own zone. The players turn the puck over a lot. And fantastic young goaltender, James Reimer, tends to give up quite a few juicy rebounds. These things all lead to second chances for the opposing team. Too many second chances and you get burned.

If the Leafs did not have these glaring issues, we would not have had a Game Seven. The team would have knocked the Bruins off in six. So, while I was disappointed and upset with the loss (because, let's face it, theoretically, you should not blow a 4-1 lead with 10 minutes left in the third period), it did not come as a surprise. The Leafs players made the same errors I saw them make all year and all series long in the second half of the third as well as Monday's overtime period.

This is a young team. What more can we expect? What more should we expect? A straight shot to the Stanley Cup Finals in its first post-season appearance in nine years. Becoming a seasoned and confident playoff team is a process; it takes time. It comes with experience. With having been there before. Boston has. Toronto hasn't.

As much as I despise Milan Lucic (though I would love him if he was on "my" team), I saw it in his eyes when he rallied the troops in the third period. That was a veteran player rallying a veteran team that responded. The Leafs aren't there yet. And it's unfair to expect them to be.

But Toronto has an excellent coach. A strong core. A few pieces away from going deep into the playoffs. A top-tier centerman. Another big body on defense. The team will be better off for what happened Monday night because, as Joffrey Lupul said on Twitter after the game:

Nobody feels worse about what happened than the players. They don't need an irresponsible media that neglects context and perspective to tell them how bad they blew it. They know. And they won't soon forget.

Plus, it really is, after all, only a game.

If you want context and perspective, watch this and be grateful you're able to "wait till next year."

-- Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.

Rocco Pendola is TheStreet's Director of Social Media. Pendola's daily contributions to TheStreet frequently appear on CNBC and at various top online properties, such as Forbes.

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