Since that charming bit of chitchat, the Leafs have gone 10-16-2, reverting to form. Until McNamara became G.M. in 1981, the most losses the Leafs had ever suffered in a season was 41 (1972-73). Since his arrival the Leafs have lost 44, 40, 45, 52 and 48 games.
As for Ron Caron of the Blues, it's too soon to tell. He has had to build a team with limited funds, and it's a team that missed the entire 1983 draft because the club was in ownership limbo. On top of all that, the Blues have developed a jinx at the left wing this season. No fewer than five wingers have been lost to injury, two of them right out of the Irving Fryar Guide to Injured Reserve. To wit: Mark Reeds suffered second-and third-degree burns...while making popcorn; and Jocelyn Lemieux, the Blues' first-round pick in 1986, tripped at the team's on-ice Christmas party and a security guard skated over his finger. Lemieux has been out of the lineup since Dec. 17. The security guard lost no time.
So it goes in the Norris Division, where a .500 record brings forth hallelujahs and visitors never fear to tread. Still, four of these five teams will make the playoffs. We have a theory on that, too, but as Mom used to tell me, "If you can't say something nice...."