Breaking Up Is Hard To Do
September 15, 2003
Courtesy of: On
Story by: Navin Vaswani
They say breaking up is hard to do. Whoever
"they" are, they're right.
At first, it really affected me, maybe
because I never saw it coming. Sure, the
months near the end of our relationship
were rocky, but it's not always going to
be smooth sailing. Breaking up is always
in the back of your mind but you never expect
to see them walk out the door and not even
But then it happened. July 1st, 2002, Curtis
Joseph signed a contract with the Detroit
Red Wings. The HATED Detroit Red Wings!
His career with the Toronto Maple Leafs
was over. No parade down Yonge Street, not
even a bloody Stanley Cup final appearance.
It wasn't supposed to end this way, but
Cujo made his decision. He walked out on
me, on all of us, and didn't even care.
Our four years together meant nothing to
him. After all this city and the fans did
for him, he just picked up and left.
You know, I still remember our first night
together. There was a buzz around the city
that night in October 1998. No more Felix
Potvin in goal. Now we had Curtis Joseph,
a goaltender just entering his prime, playing
for his hometown team. It was the start
of something special.
Oddly enough, it was Detroit in town for
Cujo's first game. Ahh, I remember like
it was yesterday. Joseph was phenomenal
as the Leafs took the game 2-1. Alyn McCauley
scored the game winning goal that night
and thus started the legend of Curtis Joseph.
There were so many good times. The All-Star
games, the awards, Cujo's elevation to celebrity
in hockey mad Toronto, Canada and the NHL.
There were the deep playoff runs, the amazing
saves, and the dreams of Cujo lifting up
that silver cup. But in the end, I don't
remember the good times, I only remember
A lot of my friends and even my family
didn't understand why I was so upset by
his leaving. I'm an emotional guy, I'm not
going to lie. I thought we were in it for
the long haul. That's what Curtis always
Seeing him put on that Red Wings jersey
was traumatic. It was like cheating on me
with the enemy. I was so filled with rage
by the things he said and the way he abandoned
me. I sat in front of my t.v. that afternoon,
literally in shock.
"Say it ain't so Cujo. Say it ain't
But it was so. He was gone. It was over
The first couple of months were really
tough. Back in high school while my buddies
were putting up pictures of hot chicks in
their lockers, I was putting up pictures
of Cujo. I knew getting over him wasn't
going to be easy, but I didn't think it
was going to be so hard either
I remember listening to that song by Kid
Rock and Sheryl Crow while I sat in my room,
wondering how it all went so wrong.
"I put your picture away
One by one I took down the posters. I got
rid of my Cujo bobble head doll, my Cujo
stuffed animal and my Cujo organizer. I
didn't want any reminders. I was bitter,
and I still am. Nothing he says can ever
justify what he did. He sold this city and
me out, and he knows it.
The months after he left were really tough.
Everyone was nervous that now that he was
gone, the Leafs would flop. The media pegged
him as the backbone of the team and without
him, we were nothing. Everyone was ripping
on Pat Quinn and it seemed like no good
would come of the break up.
Then Eddie came along.
Eddie Belfour, my hero, my second love.
This past season, Ed Belfour put up numbers
that Curtis Joseph can only dream about.
He showed this city what true goaltending
is and he made everyone forget about the
man named Cujo.
Belfour stepped up to the plate when the
world told him he was finished, that he
should have retired, and he had one of the
strongest seasons of his career. He was
a Vezina Trophy nominee, and Curtis Joseph
wasn't even on the voting ballot.
I can't say enough about the man nicknamed
"Eddie". What he did this season
was simply incredible. He proved that the
Toronto Maple Leafs were more than just
I'll admit it, I was worried. Belfour was
coming off a ridiculously terrible season
in Dallas where he was ousted as the number
one man. But he's got too much pride to
just be thrown off to the side. We're talking
about the man who back in 1998 beat Patrick
Roy and Dominik Hasek to win the Stanley
Cup. Those are two of the greatest goalies
of all time, and Eddie took 'em both out.
I was worried, but I had faith. I beleafed
in Eddie. He knew fans like me were vulnerable,
on the rebound so to say. He also knew how
much love we had to give. It's safe to say
he healed my broken heart.
Eddie, if you ever read this, it was me.
Yep, that's right, it was me that night,
in Buffalo. November 15th, 2002, Maple Leafs
on the road in Buffalo, a building they
never seem to win in, to visit the pathetic
Sabres. I was there, sitting in the third
row, going crazy. It was 2-1 Leafs in the
third period, with about ten minutes to
play. The Leafs were struggling, but seemed
to be turning the corner on a terrible start
to the season. Eddie was getting stronger
and stronger and now it was time for him
to steal the show.
"It's time for Eddie to shut the door
and steal this win for us."
Those were the words that I spoke to my
friend sitting next to me.
All of a sudden, the Sabres started to
put on the pressure. Time after time, Belfour
denied them. Then it happened
"Eddie! Eddie! Eddie!"
My buddy, my brother and me. All standing
tall, yelling at the top of our lungs.
It spread like wildfire in that arena.
There were a lot of us die-hard Leaf fans
who made the trek to Buffalo. All of us
were chanting wildly, showing Eddie how
much we loved him.
He heard us. He skated right over to the
corner where we were sitting and I swear
he looked right into my eyes.
It was unheard of, the fans of the visiting
team chanting throughout the building. The
"Eddie" chant hadn't even begun
in Toronto at that point. Want to know why?
Because we started it that night!
In another weird twist of fate, Cujo and
his Red Wings were in Toronto the next night.
Of course, Cujo picked that night to take
a rest, and Manny Legace got the start.
Belfour didn't care. He was awesome and
in the end, I was glad that Joseph didn't
play, because he had the best seat in the
house to watch the goaltending clinic that
Eddie put on. The Leafs lost the game 2-1,
but as Belfour left the ice for the dressing
room, he left to chants of "Eddie!
From then on, Toronto, thanks to the efforts
of one Ed Belfour, was one of the hottest
teams the rest of the season. Belfour, in
only 60 odd games, showed that he is one
of the greatest goalies to ever put on the
blue and white.
As for Cujo, I'm sure he's going to be
enjoying his LONG summer. A special shout
out must be given to the Mighty Ducks of
Anaheim. I'd like to personally congratulate
them for making Curtis Joseph look like
the biggest idiot on the planet.
Cujo, Cujo, Cujo
looks like you made
a mistake! Swept by the Mighty Ducks. The
seventh seed in the western conference.
You know, the team inspired by the freaking
movie!! Cujo proved that he can't win the
big game and that he'll never win the Stanley
No one, and I mean no one, spurns the Toronto
Maple Leafs and gets away with it. What
goes around comes around buddy. When Cujo
left, I thought I got screwed. I never thought
I'd be so happy with being wrong.
Now I know the Leafs didn't accomplish
much in these playoffs. They were eliminated
in the first round, something that never
happened when Cujo was here. But I don't
care. Joseph left so he could win the Stanley
Cup. He thought he was Mr. Smarty Pants
by leaving us and slapping us all in the
face with his words and actions. He was
I hope this personal reflection of a difficult
time in my life can inspire someone out
there. Even in a small way. Then I will
feel like I've done my job, and that what
I went through was worth it. My advice to
those dealing with heartache is keep your
head up and keep fighting. There's a goalie
out there for everyone, and I've found mine.
The long road known as heartbreak is difficult,
long and winding, but I made it.
Up yours Joseph.
Who needs you anyway
GO LEAFS GO !!!!!!!!!!!!!