The Leaf’s Bumpy Ride: The Season’s Narrative Through Leafs Twitter

The mind of a leaf’s fan is a chaotic place – we’ve all found ourselves waffling over twitter arguments. Last year it was Nylander is a bum, then we piled on Barrie as he appeared to forget how to skate, and this week I found out Matthews sucks ass at hockey. While some of these arguments are worth having, most of them are a product of results, and if we track leafs fan’s sentiment over the course of the season, we can tell a pretty interesting story about what has transpired.

I have been tracking tweets containing either “Maple Leafs” or “Leafs” from the start of the season, and using the bing sentiment journal to quantify how positive or negative these tweets have been on a given day. The chart that will follow the narrative reads as follows: data points the fall to the left of the 0% line are days where tweets were more negative than positive, while tweets on the right are more positive. The Y-axis is the day of the season starting on October 3rd (non-game days are included). The 5 day rolling trend is shown in blue with individual data points in the background.

The Leafs Seem Good (Opener to 10/16)

The Leafs play a classic trick by collecting points despite playing like trash. One tweet reads: “Maple Leafs turn to Hutchinson to keep streak alive”. We still thought we could win a back-to-back, which is cute. Now we’re not turning to Hutch for anything but an excuse for losing to Buffalo. Leafs fans were positive but souring especially after Tampa fed us our lunch in a 7-3 game.

Leafs Seem Mediocre? (10/17 to 11/1)

Leafs begin to struggle – Ovechkin’s sage advice was taken to heart by the fans (and our coach) as the team struggles to pick up points. The Leafs get owned by the Habs on a back-to-back, and we see the first inklings of the “Fire Babcock” tweets. One tweet reads “There are fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs?”. Unfortunately, yes there are.

Leafs are turning it around! (11/2 to 11/7)

You’ll notice this is the shortest segment of the season. The Leafs win three straight and we all grabbed out popcorn to watch this team begin domination. The 5 day sentiment average hit a high. Babcock thought barely beating the Kings was “beautiful”. We should have known he was a sociopath.

Leaf did not turn it around (11/8 to 11/21)

Buckle up, the Leafs begin their descent, losing 6 straight games. The reality the Leafs could miss the playoff sinks in, and the fanbase resorts to 2014-15 levels of depression, without the hope of landing Matthews. One leafs fan tweets “Are they just extra stinky this year?”

Keefe takes over (11/21 to present)

Sentiment rebounds once Keefe takes over, and hopes of an unshackled Leafs team float in Leafs fan’s heads. The recent losses made things a little volatile, but there remains optimism of a turnaround despite shaky on-ice results. On tweet reads “Ready to talk some shit about the Maple Leafs.” Aren’t we all?

-Mackinaw Stats. Data pulled via the Twitter API. Charts are my own.

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