leafs playoffs first round

TV station drives emotional stake into the hearts of crushed Toronto Maple Leafs fans

You thought the pain was subsiding and that the Toronto Maple Leafs wouldn't be able to hurt you until the next season after a predictable gut-punch of a Game 7 loss to Tampa Bay earlier in May.

But then someone had to go and mess up a headline, giving dejected fans what hopefully turns out to be the last cruel dose of heartbreak for the 2021-22 season.

You see, even though the Leafs lost the game and series — adding to an embarrassing streak of first-round exits — fans watching the news on television were treated to a joyful headline from an alternate universe where the Leafs aren't a complete joke.

But alas, it was not real.

In a Reddit post shared over the long weekend, a screenshot of a CP24 broadcast from Friday morning displayed a "breaking news" lower third showing the confusing non-news that the Leafs had defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning; a task that would require, for starters, a time machine.

Titled "CP24 is just playing with my heart now," Reddit users are responding to the post by describing it as a sort of glitch in the Matrix compared to the Mandela Effect. Or at least a Leafs-ified version of it.

"This is an example of the Mandela effect," described one Reddit user, before going on to explain that this version of the popular alternative-universe plug-in is, in fact, "Named after a shared memory of #1C Nelson Mandela leading the Leafs to the Stanley Cup. Jonathan Bernier is an example of someone who remembers Nelson Mandela the hockey player."

Uhh, sure. Okay.

Others on Reddit are more hopeful, suggesting that this may be a message from the future rather than an alternate present timeline. Which is some real wishful thinking based on our shared experience as fans in recent years/decades.

Twitter had a slightly different take, with commenters pointing out other unlikely headlines shown elsewhere on the screen.

Already under scrutiny, the Leafs will be under even more pressure to succeed in the postseason in 2023, and hopefully, this is not the last we see of headlines proclaiming the apparently cursed franchise as the victor in a playoff series.

Lead photo by

Jack Landau

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