Winds Of Change Just Starting To Blow Through Toronto

Brian Burke’s Toronto Marlies were eliminated from AHL playoff contention on April 26th. Over a month later he has put his coaching staff out of their misery and let them go. One can only imagine why this decision took so long, but that is a conversation for another day. Suffice it to say that Gilbert and his team need as much time as possible to find jobs and they could have used the month plus to look as coaching jobs don’t grow on trees. Here’s hoping they are all gainfully employed soon.

Anyway, lots of sources are telling TSM this evening that this is only the first of the changes at MLSE. The changes that I thought were coming to the rest of the staff are apparently going in fact coming down the pike. Word at this hour is that the pink slips are going to be numerous and far reaching. Burke is clearly making this his team and a healthy change in non-player personnel is imminent. I suspect that many of the changes will involve folks we don’t have any reason to know by name or face, but they are all nevertheless people who will be looking for work in the most unfortunate of times. Burke has a long term deal and a clear mandate. He is expected to build the best possible team and this is both on and off the ice. Burke is going to battle and he wants his people with him. It’s his right and we should expect him to build his organization. Unfortunately people will lose their jobs in the midst. Stay tuned.

Still with the theme of changes, I am told that changes are also imminent in the sports media industry. I don’t yet have specifics on which network(s) or which on air talent are going to be let go, but I have been told it won’t just be one network or station and it won’t just be one person losing his or her job either. Stay tuned on this one too.

Finally this evening, I find it humorous that the “other leagues” are rushing to file briefs in support of the NHL in the bankruptcy case involving the Phoenix Coyotes. “Pro sports leagues fear Coyotes sale would set precedent” is the headline in the Globe and Mail. Ummmmm, ya think so??? Look, the judge isn’t going to rule for or against Balisillie on the issue of PR or briefs from outside leagues. He is going to rule based on the application of the law. It really is that simple. One may wonder if the main reason the leagues are so worried about this is that they know that the foundation for which their rules are based are illegal don’t you think. I mean why else worry right? You usually don’t worry about results like this when you are certain of the outcome. Perhaps the manner in which all these leagues operate is in fact anti-competitive and therefore per se illegal. I don’t have the answer. The evidence seems to suggest that the leagues are worried. Stay tuned

Jeff Blair continue to prove that he is one of the best if not the best sports writer in the city. Did you happen to catch his piece on the Dome? It’s a must read for the sports fan:

“Through the late 1990s, after the bloom of back-to-back World Series had worn off, the Blue Jays didn’t own the facility. Coupled with the dollar-exchange rate, it left them poor cousins to most of their U.S. baseball counterparts because they did not have access to the same in-stadium revenue as other teams. And it was that in-stadium revenue that gradually supplanted TV money as the driving economic force in baseball. The Blue Jays have, literally, been playing catch-up all along. And now it’s come to this. Happy 20th, Rogers Centre. Now, the bad news: Daddy’s stopped your allowance. Time to start paying your own way, and the first step is to stop feeling sorry for yourself.”

That is how the story ends, go read the rest for yourself! Blair is here.

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