TORONTO—Coming off their best regular mid-season in a decade, analysts are in agreement that the Toronto Maple Leafs have an excellent chance of experiencing this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs from the ice, rather than on their big screen TVs. In a press conference today, head coach Randy Carlyle revealed big plans to turn high hopes into the team’s first championship since 1962.

“When you think of the Golden Years of this franchise, there is no escaping the brilliance of Bill Barilko,” Carlyle said. “While his untimely retirement in 1951 due to a plane crash led to a 10 year drought for the team, it was ultimately his return to the spotlight in 1962 which returned the Leafs to Stanley Cup victory. We hope to recapture that magic again this year.”

Acknowledging the gasps and louder, less polite expressions of disbelief, Carlyle raised his arms and called for order.

“Bill is obviously not of the same calibre as he was in 1950,” Carlyle continued. “As well as being an older man, he’s now well below his playoff weight of 180 pounds, not to mention his former height of five foot eleven. But what he lacks in stature and athleticism he surely makes up for with his inspiration.”

Carlyle would not specify the former star’s current whereabouts but did say that Barilko had attended meetings at the franchise’s headquarters, as well as some team practice sessions where he was visible from his special box.

“I am aware of the obstacles we face, but leave it to say that our organization was impressed at Nelson Mandela’s power to continue to inspire across generational and international boundaries despite being dead,” Carlyle said. “Death is not the great career-stopper it once was. And anyway, this can’t possibly turn out more disappointing than Michael Jordan’s return from retirement to play for the Chicago White Sox.”

By Sebastian Panache

Editor-in-Chief. Follow him on Twitter @SebPanache. Or don’t. It’s okay, really.

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