Lou Lamoriello had seen and done it all in his many years in hockey... except for this.
Today, the NHL announced that last night’s apparent victory for the Toronto Maple Leafs against the New York Islanders never actually counted. The whole event was an elaborate April Fool’s Day prank Lamoriello planned with the League scheduling office.
“I had actually wanted to do this when I left New Jersey,” Lamoriello chuckled, “but there was no way I could put this over on Ray Shero. Kyle Dubas turned out to be a perfect mark.”
Former assistant Mark Hunter helped concoct the plan, and Lamoriello used his pull in the league offices to put the bogus match on the league calendar.
“It turns out that we were supposed to be in Vancouver last night,” Dubas said with a shake of his head. “They said we won’t have to forfeit the game, but we don’t get the points from this one.”
The Islanders were willing participants. “With our power play, sometimes you can’t tell if we’re really trying to score anyway,” said captain Anders Lee. “So we just passed it around the outside a lot.”
“Well, all credit to the guys in the room for really laying it out on the line while not getting themselves hurt,” said coach Barry Trotz. “It was a fun way to unwind after we clinched our playoff berth.”
Lamoriello smiled. “We really had to be careful to play it straight and not do anything out of the ordinary, like recalling Josh Ho-Sang or something. We let that kid Rosen score his first NHL goal against us. Just keep it within our systems and do everything according to routine.”
“I thought for sure they’d catch on when Tavares got the winner,” laughed defenseman Johnny Boychuk. “We were all trying not to bust a gut as he skated past. Hell, he almost high-fived us out of habit, then just played it off like he was just happy or something.”
“Like I’d ever let that guy score a real game-winner on me,” huffed Robin Lehner.
Some fans, who had caught wind of the joke ahead of time, tried to start a “Nice play, John” chant but were immediately tackled by all of Section 329. “We were gonna wait until he raised his stick and then yell BURN and laugh,” complained one fan known only as Ian. “I thought it was funny.”
“Well, you know, the fans there are really passionate,” said Tavares in his famous monotone. “They give it 110% every game. It felt good to get one in front of them even if it didn’t count for me, much like the last nine years.”
The un-win leaves Toronto still with a magic number of 1 to clinch a third-straight playoff berth.
Note: As with all Lighthouse Zeitgeist, this is not real. The quotes are imagined. The Leafs are an actual NHL team.