The Americanization Of The Maple Leafs?


Happy Sunday evening to you all. Mrs. TSM was in NYC with her lady friends this past weekend, leaving yours truly home with the kids. On top of that I decided to let little TSM have 5 buddies sleep over last night. Well, yadda, yadda, yadda, I’ve been up since 5:45.


There are three things I really look forward to Sunday mornings. Kevin Paul Dupont’s hockey column in the Boston Globe, Steve Simmons column in the Toronto Sun and Larry Brooks column in the NY Post. Today, was one of those 2 out of 3 aint bad days.

Reading Brooks has become a little bit like giving myself a paper cut and then pouring lemon juice on it. Self torture.

For a guy who’s been around as long as he is, can you think of a bigger homer when it comes to beat reporters. The guy practically has the pom poms on in each column. I can’t think of a columnist who open cheers for the team he covers more in a column than he does. To be fair, he gives them hell too, but I don’t know of a guy in this town who gives as many pats or cheers on the home teams like he does.

The other reason to love Brooks is his hatred for anything Maple Leaf. Lastly, I miss his but smooching of all things NHLPA and Bob Goodenow. Hopefully as the NHL heads back towards the boardroom (and you know it’s going to get ugly before a deal gets done) Brooks will put down his Rangers pom poms long enough to pick up his PA ones.

Did you catch Brooks rip Phil Kessel in today’s column?

Mature type stuff no? Too bad, I thought his take on officiating was damn good.

Long way for me to say, I missed reading Simmons today.

So, I write a piece on how brutally run the GTHL is and what a joke it is that their leader is whining about no GTHL players on the Leafs and I get numerous emails telling me that they agree with me except that they hate the fact that Brian Burke is “Americanizing” the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Come on now people. I tell friends and colleagues all the time that I have the smartest readers of a blog that covers Toronto Sports Media. People don’t really think for a second that Burke, or anyone else has an agenda with respect to the nationality of his players do they? That’s totally absurd. If Burke could have swung the Kessel trade for say, Rick Nash, you don’t think he would have? Call me crazy (hey I had 6 9 years-olds sleeping here last night alone), but I don’t think a seconds thought is given to where the hell a player is from before acquiring him.

Teams today, in any league need to turn over as many rocks as possible to find talent. The Leafs have a large scouting department, they have too many execs to count, I just can’t imagine that any significant weight is given to the birthplace or nationality of a player. Maybe I am nuts, but isn’t the only team that really plays the geography card all that much is the Habs? I don’t know this, I’ve done no research, but if I were a betting man I would say that a Quebec born player gets acquired before another player of exactly the same caliber only. In other words, it’s only a factor when trying to decided to equally ranked players.

That Burke has acquired what may appear as a lot of Americans I venture to say is nothing other than coincidence. Not only that, but while he is the GM of record, everyone knows that while he makes the ultimate decision he has enough worker bees around him doing all the leg work.

To suggest that there is a buy American philosophy on the Leafs, in my opinion is absurd.

Type at ya on Monday.


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October 23, 2011 10:50 pm

A few stats for your reading enjoyment…

Top 6 countries to produce players that have played in the NHL (All time)

Canada – 4717 – 73%
USA – 916 – 14%
Sweden – 229 – 4 %
Czech Rep. – 191 – 3%
Russia – 177 – 3%
Finland – 162 – 3%
Slovakia – 76 – 1%

Current NHL Statistics ( (From the same top 6 countries)

Canada – 338 – 56%
USA – 140 – 23%
Sweden – 48 – 8 %
Czech Rep. – 37 – 6%
Russia – 18 – 3%
Finland – 19 – 3%
Slovakia – 8 – 1%

Current Leaf Roster

Canada – 14 – 56%
USA – 7 – 28%
Sweden – 2 – 8%
Germany – 1 – 4%
Russia – 1 – 4%

There is no favoritism here.

October 24, 2011 1:50 am

I think you have to also take into account Burke being America,Wilson is bi,the new coaches……I would like to see the ratio based on Burke’s tenure amd transactions..Guys like Schenn,Bozak and a few other Canadians were either Fergy products or Cliff regime, not sure about Gunnerson.

October 24, 2011 8:21 am

I agree about Larry Brooks. I used to look forward to reading his Slap Shots column each Sunday morning. A good combination of insight and humour. It was good enough to overlook the huge Rangers and Devils bias. Now, it is just awful. Pissing and moaning about rule interpretations, CBA nonsense, Leaf bashing. I missed his pre-season column but no doubt he had the Rangers winning the Cup this year. Too bad he had to turn into a bitter old man

October 24, 2011 10:01 am

Heres a look at all the Canadians and Americans Burke has brought in

Total 10

Total 7
The only non North american that Burke has brought in thats on the team right now is Gustavsson

Paul (from Hespeler)
Paul (from Hespeler)
October 24, 2011 1:47 pm

4 of the top 6 paid Leafs are American. Mike Komisarek at $5,500,000 andTim Connolly’s $5,500,000 per year salary are two bad contracts for not top players… both are American. Coincidence, or proof that Brian Burke misevaluated talent and compensation?

Lest we forget American Jeff Finger who’s huge contract was bought out… Yes, Cliff Fletcher signed Finger the summer before Burke officially signed on with the Leafs, it is widely known that during that summer (and fall), Burke was directing Fletcher while trying to get out of his contract with the Ducks. A fact that rarely gets talked about how Burke was covertly working for the Leafs while under contract with Anaheim.

Another Steve
Another Steve
October 24, 2011 2:06 pm

Thanks CAPN2PATCH, from the stats you listed I think we should concentrate on that abnormally high percentage of German(s) on the squad. What is Burke up to with that, I wonder…….(insert ironic emoticon here).

Paul (from Hespeler)
Paul (from Hespeler)
October 24, 2011 2:16 pm

Good point by Steve, but Grabovski was born in Germany as his Belarussian father was working there. His family moved back to Belarus when he was 3, thus, that means zero Germans on the Leafs.

Another Steve
Another Steve
October 24, 2011 2:56 pm

Ach nein! πŸ™‚

October 24, 2011 7:52 pm

I’m surprised that no one called me out on listing the top 7 countries, as opposed to 6. My bad, I can’t count.

The problem IMO is that the Leafs are trying to rebuild from the middle of the pack as opposed to doing it from the bottom and benefiting from high draft picks. They’ve exhausted the goodwill that fans were willing to offer them and now it’s too late and the fans want results.
(is it 7 years out of the playoffs now? Haven’t won the Cup in how long?)

You can argue the nitty-gritty all you want but the truth of the matter is that the Leafs have money to spend, and they will spend it on whatever talent they are {able} to acquire. Be it from whatever nation… it will be more of the same.

I guess truculence is the order of the day for the foreseeable future.

Good luck winning championships with that. Truthfully, the fans in this city are hard done by.

October 24, 2011 8:29 pm

“Well, guess this explosive start means Phil Kessel won’t get chosen last again at the All-Star Game.”

Oh no, what a vicious rip!

Defensive much, TSM?

October 24, 2011 10:48 pm

Don’t much care where the players are from as long as the team wins. I don’t think Burke cares either, he’s said so on many occasions.

I find it bizarre for Quebecers to demand French (or at least bilingual) coaches and players, much to the detriment of the team. I don’t know when they’re finally going to realize that, maybe Jacques Martin will finally make them see their folly! There were better coaches available and they pick the guy that will bore you in two languages. Zzzzzzzzz.

October 25, 2011 10:44 pm

So tsm writes a post kindly letting the people accusing Burke of doing this know that they are insane, and still there are few comments from people arguing it.

Guess the post flew over their heads.

Even pure empirical data is refuted with inane nitpicking, then cherry-picked stats about highest paid players…which means absolutely nothing unless you have a crazy huge bias.

Because Burke stands to gain what exactly by “americanizing”? losing his job due to having a worse team? That’s a best case scenario if this is somehow his motive. And if it’s not a worse team then how is it any different then just building a team with the best available players?

Most ridiculous conspiracy theory I’ve heard in a while.

Steve from Waterloo
Steve from Waterloo
October 26, 2011 1:35 pm

TSM wrote “That Burke has acquired what may appear as a lot of Americans I venture to say is nothing other than coincidence.”

I think there may be some coincidence, but I think the simple fact that Burke and Wilson are highly connected in the US hockey development program likely plays a role.

They have more exposure to, and likely a bit more player info than a typical GM in the NHL does of the best, and more likely, the second tier of US player personnel.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x