We can put this to rest now, I think. Four days after a brutal loss that had many predicting impending meltdown, and two days after Saluteghazi, the Maple Leafs beat the Red Wings 4-1, and, yes, raised their sticks to the fans.
I sort of love how this all went down. The issue of whether the Leafs would salute the next time they won became much more pressing then actually winning, which is a perfect indictment of Toronto. But as the Leafs pulled away in the third on the strength of two goals from Tyler Bozak, the tension built. Would they salute? How would the fans react?
In the end, it was a tasteful little stick-raise—casual, in their own end as opposed to center ice, with knowing smiles on the faces of many of the players. And the crowd responded with a cheer that I don't think I'm out of bounds describing as semi-sarcastic. Maybe it took consecutive convincing wins against good teams to get priorities straight, but it's almost as if everyone realized at the same time how dumb this was. Cody Franson's eye-rolling smirk, on the far right of the photo, speaks for everyone.