Confidential: Inside the Leafs’ Playoff Potluck Party

Confidential: Inside the Leafs’ Playoff Potluck Party

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RealSports view from
RealSports view from "what looks like VIP from downstairs", but is actually "just more tables."

RealSports view from "what looks like VIP from downstairs", but is actually "just more tables."
RealSports view from "what looks like VIP from downstairs", but is actually "just more tables."

Don’t think for a second that just because the Leafs aren’t in the playoffs, they aren’t paying attention to the matchups. Many indicated during their end-of-year interviews that they would follow with great interest and, as it turns out, they have. MLSE has apparently embraced the idea, hosting VIP-only potluck parties at Real Sports Bar and Grill in downtown Toronto so the team can watch the games together, build some off-ice chemistry, and prepare for the experience if it ever – somehow – happens to them.

As luck would have it, we’re able to offer you an exclusive glimpse into one of these events. Don’t ask us how. We’re not even really sure how these happen.

Welcome to the Leafs’ Playoff Potluck Party.

REAL SPORTS BAR AND GRILL, TORONTO – MAIN ENTRANCE

Desperately late, Larry Tannenbaum runs through the restaurant door with a platter under his arm. A fan eating dinner at a NEARBY TABLE stops him.

FAN: Excuse me. This isn’t done.

TANNENBAUM: What?

FAN: This food, that I was told was good and that I paid a huge price for, is not finished cooking.

TANNENBAUM: Wow. I am sorry. Like, so, profusely, unbelievably, incredibly sorry. You have no idea how truly sorry I am right now.

FAN: Uh, ok-

TANNENBAUM: No, really. So sorry. I aphollowgize.

FAN: What?

TANNENBAUM: I said I apologize.

FAN: Well, what can we do about it? I eat here all the time.

TANNENBAUM: We will find some way to fix this, and quickly. What do you want?

FAN: I think I deserve a discount.

Tannenbaum BURSTS OUT LAUGHING, shakes his head, and walks away.

REAL SPORTS VIP UPSTAIRS VIP ROOM – FOOD TABLE

Tannenbaum cuts off BRIAN BURKE, who was heading for the spread with an empty plate.

BURKE: Damnit, Larry. I’m starving-

TANNENBAUM: You’ve got to see these!

Tannenbaum opens the platter, revealing eight seasoned, roasted, exotic SEEDS.

TANNENBAUM: These are super rare Nepalese mountain palm seeds. A delicacy! They only sell eight at a time – each one is considered its own appetizer. This platter cost $23,000.

Burke stares at him.

TANNENBAUM: Come on. Whatever happened, we still killed it, revenue-wise this year! Treat yourself!

Burke tries to reach for one, but DAVE NONIS grabs his arm.

NONIS: I need you down front.

Burke sighs. They leave.

THE READER: That seed joke wasn’t very funny. It had better pay off huge later.

REAL SPORTS UPSTAIRS VIP ROOM – LOUNGE AREA

Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak watch Coach’s Corner as Don Cherry replays various hits from a Philadelphia/Pittsburgh game.

BOZAK: This series is amazing. Like watching an NHL ’12 simulated game.

KESSEL (slackjawed): That’s real? We play that sport?!

Dion Phaneuf appears, with case of RED BULL under his arm.

BOZAK: Ugh. Even the offseason, Dion? We’re not buying any more Red Bull from you.

KESSEL: Or another one of the hats.

PHANEUF: You guys kidding? A Phoenix/Nashville series is actually about to happen. I’m gonna need all of this myself if I have a hope in hell of making it through the Western semifinals.

REAL SPORTS BAR AND GRILL – MAIN ENTRANCE

Burke and Nonis approach the hostess desk.

BURKE: How we doing?

NONIS: We’re at capacity. Get it?

BURKE: Careful. A few MLHS commenters already hate metaphor. We’ll get torn down for adding puns, too.

Rick Nash walks by the entrance.

NASH: Hey guys! I just left this horrible party –

BURKE AND NONIS: GET AWAY! WE’RE FULL!

Nash recoils, and walks away. Roberto Luongo approaches the door.

LUONGO: Hey! Any chance I could-

BURKE AND NONIS: NO! GET A-

They hesitate. Exchange a glance, looking back toward the VIP area.

BURKE: Alright. Maybe.

LUONGO: I brought spoons.

NONIS (quietly, to Burke): We don’t have any spoons.

BURKE (quietly, to Nonis): Yes we do!

NONIS (quietly, to Burke): They’re plastic.

BURKE: I’m not sure if we have a chair for you, Lou.

LUONGO: Can you see if someone will give up their chair? Seriously, I would really like it if you can see if someone would give up their chair.

BURKE (to Nonis): Go see if Mike Komisarek or Matt Lombardi will give Lou their chair.

Nonis runs off. Zach Parise walks by the door.

BURKE: Zach! Buddy! Come in here!

ZACH: I…uh…

BURKE: This party’s amazing! I promise!

ZACH: I’m…well, I’ve got some time…but I’m thinking about catching this plane home, to Minnesota…

BURKE: Come on! I’m begging you! You can have a great seat at the left end of the main table!

JOFFREY LUPUL: Oh, what the hell-

REAL SPORTS UPSTAIRS VIP ROOM – LOUNGE AREA

Mike Brown and Colby Armstrong drink directly from separate bottles of Scotch while watching a Senators highlight reel focused on CHRIS NEIL.

BROWN: He’s tough.

ARMSTRONG: I know.

BROWN: He’s mean.

ARMSTRONG: I know.

BROWN: He’s nasty.

ARMSTRONG: I know.

BROWN: HE’S EVERYTHING OUR TEAM IS SUPPOSED TO BE!

ARMSTRONG: I know.

BROWN: AND I HATE HIM FOR IT!

ARMSTRONG: I know. We all hate him for it.

The highlight reel switches to HENRIK LUNDQVIST. Burke walks past, clutching his stomach – now very, VERY hungry – when he notices the clips. He watches Lundqvist stop Ottawa player after Ottawa player.

BURKE: How old is he?

NONIS: 30.

Burke looks at a nearby table. Francois Allaire demonstrates to Jonas Gustavsson the proper technique for eating soup. Gustavsson tries to copy him – the table collapses, and somehow catches fire. Burke reaches for his phone and dials.

BURKE: Hey, Glen? It’s Brian. Can we-

GLEN SATHER: No.

Sather hangs up. Tim Connolly walks into the lounge.

CONNOLLY: Crap. This was a pot luck?

KESSEL: Yeah. What’d you bring?

CONNOLLY: Nothing. I brought literally nothing to this party. (points at Bozak’s chair) You gonna move? (Bozak shakes his head) OK. I’ll go and sit quietly over there for the rest of it.

REAL SPORTS VIP AREA – WASHROOM

Exiting the men’s room, Clarke MacArthur bumps into BRENDAN SHANAHAN.

SHANAHAN (awkward): Oh, hello. How’ve you been?

MacArthur doesn’t reply. He just stares, eyes narrowed.

SHANAHAN: Come on, Clarke. How long can you hold a grudge?

MACARTHUR: You ruined the start of my season! You gave me a two game suspension for accidentally brushing a guy who happened to be leaning his head forward. All because, what, you’re loyal and he was a Detroit Red Wing? It cost me over $35,000!

SHANAHAN: Hey, it was your own fault!

MACARTHUR: For accidentally and totally unknowingly grazing a Red Wing’s head??

SHANAHAN: Yeah! If you’d grabbed the back of it and rammed it into the glass, I could have given you zero games and a fine that would have been an insignificant fraction of that money!

REAL SPORTS VIP UPSTAIRS VIP ROOM – FOOD TABLE

Burke returns to the food table . It’s almost entirely picked over. BRYAN MURRAY appears.

BURKE: How’d you get past the front door?

MURRAY: You kidding? I’m the GM of what turned out to be 2012’s best Canadian NHL team. I can do whatever I want in this country for the rest of the summer.

BURKE: No way. It was an outlier. You got lucky. Whatever.

Burke scans the table. Seven of Tannenbaum’s Nepalese seeds have been eaten. Absolutely starving, Burke reaches for the last one – but MURRAY grabs it first –

MURRAY: Oh, sorry. The eighth seed is the seed I’m going to take. Is that the seed you wanted?

BURKE: Yeah…

MURRAY: Well, I’m gonna take it.

Murray eats it and leaves. A server starts clearing the table.

BURKE: Is there any more food?

SERVER: Here. One piece left. You like humble pie?

Burke closes his eyes and exhales slowly. He starts UNTYING HIS TIE…

SERVER: Oh, cool! I’ve never actually seen you un-

…and then STRANGLES the server with it.


-Matt Mistele
http://www.twitter.com/TOTruculent

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