Do The Leafs Need To Apologize?


Every since Mrs. TSM dumped her coffee on my last laptop I’ve switched to using Chrome as a browser. Love it. If you have not tried it, I recommend it.

The media, specifically those who have caught the wrath of Brian Burke in the past are circling the Toronto Maple Leafs these days. Easy target under the best of circumstances. With the team done for the year, and taking a step backwards in a big way, well the target grows dramatically.

Dave “The Dirtbag” Feschuk writes in yesterday’s Toronto Star that Brian Burke and the Maple Leafs owe fans an apology.

“Clearly there’s a more appropriate message to the people who care about his hockey club. It starts with, “I’m sorry.” And it does not assume forgiveness, let alone employment until the Winter Classic.”

Now, just because Feschuk says Burke should do it, doesn’t mean that we Leaf fans agree or even think one is owed us.

What’s more interesting than the issue itself is the response the article got from the National Post. you know the National Post, the paper that employs Bruce Arthur, who got yesterday’s comments to a level we haven’t seen in a long time.

“I’m very sorry that the Leafs (apparently) aren’t heading to the playoffs. And no doubt, well-apprised fans have all sorts of ideas for improving the team’s performance. But when did we, as a society, decide that losing at sports is some kind of moral sin — one that requires public shaming, histrionic lamentations, and the sort of grand appeals for “forgiveness” (Feschuk’s word) that we more traditionally associate with the legacy of Indian residential schools? Feschuk informs me that a pair of Leafs gold-section season tickets cost $16,000 per year. That’s a lot of money. But anyone who pays that price isn’t “owed” anything — except the right to be admitted to the arena and watch 60 minutes of NHL hockey.”

You know how much I love when non business or legal guys start writing or talking about those issues. Equally, I love when non-sports guys start writing about sports. I happen to like Kay’s work, but honestly, he should stick to what he does best.

Having said that, while I agree with many of Kay’s points, I think he’s missing the bigger picture. Those who pay for seasons tickets for Leaf games isn’t representative of all leafs fans. I don’t however thing that fans are owed apologies as much as I think they are owed the truth. So I don’t think that Burke needs to say I’m sorry as much as I was wrong.

“I am not interested…in a five year rebuild like some these teams have done. Maybe because of my age, maybe just because I know it doesn’t have to be five years because it wasn’t in Anaheim. And I am not interested in a five year rebuild here. ”

“I like the group that finished the year, I think just on internal improvement we will be better. I think we will be good enough with this group and a couple additions to say in training camp that the playoffs are a reasonable goal.”

Burke said those things in April of 2010.

Last year was not much different:

“I believe in this group,” Burke said during his end of season media conference. “I think the building blocks we put in place in terms of the defence, the way the top-six (forwards) rounded out, I do think we’re close with a few additions.
“Whether we can get access to those players or are able to get them remains to be seen.”

While I don’t think an apology is required, I’d rather hear I was wrong. It’s going to take longer than I thought.

The one question I have is despite player changes that are needed who on the management team is going to pay the price for this. At the end of 2010 season Burke called the Leafs strength and conditioning coach Anthony Belza the most important man in the organization. Randy Carlyle keeps questioning the Leafs conditioning. Is Belza going to pay the price?

Time is certainly ticking. One has to wonder whether Burke’s comments at the end of 2010 are coming closer to reality then any of us ever thought.

“I’m immune to fear of being canned,” I’ve been canned, this doesn’t scare me anymore. I’ll either get it done here or I won’t. I’ll join that long list of souls who haunt the building or I’ll be back talking to you folks for a few more years.”

Loved all the comments yesterday on the Arthur/Tebow story. Keep it clean and respectful and we are all good.


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