Candid conversation with Cliff

More good news from the Leafs brass. The one thing we all want is the truth. Following that is a plan. Lastly is the stomach to follow a plan….

“Trying to build a team can’t be fast-tracked,” he said Tuesday.”

A little different then draft schmaft- but hey the game has changed.. We can’t spend our way out of this …yet…

“He’ll be given every chance to make the team,” said Fletcher. “When you look back historically Toronto’s been a graveyard for young defencemen that maybe shouldn’t have been integrated into the NHL lineup as early as they were.

“We’re not going to make that mistake.”

The “He” in this case is Luke Schenn, and thankful the Silver Fox realizes what we leaf fans have suffered through in years past. There is no reason to put a ton of pressure on a kid like Schenn (hello- like comparing him to Scott Stevens!)

“When you look at your top two lines, we’re going to have a lot of young players there this year,” said Fletcher. “How we fare during the regular season will depend very much on how half a dozen of our young players progress.

“We’re not going to be able to start finding that out until we drop the puck for real.”

Exactly, Ron Wilson wants to cut the goals against way down, but the team is still going to have to put the puck in the net a few times a game to win. No one has any clue how the forward are going to produce.

“The key word for the Maple Leafs management and coaching is going to be patience,” he said. “You can’t force things to happen — you have to let them unfold and happen at their own pace.

“We will be patient. We will give a lot of young players that opportunity to become better players and to become a good hockey team.”

That’s right, make a plan and have the stomach to stick to it. We have been mediocre for a long time, we have suffered through brutal loses with nothing to show for it. We would all be willing to take a step back, not make the playoffs again if we knew there was a plan.

“I think most hockey fans in this area understand what our situation is here,” said Fletcher. “I think they have a pretty good feeling for what has to be done to build a much better team.”

Indeed, Leaf fans aren’t as stupid as the media plays us out to be. We all knew the team had to be blown up real good and Cliff has done that. He has done what he said he would do when he was hired, prepare the table for the next guy. He has started to get rid of the bad apples, he has installed a coach who is going to change the attitude and he has slashed the payroll.

Are we going to win the cup this year? No. Are we going to win more games then we did last year? I hope not….but that doesn’t matter. Stick to the plan. Don’t trade 1st round picks. Don’t sign guys to Bryan McCabe/Jason Blake/Darcy Tucker/Tie Domi/Ed Belfour type contracts and be in a position to draft well and have the cap space to add key players down the road.

Quote of the day goes to my man Cujo(sorry, I am a HUGE Cujo fan)

“I really like these colours,” he said Tuesday at an informal team practice at Lakeshore Lions Arena, where he has been skating since Monday.

“You know, I’m excited to be here. Second time around . . . I had been trying to get back here for a while. So it’s all good. I enjoy it. It’s a privilege, obviously to play for the Maple Leafs. So I feel very privileged.”

“It’s a different role,” said Joseph, who backstopped Canada to a gold medal at the Spengler Cup in December before joining the Calgary Flames for their playoff run. “I see it as a support role for not only Vesa, but all the guys. Tell some stories and just, you know, help pass the torch. But also bring it every day. Help lead by example.

It’s nice to have Cujo back where he belongs….

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