Is The Toronto Media Confused? I should have yelled 2!

Good morning from Seattle, where, what a surprise, it is raining!

In any event, what a surprise to find evidence of confusion in the maple leaf world this am. The good news is that at least the media is admitting that they are confused. The bad news is that in the confusion comes suffering, great suffering. If we thought there coverage sucked before, just wait until now.

You see, Cliff and Ron have been very consistent in their messaging. This is not a season to compete. This is a season for building a foundation. That, my friends doesn’t sell newspapers. That scares the shit out of scribes. You see the more times Damien et all scream, and jump up and down, the more papers people buy, well not really, the more clicks on the star website, the more calls to the call in shows etc. The problem is, if the powers that be, are from a results perspective(wins and losses) waiving the white flag, how much jumping up and down can the usual suspects do. The bar has been set pretty low. The goals and expectations won’t be judgable for months, and that just isn’t good media.

The results are everywhere:

“On The Same Page

“We will make the playoffs and compete for the Stanley Cup.”
–Former Leaf head coach Paul Maurice, Sept. 14, 2007.

“If you asked us if you were to pay for a Stanley Cup team this year but you were to be lousy for the next five years would you do it? The answer from an ownership point of view, absolutely not.”
–MLSE chairman Larry Tanenbaum, Sept. 26, 2008

“”Win this year and then next five years be last? For sure I’ll take it.”
–Leaf defenceman Pavel Kubina, Sept. 26, 2008.

“Wins and losses don’t matter.”
–New Leaf head coach Ron Wilson, Oct. 6, 2008

“Not hard to see why people get confused.”

Actually Damien, it is. The first quote is from last years coach, since fired. So let’s forget that one. The next, we can debate until the cow comes home. The attempted point was, it’s time to take a deep breath, suffer some more, and build thing properly. The quote from Kubina, is what I expect from any player. I don’t want a player on my team who says we aren’t here to win every game. The quote form Wilson is a gift, a relief even. Where is the confusion? Maurice’s quote isn’t even relevant.

“While the coach’s words will likely singe some citizens of the Leafs’ Shangri-la, now virtually guaranteed a 42nd consecutive Cup-less spring, Wilson’s bark is often not as bad as his sound bite. But in the modern world of basement bloggers where context is less important than text messaging, Wilson’s tantalizing snippets sometimes take on a life of their own.

That gem from Paul Hunter. Here is hoping Wilson’s bark is as bad as his bite. I love what Wilson said. I hope he means every friggin word. Oh, and by the way, I don’t have a computer in basement from which to blog from!

Back here on the ground floor Damien Chirps:

“The concepts, objectives and goals around the Maple Leafs are like shifting sands, more now than ever before. Clearly, much has changed in a calendar year, and while Ron Wilson was clearly being honest and straightforward through his “wins and losses don’t matter” mantra for the season, that’s not going to be easy for proud, veteran players to ingest before an 82-game season even starts.”

I assume he means the objectives from year to year, if so, ok, I can kind of live with that, except, everyone has called for the buds to do what they are doing for years, now that they are doing it, you don’t like it? With respect to the players not liking it, as I said before, I don’t want a player on team who doesn’t play to win every night. The difference is playing the kids A LOT. So if the veterans don’t like it, you know where they are headed. Fact is, if Jamal Mayers is leading the team in ice time, we got a problem.

Back over to Mr. Hunter’s text messages:

“”You’re going to see Mikhail Grabovski and Jiri Tlusty and the list goes on and on with our young players, maybe Luke Schenn, play a ton of minutes as we try to make them better hockey players. Period,” said Wilson.”I will not play veterans 29 minutes in order to try to find a way to keep the game close. I think in doing that, with these young players, their confidence will grow and we’ll be a better team. It’s all about the process with me.”

I believe, I believe, and I won’t bitch at you for doing it either!

Now, are you sitting down for this one ladies and gentlemen:

“The concept of a slow, painful re-build is a noble one, one that should be supported after years of quick fixes and patches. When Wilson says “you guys can’t be all out there bleating and writing in your papers that this team needs to bottom out and get high draft picks and build and then turn around and say they better win or else,” he’s sure not reading the right papers. There’s nobody in town, really, suggesting the Leafs are pursuing an incorrect strategy by starting at the bottom again. Go ahead. If there’s a commentator in the city who is arguing the Leafs should be trying to win now and make the playoffs, I’d like to know the name.”

Damien, look in the friggin mirror. Here is an idea, go back and read the crap you have been writing. You want to know the name look at the byline under your most recent column!

“It’s how they go about it. And whether they have the internal discipline and sense of direction to get it done, not to mention the corporate will to get it done. Tanenbaum’s pre-season comments, for sure, raised many an eyebrow, as did the apparent willingness of the front office to trade away next year’s first round pick already to land an appealing but older prospect after trading off eight other draft picks over the past five months.”

We have just finished the pre-season, not yet played a single game and you are questioning the internal discipline? With respect to the rumored offer, unless anyone was on the phone, let’s not jump the gun. For all we know that was the ask by the Ducks, who knows, perhaps Cliff threw out a concept, all I am saying is who knows, no one and guess what the trade didn’t happen. Remember the old mantra, sometimes the best deal you ever make is the one you don’t actually make…. If you aren’t happy with how the foundation is being built, you are entitled to that opinion. You too have a record of flip flopping that would make John Kerry smile. I challenge you to put finger to keyboard and suggest what you would have done if you were in Cliff’s shoes. All we have is the information that is out there, so don’t say you would signed a guy for less money then he received somewhere else. Build your team as we go into the season, we would all LOVE to see what GM Cox would do….

“If Wilson thinks nobody’s going to have an opinion about his team’s methods, he’s wrong. If he’s hoping the scores don’t get reported in the papers, or hoping nobody will say his team has played a bad game after it has played a bad game, he’s wrong as well. But nobody is saying “win or else,” that’s for sure.”

Ummmm, has anyone seen Wilson or Cliff make that suggestion. He knows all to well, as do we, that the usual scrum will be hanging around the locker room digging for that nugget everyday until the season is finally over…. While you are opining about his team’s method’s write a column about that too, what Coach Cox would do as opposed to coach Wilson. That will be another classic read.

“But a forever hopeful Leaf fan would have reason to wonder why his or her team was trying to win the Cup last year, and now isn’t even worried about winning any games at all, while the team’s chairman apparently isn’t willing to pursue the ultimate prize in the game if significant sacrifice goes along with it. The players are, just not the suits.”

I don’t wonder at all. I think FINALLY, they are doing the right thing. I am hoping that FINALLY they get it right. As for the last column, you just said that blowing it up is the right thing to do, and if you can find a person who suggests the leafs try to win it all now to let you know his name! The players are, just not that suits???? That points the finger right at you! The team’s chariman isn’t prepared to make bonehead moves to finish 9th or 10th anymore, read what he said, or here is an idea, pick up the phone and call him.

“Oh yes, and the current GM is in power until, uh, when? Next week or next June or indefinitely. Yet interim/non-interim Cliff Fletcher is the one deciding that Luke Schenn must start in the NHL this season, again ignoring all the history of this team and the obvious reality that life for an 18-year-old NHL defenceman in Toronto is enormously different than for the same player in St. Louis, Atlanta and Los Angeles. It’s nice that Alex Pietrangelo, Zach Bogosian and Drew Doughty get to start in the NHL this fall, but that has no bearing on the Leafs and Schenn, or should have no bearing. Nobody will even notice what those kids are doing right or wrong in those towns, while Schenn is going to find out what life is like under the microscope. Sure Scott Stevens broke in successfully as an 18-year-old blueliner in Washington a lifetime ago, but c’mon, nobody was even watching those Caps back then. Stevens could’ve shot the puck into his own net every night and it wouldn’t have been even a note anywhere else.”

Too much stupidity to comment. All I can say is that to the world right now Cliff is the GM. You seem to be the only one with a problem with that situation. With Schenn, I will reserve any comments until he stays here past the 9th or 10th game of the season. As for your last point, with respect to the Toronto Sports Media, yes there are a lot of you, but remember, quality over quantity! Most other markets have us dead to the water!

“Nobody wants to see Schenn fail, certainly not me. When I receive emails suggesting that I just disagree with whatever the Leafs do, or want the team to be unsuccessful, it is to laugh. Clearly, 41 years of losing and being in the predicament they are now means they generally make the wrong decisions. When they start making better ones, I’ll agree more often, I’m sure. Otherwise, it’s the same old story. Been there, got the t-shirt.”

Damien, the story is the same most days. A Toronto Sports team says it’s black, you write that is has to be white. You have made a very nice career out of being a critic. There is nothing wrong with that. We all know, that should this team get built properly, and go on to a nice run of success, which includes a stanley cup, even then you will find a dart to throw. It is who you are, it is what you do. You aren’t a hockey writer, or a reporter for that matter. You are a critic, and what do critics do? They criticize. As Ty Webb said to Judge Smails, “Face it Judge, Your a tremendous slouch”!

Read Smails here
Read Hunter here

And if you don’t know Caddyshack read here

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