Toronto Sports Teams On Different Tracks Coverage Wise


Fascinating watching, listening and reading the Toronto MSMers takes on the Toronto Raptors, Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Blue Jays. Especially so when you consider in the not so distant future all three will be owned by the same bunch.

Let’s see if I get this right:

The Maple Leafs are doomed (save for a few scribes who seem to believe), the sky is falling, the fans are suckers, heck, the team may never make the playoffs.

The Toronto Raptors, who? With the exception of those who cover the team at least on a part time basis, there isn’t a whole lot of coverage. The team is right about where they should be, they compete hard and hopefully they don’t screw up their lottery position.

The Toronto Blue Jays are on the verge of something special. Much like the teams they wish the organization would stop trying to remember they can’t help but find similarities between the pre world series Jays and the current iteration. There is a ton of young talent, some good veterans and the team is on the right track. It’s almost on the verge of media cheerleading.

Did I sum it up about right?

Every paper that I have seen has had the warm fuzzy article about the Jays. Every major writer has written about it. How un Toronto like. An air of, ummmm positive outlook? Fascinating to say the least. The boys of PTS tonight I think were at the dome as long as an NHL deadline day. Each of them must have secretly carrying their Blue Jays pom poms.

I won’t lie, it’s been nice for a change. No one uttered the infamous How Bout Those Blue Jays, but it was uplifting nonetheless.

On the other side are of course our Maple Leafs. I am sure you saw the letter of apology from ownership that’s making its way around the Internets and is apparently in the papers too. I am really interested to see how this is reported on tomorrow. I know the Raptors used to take to a microphone to apologize for a season gone wrong. I am fairly certain this is virgin territory for the Maple Leafs.

I put the link on twitter and it was pretty obvious to me that the fans aren’t impressed. Some found it odd that it didn’t come from or mention Burke. Some seemed to suggest that it’s just more empty words. Personally, I think it’s about time. People complain about the nameless, faceless ownership and while this isn’t exactly all that much, at least it’s something. More importantly, I can’t really think of too many people that didn’t fully endorse or believe in hiring Burke. I don’t think too many people would claim that ownership has meddled in Burke’s work, stood in his way or otherwise interfered. More so, it appears that they have given him a ton of money to hire whomever (and how many ) front office minds he likes to get to the promise land. So, while fingers can point to Burke, I am not sure how ownership is taking the blame for much these days. The screwed up on JFJ, most likely on Cliff but since Burke came to town?

Now it’s time for the real test. Personally, I don’t think too many people care much about what the coach is going to say. He wasn’t here long enough to be held all that accountable. This isn’t his mess yet. However, as someone pointed out, his combined record this season between Anaheim and Toronto isn’t all that impressive.

No, it gets interesting when Burke speaks to the media in a few short hours. Will it be the Burke we are used to seeing, or will it be more like the I just fired Ron Wilson Burke? Will he pick up where the ownership letter left off, or will he be defiant and truculent?

There is as much pressure on the media in the room as their is on Burke. It’s one thing to write things, but a whole different thing to ask them live with a gaggle of fans ready to pick it apart word for word. I would have to say that I would be especially disappointed if the scribes at the Sun didn’t come out swinging tomorrow. Many a rhetorical questions have been asked in print, on the radio and on tv of late, now it’s time to ask them in a public forum.

How long, how far and how personal it gets will be VERY interesting.

Meanwhile, yet another article suggesting a rift between Schenn and Dion.

“In recent weeks, there have been various reports about an alleged rift with Luke Schenn and questions as to why the captain did not attempt to spend more time with Mats Sundin when the big Swede was honoured by the Leafs in early February.”

However, like many of the other articles, it doesn’t appear the question has been asked of either guy. Soooooo, absent some time of answer, we are left with, where there’s smoke…..

I can’t imagine Don Cherry helped his cause or his networks for that matter when he ripped Crosby on his weekly Grampa Simpson Segment. It’s become clear that the new edict in NHL land is thou shalt not criticize Crosby. If you haven’t read this piece on the sushi eating commish, I command you to. It’s really good.

What’s also really good is Larry Brooks’ piece on the leagues protectionist attitude to protecting the kid when it comes to media:

“It always has been inexplicable NBC would have wanted Mike Milbury, someone whose idea of analysis is invariably to dive straight to the bottom and engage in character assassination and attack on an individual’s manhood, as its representative.
But the network never one time flinched until this week, when Milbury had the audacity to defame Crosby, Malkin and the Penguins the way he has built a TV career defaming Jaromir Jagr, Alex Ovechkin, Daniel and Henrik Sedin … uh, maybe there’s a pattern?
The network, and by extension, the league, was fine with years of ridicule and personal attack over its own airwaves, but when Milbury dared to similarly bottom-feed on the Penguins and Crosby in a radio interview, no less, whoa boy, enough was enough.”

I’ll say this, whether or not Milbury’s comments were out of line or not, the league stepping in, in my opinion just isn’t right. The article in MacLeans makes it clear that Bettman is a both a purveyor of good sushi, but also is very smart. Well, he looks both less smart and a lot smaller in my eyes protecting Crosby. Crosby and the Pens should be big enough to either handle it on their own, or to deflect it. I hope the league knocks it off.

Happy Tuesday!


photo from here

About the Author