Monday, January 28, 2008

Universal Trouble

Hockey in Canada has more Maple Leaf content then some would like, but I have to admit as a hockey fan there is always something to talk about when the topic is the Buds. As much as I just want to talk about the Leafs season on the ice, I'd be remised to not mention what's gone on this week off the ice with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. I'll keep it short and sweet. We all know that John Ferguson Jr. was fired. We know that Cliff Fletcher has been brought back and was named the interim GM. We are also not surprised. In fact I think most Leafs fans all said a collective thank God on January 22. My question is simple. Why interim? We are talking about the most profitable franchise in NHL hockey here. The most recognizable brand hockey has to offer and yet they can't find anyone of importance to be the GM full time? You would think the well known hockey types would be lined up for this job. Something smells here, and I can't help but think that the Puppet Master that is the Maple Leaf Board of Governors has it's fingers in the hockey side of things way to deep and it's scaring people off.

I wish I could change gears and have happy time now, but that's just not the case. When a GM gets fired it's normally not because everything is fine and dandy with the on-ice product. It's All-Star Weekend and the Leafs sit 6 points out of a playoff spot and some of the teams the Leafs will have to track down have two games in hand. When this season started the Leafs big moves in the off season where Jason Blake and Vesa Toskala. I remember getting into a conversation with a group of Leaf faithful, their names shall remain unknown, about just how much better Toskala would really be over Raycroft. I was of the opinion that the goalie wasn't the problem as much as the Leafs defense was and that Toskala wouldn't fair much better in net then Raycroft did. Through the first 10-15 games I looked like some sort of god, but alas I have to admit that either Toskala is a better goalie then Raycroft or the Leafs defense is better then I thought. To save some face, I'm going with Toskala being the better goalie. He has worked out for the team and will provide confidence from the Leafs own end out as this franchise tries to move forward from here. Jason Blake on the other hand ....... not so good. This guy scored 40 goals last season with the Islanders, he was the proverbial "Big Fish" that the Leafs managed to sign and he is on pace for a grand total of 14 goals this season. The only positive I can think of for now in regards to Blake? The next 4 years of his contract can't be this bad, look for him to rebound in 08-09.

So the only think left to touch on is the future. But what is the Leafs future? Sure Antropov had a great start this season, but has returned to earth and frankly isn't that young anymore. Do we call Ponikarovsky, Stajan, or Wellwood the next franchise player? I don't think so. Can you look at the Leafs farm team and see some great potential coming down the pipe? Not so much. The Leafs made the change at GM, now it's time for them to change their approach to their team make up. Take everything that's older and of value and unload it for prospects and picks. That starts with Mats Sundin. That guy would collect you a boatload of future if they played their cards right. No one wants to rebuild, but it's pretty clear to me anyway, that this is the only path left for the Leafs to go down.

Then again, this is just a damned opinion.

~ damned

If you're a fan of the Leafs, please sign in at our very own Maple Leaf Roll Call


This message has been brought to you by:

Proud sponsor of The Arena Beauty Pageant.

Just 3 more days left to get in on The Arena Beauty Pageant. Submit your photograph today!