It’s 2021, and while Maple Leafs fans thought that this year would be different, well, it wasn’t.

Once again, Toronto couldn’t advance past the opening round of the playoffs. The last time the Maple Leafs did was back in 2004. To make matters worse, they were up 3-1 in the best-of-seven series before collapsing and losing in Game 7 to the Canadiens.

To pour salt into the fresh wounds of Leafs nation, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, hockey’s newest fan, crushed the team on Tuesday’s edition of “Stephen A’s World.”

“Those Toronto Maple Leafs right there are the Dallas Cowboys of the NHL,” he said emphatically followed by a maniacal laugh. “The Dallas Cowboys of Canada. Just failures on an epic level — every year.”

CANADIENS VS. MAPLE LEAFS: Game 5 | Game 6 | Game 7

The Cowboys have at least won a postseason game in recent years with their last playoff victory coming in 2018 against the Seahawks. They also won the Super Bowl in 1995. By comparison, it’s been 54 years since Toronto won the Stanley Cup.

With ESPN having acquired the broadcast rights to the NHL beginning next season, Smith — who acknowledges he’s not a hockey expert — has been discussing the fastest game on ice more. He is very familiar with the Cowboys, though, and he has a long-standing tradition of mocking the team.

According to a Sports Illustrated article from April, Smith’s hatred of the Cowboys began because a girl who broke his heart in high school was a fan of the team. Well, the connection now makes sense: the Maple Leafs break a lot of hearts, too.

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