Leafs veterans comment on the playoffs and what could be their last shot to win a Cup

Ben Hodgson
April 30, 2022  (4:52 PM)

I doubt there are many readers of this site who didn't, at some point in their life, imagine themselves hoisting Lord Stanley's Cup above their heads. Sadly, the vast majority of us don't make the NHL. Of those who do, even fewer leave the sport with a ring and their name engraved on the best trophy in pro sports. For veteran players like Wayne Simmonds, Jason Spezza and Mark Giordano, their careers are drawing to a close and none of them have had the chance to drink out of that all encompassing Cup. This could be the last chance these 3 GTA natives have to bring the Cup home to Toronto.

For Wayne Simmonds, his hard hitting, heavy style of play has taken a toll on his body over his 1000+ game career. He isn't the unstoppable power forward he once was, but he still brings an element of nastiness to the ice that is critical in the post season. Simmer has another year on his deal, but with hungry young players like Nick Robertson, Nick Abruzzese, Curtis Douglas and Bobby McMann ready to fight for roster spots next season, he may find himself out of the lineup more often than he'd like.
Mark Giordano was a late bloomer, as evidenced by his 2019 Norris Trophy winning season at 35 years old. The hard nosed defender has been fantastic on a pairing with Timothy Liljegren since joining the Leafs. Still, with over 1000 NHL games under his belt and 40 approaching quickly, who knows if retirement is in the cards for Gio.
Jason Spezza is the most likely of the three to retire at the end of the year. Although one reason I could see him giving it one more shot is his career point total. Spezza is currently sitting on 995 career points in the NHL. I would imagine hitting the millenium mark is very important to him. Like Simmonds, Spezza is being pushed out by hungry up and comers, his days of being a full time NHLer are sadly nearing the end. If you were to ask Spezza, a Stanley Cup would mean much more to him than a regular season stat. He will do everything in his power to make it happen this season.
Simmonds, Giordano and Spezza will be playing with an added element of desperation come Game 1 Monday night. All 3 have extremely commendable NHL resumes, but to retire without ever having won the cup would be a terrible shame for 3 players who have had such fantastic careers to leave the game without raising the cup above their heads. Look for all 3 players to elevate their games when the puck drops.
Here's what each of them have had to say on the subject of time and their chance to win a Stanley Cup shrinking with evert season.
Simmonds: "You don't know how much longer you have"
Giordano: "You don't think time is running out, but now you realize how quick it goes"
Spezza: "You play your whole life to try to win a Cup & Father Time is catching up"
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Leafs veterans comment on the playoffs and what could be their last shot to win a Cup

If the Leafs win the Cup, in which order will the three veterans hoist it?

Spezza, Giordano, Simmonds58868.5 %
Giordano, Simmonds, Spezza566.5 %
Giordano, Spezza, Simmonds11513.4 %
Simmonds, Spezza, Giordano9911.5 %
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