As long as his memory is in check, he said, he will never feel blind.
He likes what he’s seeing from the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Lundrigan, a 68-year-old Corner Brook native, played 49 games for the Leafs during the 1972-73 National Hockey League season. He also played three games for the Washington Capitals during the 1974-75 NHL campaign.
The Leafs and Capitals are locking horns in a first-round playoff matchup, meaning Lundrigan has sacrificed some sleep as the first three games of the series required extra time to decide a winner.
He has fond memories of his short stint in the big show, but his heart clearly belongs to the Leafs and he still makes a couple of trips to the Air Canada Centre every year to watch the Buds play from the alumni box with other former Leafs.
He believes the Leafs are playing way beyond anybody’s expectations, with the Capitals winning the President’s Trophy as the league’s best team in the regular season, but he’s been impressed with the speed and resilience of the rookie-laden squad.
“Every game that they win is a bonus and it looks good on them. It’s about time Toronto did something,” Lundrigan said earlier this week from his home in Halifax.
It’s been a seesaw battle between his two former clubs, but he couldn’t help but notice the difference in the compete level. He is surprised the Capitals haven’t shown more of what made them a strong contender for the Stanley Cup, but has been impressed with the speed of the Leafs and their ability to stick with a system that has helped them achieve some success.
“I think Babcock has gotten the guys to believe in themselves,” Lundrigan said from Halifax earlier this week.
As much as he would love to see the Cup hoisted by the blue and white, Lundrigan doesn’t see it happening this year, but certainly in the near future as the team gets experience under their belt.
He figures the Leafs will hang in there for as long as they can and hope for the best, but he’s a happy camper knowing the future couldn’t be any brighter for a team he dearly loves.
“The first-year guys are getting their feet wet and what a better way to do it than what they’re doing up there now,” he said.
Hearing “Go Leafs Go” at this time of the year is something he will continue to embrace with hopes of glory days ahead.
Joe’s NHL journey
Toronto Maple Leafs
Games played — 49
Goals — 2
Assists — 7
Points — 9
PIM — 20
Games played — 3
Goals — 0
Assists — 0
Points — 0
PIM — 2