With the Toronto Maple Leafs there’s enough material to last a lifetime. I mean, if all of the sudden the late night shows were hurting for material due to the sudden respect of politicians, the Maple Leafs are there to support the comedic writers.
Ownership, management, coaches and yes players all share some of the blame for a mess that reminds many of us of a part of leafs history we’d all rather forget.
It’s disappointing to see the media focus on a guy who has performed, who has, for the most part done his job this season; Phil Kessel.
Jeff Blair has written an otherwise brilliant piece on the current state of the team but for the way he starts the piece with a rip at Kessel for all things being quiet.
“He has no goaltender, his leading scorer is a milquetoast, Tom Thumb guy who shrinks even further in front of the cameras and nobody knows for certain whether his team captain has credibility in the dressing room.”
Burke doesn’t have a goaltender. That’s true
Nobody does know for certain what exactly the role played by the captain on the team. There are so many stores making the rounds about captain Dion and how he treats his teammates.
Kessel? Blair thinks he’s a ” very timid, unassertive, spineless person, especially one who is easily dominated or intimidated” Is that a fair assessment of Phil Kessel?
Of all the problems surrounding the Maple Leafs, if Kessel’s personality makes the top 50, we are doomed.
Look at the Leafs roster, how many guys can you say, you know exactly what you are going to get and you can say that in a positive way? Kessel is exactly as advertised. So, he doesn’t talk to the press. I don’t think that’s his role, and quite frankly I don’t care. Does that make him spineless? I don’t know, maybe Blair knows more than us.
It’s too bad Blair went there on Kessel, because the rest of his article is one of the best state of the Leafs pieces I’ve read in some time.
“The only way that changes is if sometime this off-season, Burke gets rid of one of his many assistant general managers. That will be a sign that the game has changed, that somebody in the new ownership group has the ear of somebody else. Much like a head coach being ordered to get rid of an assistant coach, if Burke is told to divest himself of, say, a David Nonis or two it will be a sign that the suits have awakened; that the guys who actually do up their neckties instead of letting them hang on either side of the collar have awakened and want to take back their team.”
Someone besides Ron Wilson needs to pay for this mess.
The anti- Kessel sentiment seems to be contagous over at the Globe as Dowbiggin was ripping Kessel too:
“simple. He’s not a franchise guy. Hes a role plyr His GM gave up chance to get two franchise guys when he traded for him.”
I got to listen to a little bit of the post game Leafs show on TSN radio tonight. Here’s a surprise for you. Mike Hogan was really good. He was on with Jim Tatti talking hockey. I think perhaps TSN has found a way to bring out the best in Mike; don’t let him drive, put him in the second chair and let a guy like Tatti drive. He’s much better answering questions and giving opinions than being solo or asking the questions.
Graham James got sentenced to two years in prison today. I think I am the only one who doesn’t view this as a sports story. With all due respect to those sports talking heads who were called upon to speak about the case, I could really care less about your opinion. This is a criminal case and one where I want to hear the legal experts tell me how this despicable sentence was delivered today.
Don’t get me wrong, having a sports perspective as a filler to provide some color is fine and I can live with that. However those outlets that went all sports on this story and didn’t have a criminal lawyer to talk about the case missed the boat. Again, that could easily be just me.
Back to the Leafs, I just caught this article by Bruce Arthur. It’s equally as good as the Blair piece.
“But there is no passion here, not now; just a hollow team and a zombified crowd. If they could, some Leafs fans would surely take the option of a narrow sort of amnesia. But even then, this would all seem strangely familiar, somehow. Almost as if they had been here before.”
So sad, so true.
Photo available here