Dart Guy, Maple Leafs superfan and Internet star, spicing up NHL playoffs

Sidney Crosby.

Alex Ovechkin.

Dart Guy.

The Stanley Cup playoffs are churning out big goals, thrilling finishes and series surprises each night. But the postseason was never the same before the arrival of the latter -- a Maple Leafs superfan, an overnight Internet sensation and, all of a sudden, an icon of the 2016-17 NHL season.

Dart Guy, as has been well documented, is actually Ontario's Jason Maskalow, a longtime Leafs fanatic whose nickname derived from his unforgettable TV and Twitter debut as a bearded, Mohawk-donning and face-painted phenomenon, complete with an unlit cigarette hanging from his lip and a gaze into the abyss.

Throw in the well-trimmed carving of a Stanley Cup into his hair, and you just can't get any better.

Masses of Maple Leafs fans changing their Twitter profile pictures to the TV still of Dart Guy was only the beginning of the widespread embrace of, well, the funniest and somehow most engaging mascot the NHL has had in years. A man whose mere presence as a cheerleader for the Maple Leafs has turned into the hockey headline of the week (no disrespect to the Pittsburgh Penguins).

Here is cardboard Dart Guy making his way into the Air Canada Centre crowd:

Here's Dart Guy taking over Canadian currency, as we all expected:

Here is Dart Guy fitting right in with the legends of the game:

Oh, and how can we forget Dart Guy's gaze standing in for Drake?

Memes galore, of course, are still spreading across the Interwebs. And Monday, when the Maple Leafs themselves rewarded Dart Guy with playoff tickets and the NHL made sure to announce the new Toronto hero's arrival to the Leafs' Game 3 showdown with the Washington Capitals, there was this, the April Fool's Day-caliber crown jewel of them all:

Say what you want about Dart Guy's appearance. (And it's this writer's opinion that, in promoting this unlikely hero, neither the Maple Leafs nor the league are endorsing cigarettes but rather capturing a silly dose of fun -- something the NHL could sure use more of). And no discredit to the real Maple Leafs, the Penguins or any other real reason we're tuning into the playoffs.

But Dart Guy, in all his glory, will not be forgotten.

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