I don't know if anyone truly understands Keon's long-time estrangement from the Leafs and from the NHL. Keon had a falling-out with the Leafs and then-owner Harold Ballard back in the 1970s. Prior to Saturday night Keon had only made one other official appearance with the Leafs - back in 2007 when the team honoured the 40th anniversary of the 1967 Stanley Cup winning team.
Various Leafs regimes over the years have reached out to Keon. They all offer want to make amends and honour him by hanging his #14 in the rafters of the ACC.
Which led to this interesting piece by Steve Simmons this weekend regarding the possibility that the Leafs honour Dave Keon with or without his consent.
And the question now is, with Keon at age 72, do you raise his name and number in a ceremony at the ACC even if he chooses not to participate? Do you honour him, as he should be honoured, whether he’s there or not? Would MLSE act without him?Simmons is right on two fronts. Keon's #14 definitely deserves to be up in the rafters, and it is as much for the fans if not for #14 himself.
The names and numbers that best signify Leaf history are really for the fans, for those who lived through those eras, those who cherish tradition. The Keon fans have long wanted to see his name where it belongs. His name needs to be there, not for him necessarily but for Leaf fans first, whether he wants it or not.
Dave Keon truly is one of the greatest Toronto Maple Leafs ever. Definitely top 5. Maybe the best ever. The fans want to remember him. The fans want to say thank you.
Maybe Dave Keon needs to end his estrangement for just one more night and allow it to happen. Let the fans have their night.