Article Of The Day…. A Little Late

I had to take the little TSM’s to school this am and with work and of course the weather I got bogged down. I didn’t see this article until just now when I sat down to read the Post. This whole Maple Leaf thing is really not that complicated. It seems that the Toronto Media (print especially) is LOST (sorry, I am so psyched for next week’s premiere). The season is playing out (results wise) as many of us had hoped. The team is playing well and losing lots. With the exception of a few games the effort has not been the problem, it has been the lack of talent. Unlike in years past when the talent appeared to be there but the attitude and effort weren’t. So, why, after everyone, and I mean everyone called for the blowing up of the team, is the concept so hard to grasp. The same guru’s who said it wasn’t going to be easy, who said it was going to be ugly, are now crying because it is painful. As I have said all along. The fans have no problem buying in. We have sucked for so long, what’s another season or 3. At least this time we are being told the truth! To quote PPP, we don’t boo the losing, we boo the lack of effort. Really, it’s just not that hard.

One guy who finally seems to be getting it is Bruce Arthur at the National Post. So while Gary Lowen is off….ummmm, well I am not sure what he is doing, maybe watching old re-runs of the Golden Girls or something,Bruce is paying attention:

“So you move into a new house, and it needs some work. The previous occupants had pretty much trashed the place – scraped up the floors, disconnected the plumbing, sunk the foundations, blew off the roof. It’s all painted blue and white, and it’s a mess. To be fair, there are some saleable items left. A Kaberle-brand dishwasher, an Antropov barbecue, a Kubina TV, a Ponikarovsky rug. But they’re only really useful if you can sell them off to pay for the real reconstruction, and that’s what you would like to do.”

Wow, now that is actually worth chuckling over- better then that moronic Gilligan’s Island cast story…..

“Because they are part of this franchise fixer-upper, the media only half-heartedly grills various Toronto Maple Leafs players about the spate of slow starts, or quizzes Nik Antropov about his 10-game goalless streak, or corners Tomas Kaberle in the locker room. It all feels like we’re killing time, on temporary duty, waiting to be reassigned to a different team entirely.”

WAIT a minute. the media only what?? Sorry Bruce, perhaps you haven’t been paying attention to this group. This “grilling” is as good as it gets! You weren’t expecting in-depth analysis where you? The hardest question asked by a beat reporter last year was are you going to waive your no trade clause? That is no joke…

“If there’s a temporary feeling, there’s a reason,” Leafs general manager Brian Burke says over the phone from Boston, on his way to the Providence-Boston College hockey game last night. “A team with our number of points, with our record, it should feel temporary.”

It is, what it is…It is what we were told it would be……

“It’s guys throwing anchors at people,” Burke says. “And they’re not even embarrassed. People figure if you’re struggling, you’re desperate. And we’re struggling. It’s not even offensive to me.”

This suggests two things to me. The current cap system is going to change so that the logjam blocking the transaction section of my newspapers will once again flow properly. Secondly, NHL GM’s should be seeing a ton more of junior’s and pro players then they used to be. There is no real reason to stay home. I mean cellphones keep you in touch anyway, but if there is no chance of a deal now, may as well be on the road looking at players, right?

“Struggling team or not, Burke is less than two months into a five-year contract, so he is not desperate. So he waits. He has truly taken inventory, now. He would like to replace some of the draft picks that were missing when he arrived, and he needs young players. It may not be in Burke’s DNA to lose games, but it is in his interest. “It’s not just a DNA question,” Burke says. “This is the tightrope you walk as the general manager of a team that’s struggling. There’s a difference between tanking and putting a young lineup on the ice that’s going to have some trouble. I think people can accept [the latter] and support that.”

It’s like the old SCTV skits, 3D house or horrors- where John Candy would move an object in and out of the camera… How does someone who is “trained” to win, resist the urge to do all he can to win. Burke isn’t used to standing by and watching his team’s season going down the pike. That, is for guys like Bryan Murray (sorry, couldn’t help myself). Burke knows what we have suffered through here and knows what has to be done. Anyone who suggests a quick fix solution to make the playoffs this year is a moron.

“Every Toronto Maple Leafs game is by definition a big game to somebody out there, but right now, what’s the point in getting exercised over stuff like scoring slumps or the penalty kill? The floors may be scratched up, but they’re going to be replaced.That – and the four-year contract – may be why coach Ron Wilson doesn’t have to sugarcoat his public assessments of his team. Yesterday alone he uttered the following sentences: 1. “We are what we are.” 2. “We know what we are as a team. We’re not a team that’s built [to], or that should be, scoring five or six goals a night, plain and simple.” 3. “I personally think we’re not surprising anybody any more, and that’s the realistic version of it.” 4. “It’s a rebuilding year, period.”

That’s right. Lay the foundation this year. It’s too cold to build yet. Pour the foundation, set the tone, start to change bad habits. Eradicate the pests and vermin. Then as winter starts to thaw in say 50 days (god shoot me if it stays cold that long) we can start the building…

“Burke says he loves some things about this team: The work ethic, the way they don’t get discouraged when they fall behind, their general adherence to the structure Wilson has put in place. Add talent, and they might have something. “I think people in Toronto have witnessed since 1967 that anything but a long-term approach is doomed,” Burke says. “I think people get it.” And so we wait. It’s probably for the best.”

It is definitely for the best. Even if we don’t win the cup as a result. There are no harm in doing what we are doing. It won’t be worse then what we had, that is for sure.

You can read Arthur here

About the Author