Is There Something Wrong With Being Candid?

Interesting developments in Leaf land, and I am pretty psyched about it. As a fan of any team, the one thing I want from my teams is honesty. Know, I am not so naive to think they are going to tell us everything, but I loose all respect for bold face lies. One of the reasons I loathe JP is his “it isn’t a lie if we know the truth”.

We fans are generally a grown up bunch and especially when it comes to the leafs. We have been lied to and misled for so long, that when the Coach and GM actually start to tell it like it is, we the fans applaud and for some reason the media rings warning bells. Once again, the negativity of the sports media in this town is to no end. For years they have told us how we have been lied to and misled, what a bunch of boobs they are… Do you remember the crap Paul Maurice took when he said they were going to make the playoffs and that it was the most talented team he had coached?

So Ron Wilson tells the boys at Hockey Central how he feels about all things Maple Leaf, including captain Mats and the press goes nuts. Its a joke. Wilson is bang on. This is my favorite part:

“When Millard asked Wilson how many spots in the standings Sundin might be worth to the Leafs, the coach again grew skeptical. “That’s hard to say, but it wasn’t enough to make a difference last year, was it? Or the year before. Or the year before that”

Exactly. There is a new GM in town and new coach in town who know this year is going to be brutal and are ok with that. Guess what, so too are the real fans. We would rather hear that then the BS JFJ and PM spewed in prior years.

Today, the buds allowed a few select beat writers down to the acc for a sit in with cliff, and once again his bluntness is being criticized. Howie was on Hockeycentral with Mark Spector (who is awesome and Darren Millard. Howie reported on what Cliff had to say.

Howie was impressed with the new scoreboard- it cost 8 million bucks (MLSE doesn’t spend money though!) when the Flyers built the spectrum in the 70’s it cost them 12 million to build the whole arena.

Luke Schenn will have to overwhelm the leafs brass in order to make the NHL this year- team is going to be bad, defense is impossible to play – why bring in him to that?

I think this is great news. Don’t put any pressure on the kid. There is no reason to ruin another prospect

Cliff said there is one forward who is a legitimate top six forward on the roster going into camp. The guys tried to figure it out before Howie said, that Cliff said that player was Antropov. Interesting to note that guys like Steen and Stajan, in the GM’s eyes are no better then 3rd liners.

see Spector’s comments below. I think this is right. Every single player the leafs draft or sign is totally overrated in this market. I asked the question a couple of days ago, who is part of the solution and I don’t think many of these guys are. Players who either we elevated as fans or we were sold on by management/media just aren’t that good. The proof is in the results pudding!

Cliff said that they want to be better in December then they were in October and better in March then they were in December.

Howie said one thing people likes about cliff is he is honest.

The group was asked why did Cliff do this before training camp and manage expectations to this degree? Howie answered with a question. Was it managing expectations or throwing down the gauntlet? The guys laughed at him and suggested that it was some way to motivate the troops. Howie said that he didn’t think it was a planned speech, that this is how Cliff feels that it was an honest response to a question and not a canned response.

The guys asked why Maurice said what he did last year (most talented team ever) versus what Cliff said today. Spector hit the nail on the head saying thatas someone who lives outside the city, this team and these forwards are so over rated. These guys have been over-rated for 3 years. In toronto only they are considered good forwards. Howie interjected and asked “over rated by whom” which is a joke and Spector hit the nail on the head again, it is time for Cliff to come out and say no more over rating this team or its players.

Then Howie let out a doozie- remember but Willie has been saying about players not wanting to play here, Howie said that Cliff (remember, the most honest guy in hockey) told the scrum that the Leafs had the opportunity to bring in a top notch free agent, a guy who wanted to come play here and the Leafs passed because there is no reason being a 13th or 14th place team anymore..one word AMEN

Howie said that Cliff made it clear that in his opinion and that of the leaf scouts, neither John Tavaras nor Victor Hedman , who the top analysts pick as the potential number one pik next year are franchise players. Spectors point on this, ask a GM of a top level team the same question and they will say we have no idea we won’t be drafting him, Cliff answered because he may be picking number one.

We can only hope.

I don’t get why Wison isn’t being praised for being, blunt, honest and probably accurate. It is refreshing. Sundin is a great player. What really could he do to help this team? Wilson, as an outsider has more of an unbiased opinion then any of us, and I am happy to trust him as opposed to the other regular geniuses.

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