Toronto Sports Media Weekend


Man oh man it’s been an interesting couple of weeks in the whacky world we discuss here hasn’t it?

Here I thought it would be dead around here with nothing to talk about after the Fan re-did it’s lineup & the nhl trade deadline passed. I’ll admit it. I was wrong.

The Maple Leafs threw gas on the fire not so much with the benching of Nazem Kadri but the manner in which they handled it publicly.

I loved hearing the comments on the fan morning show that Shanahan should be fired for benching Kadri.

There was a lot of ranting and raving about the different ways Shanahan should have dealt with Kadri.

The most common thinking was that Shanahan really shouldn’t have said anything and that just should have said that Nazem Kadri was out for a few games with some sort of injury or that he was sidelined for personal reasons.

From my seat Shanahan was in a no win situation.

I don’t believe for 1 second the media would have responded differently if all the Leafs said was Kadri is being sat for an issue that the team was handling privately. The sharks would have smelled blood and circled… So, honestly, the only thing that would have worked with the media was to lie and claim Kadri was injured. Given that this wasn’t the route chosen by Shanahan I can only assume that part of the lesson was the “public stoning” that Nazem Kadri received. Put another way, I personally don’t think Shanahan is as dumb as many are making him out to be.


Best take of the week?

“If anything, Shanahan has been too methodical in his first year in office. You could argue he waited to disassemble the coaching staff, and didn’t pursue the logical end of a rebuild sooner. Stephen Whyno of The Canadian Press noted that in their last 36 games before they met Wednesday night, the Leafs and the Buffalo Sabres were both 7-26-3, and had been outscored by 51 and 52 goals, respectively. Buffalo is closing in on a 100 per cent chance to draft either Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel. Toronto is going to be throwing up prayers.”

BINGO…Shanahan wears this if the Leafs dont’ get either of the top 2 picks. The quote from Bruce Arthur.

Speaking of sharks and Shanahan.. Did you see the Sharks Doug (I’m the president of the Joe Thornton fan club) Wilson met with seasons ticket holders this week? The issue of the teams’ performance and plan came. The session was described:

“Our commitment to what we were going to do was going to come with pain,” Wilson responded. “What I did last summer, I told you exactly what we were going to do — that we were going to rebuild, that we were going to rebuild the culture and that young people were going to play.”

Wilson talked about his ability to both accumulate draft picks and clear space under the salary cap by moving veterans over the past two years.

He stressed that transition periods take time, pointing to elite NHL teams such as the Chicago Blackhawks, who missed the playoffs 10 of 11 seasons before becoming the powerhouse they are today. Not that his plan called for that, of course.

You can read more about the session here.

Wouldn’t it be nice if Shanahan were as transparent about the Leafs as Wilson is/was about the Sharks? Do you think that not being this candid has hurt Shanahan’s reputation with fans and media?

I think you can be honest about what it is going to take to improve while not suggesting you lose on purpose.

Speaking of Ron Wilson:

“My experience was basically difficult, because I never felt that Nazem ever listened to me”

Can someone who is close to Wilson tell him that he is damaging his reputation with each and every media appearance. While fans love hearing the gossip and innuendo that goes on in locker-romms it really should stay there and a former coach shouldn’t be the one spewing the type of things Wilson has been sharing especially in Toronto. I don’t care if everything he has said about Kessel, the Leafs or Kadri is true or right, Wilson knows better. Maybe Wilson just doesn’t care anymore. Or maybe Wilson has realized that the odds of him ever coaching again is zero so it doesn’t matter what he has to say. Well, from my cheap-seat, it’s this stuff that people will remember him for; throwing his former players under the public bus. What a great coach.

What will it take to settle things between those that love the analytical side of hockey and those who don’t?:

“the biggest problem facing hockey analytics is their presentation. And the fault for that lies not with the fans but with the presenters.”

That from The Hockey News.

I happen to disagree with article. I don’t think all fans want as much information as others do. I think there is a strong group of fans who are really interested in the #’s side of things. I think it’s great. However, I think there are many fans who simply like to go to the games or watch them on tv. There are fans who really only care about the simple stats, wins, losses, goals and assists. There’s nothing wrong with that. They have as much right to be fans as anyone who is well versed in the new world of hockey math. I’m not sure any clearer presentation is going to change that. It hasn’t in the other major sports and they seem to get along okay.

Lastly, It’s been a very good run here on this site for me and others who write here. I haven’t blocked any comments nor have things gone to the depths where other websites have. This past week things got out of hand, personal and hateful. The worst part it all started on information that was flat out wrong. It’s the type of content I don’t believe in and won’t allow.

Happy Monday


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March 15, 2015 10:46 pm

Don’t really have any thought on Wilson vs. Thornton but I think it is a safe bet that STUPIDLY he will probably be sent to Toronto. Probably Dion Phaneuf heading other way but marriage seems to be heading to divorce with Wilson and Thornton.

Assuming Kadri did more than just oversleeping, I applaud the Toronto Maple Leafs for taking a stand with him. My concern though is why have this ‘tough love’ when the season was already toast? Why wasn’t this ‘tough love’ back just before Christmas? Kadri’s as good as gone, as well, this summer. Don Cherry’s a bonehead for suggesting that “Kadri will be gone in two years!” Way to go out on a limb there, Don! Team stinks, has had 3 collapses of epic proportion and the team has stated that it will go in a full tear down rebuild. Way to go “Genius!” I guess “that’s why we listen to you every Saturday night, right?” #FireDonCherry

March 16, 2015 1:04 am

I don’t think Ron Wilson cares if he coaches again in the NHL, so he is lighting all the old bridges on fire, and doesn’t give a crap.

I like analytics, but what I don’t like is the whiny, foot-stomping righteous attitude that most of the advocates use.

The Thornton/Doug Wilson feud is interesting. Where else does the employee have more job security than his boss? I hope the next CBA eliminates no trade/no move clauses.

March 16, 2015 6:47 am



Peter Ballantine
Peter Ballantine
March 16, 2015 7:53 am

The media skipping Nonis and jumping right to Shanahan (who should NOT receive ANY BLAME!) is just unbelievable!!!

The question still remains; why is the pathetic T.O media* so scared to blame Nonis??? #nonismafia

*Mirtle (again) being the lone, great exception.

Steve Jones
Steve Jones
March 16, 2015 11:13 am

I personally think it was time for Kadri to get the personal wake up call. They all but said directly he’s been talked to in the past and and obviously he didn’t respond. If this doesn’t work then they know what they have and they can proceed accordingly. Coddling a problem child never works.

As for Shanahan I still don’t have any sense for what his capabilities are. I don’t understand why he fired two assistant coaches. I don’t understand why he fired the coach and installed Horachek in his place. Was it because he came to realize the roster was flawed and the season was a throw away. If so why can Carlyle? All he did was make the new guy look like an incompetent buffoon. For Leaf fans it’s going to be a long road back and it could be 2-3 years before anyone has any idea if Shanahan has any ability to affect positive change. The one thing I will be interested in is off season acquisitions. Will he run an undercap young roster in an attemp to build for the future, or will he go after some larger signings to try and remain somewhat competitive. Time will tell.

I have to disagree TSM with your take on Wilson. Everyone complains when sports personalitys give rote, vanilla answers. Then when they throw out a real thought they get called out. Wilson didn’t say anything on the way out the door, he waited years. Additionally his comments weren’t vitriolic, he simply stated his belief that Kadri didn’t listen. Seems to me was just being honest based on the Leaf actions. And what he said was really no different than what Shanahan had to say, at least in context. So seems to me you’re splitting hairs if you call one out and not the other.

I have to admit I am mildly entertained by the analytics discussion. As an analytical marketer who was talking big data back in the ’90’s I have always seen the value of more information. You just have to know which bits are important and which bits aren’t. You also need to know that the numbers are never going to give you the 100% answer. Qualitative variables always come into play. So with this understanding I see how numbers can help add dimension to player analysis. But those same numbers can also be skewed and used to support fallacies. Which is where the qualitative side comes in. Are a guys possession numbers better because he is playing better, or because he is playing with better line mates. No doubt as the data pool grows and the algos improve the math will more accurately predict success. It’s going to take some time to perfect. Even then it’s only going to impact decision making on a certain amount of players. What intrigues me is the whole. Can the math predict optimal roster selection based on a specified player pool.

Little Tony
Little Tony
March 16, 2015 4:08 pm

People seem to think this will be a 3-5 year rebuild in Toronto. Fact is, there is absolutely no guarantee they will be anywhere in 5 years. The Leafs could still find themselves in the basement.

I am not sold on Shanahan. He has zero track record, and as we all know, one ice skills do not always equate to good management or talent evaluation skills. Time will tell, but I don’t think they have done anything to justify optimism that they can turn things around. I would not count on any significant help in the free agent market. The current CBA now lends itself to teams resigning their young stars long before the become UFA’s. Any you are likely going to have to overpay any who do reach UFA status as a result.

Years of arrogance and neglect by the MLSE senior leadership has left quite the mess. I guess it is a good thing guys like Peddie created value with the real estate deals. Otherwise their legacy would be a 100% failure. Because they sure did nothing to be proud of on the ice/court/pitch.

March 16, 2015 4:10 pm

I’m beginning to think that “whacky” is an understatement. From our friends in the MSM drooling while they searched for something negative to comment about the Kadri incident, to some of the new messengers on this site spewing nasty, vitriolic hatred towards various MSM personalities. In the future, I’m hoping this site can be more cautious in accepting those types of comments. One of the many reasons why I visit this site is because it has always been above that.

As for Shanahan and Kadri is, for what it is worth, I am perfectly happy with how it was handled. Kadri is ego driven, so anything that would challenge his adolescent believe that he is beyond reproach, is fine with me. As for the “public shaming” of him, who cares? Don’t people think that everything WAS tried behind closed doors? Now if he is so offended that he has to leave, again, I don’t really care. That would only demonstrate that he is still an impudent child who values himself far higher than what he really is. As Bob says, he’s just a guy.

Let’s give Shanahan a little air, here. He has only been on the job less than a year and, admittedly, he has a great deal to learn. He is also not perfect. However, for the first time in almost half a century, we have someone in a position of real power who seems to get it. Name the last person in the organization who we could say that about? This is a team that has never advanced more than two rounds in the playoffs.

Perhaps he knows how to, at least, improve on that.

March 16, 2015 6:01 pm

Ron Wilson sure has a lot to say after hiding under a rock since his leaf years. He has no desire to coach or probably has been turned down so many times he’s figures f*** it. I’m sure former players and coaches see him as a bit of a turncoat now spouting off as he has. Not that I prefer he be painfully boring but some of the stuff he has said shouldn’t leave the locker room even after you leave the game. Reminds me of canseco when he wrote his book. Who by the way has said repeatedly how he regrets what he said and revealed about fellow team mates, coaches etc. it’s just a desperate attempt by Wilson to get attention using players as items to toss under the bus. Quite sad that this is his best idea of establishing himself with his new ‘media’ gig.

Steve Jones
Steve Jones
March 16, 2015 8:26 pm

Turned on the Caps Buffalo game on SN. It’s a pick up of the NBCSN game. Play by play is Gord Miller, a TSN employee. Given the rivalry I find that funny. A TSN employee on SN. Plus I like Miller so it’s nice to hear a good call.

Steve Jones
Steve Jones
March 16, 2015 9:29 pm

Sorry, no intent to live blog TV but the segment with Strombo, Kypreos, Friedman, Cox on the beach. On the beach? Really. Just amazingly awkward. Plus 3 guys in suits and Strombo in black skinny jeans and black skinny shirt. Does every Rogers meeting start with “wouldn’t it be cool if”. Man are they trying to hard. It’s becoming laughable. No it’s totally laughable.

And someone please coach Nick what to do with his hands. Ot at least give him a mike to hang on to. The other guys got one. Is the budget that busted?

March 16, 2015 9:36 pm


Gord has been doing work on NBCSN for quite some time now since TSN had the rights. NBC is the national rights holder in the states. By crtc rules when a Canadian broadcaster is picking up U.S programming it must use a Canadian signal to re-distribute the content I would assume this is so the Canadian broadcaster can collect the ad dollars. Gord is not actually working for Rogers, he is just simply on the network that Rogers is picking up via over the air signal. Gord is still with TSN.

March 16, 2015 10:03 pm

That’s why it’s funny.

March 16, 2015 10:43 pm

Great journalism. You put down a group of hockey fans and in the very next paragraph complain about derogatory comments on your site. Sorry some of us simple people do not get all excited about your advanced stats; but thank you for giving us the right to still be fans. The next time my nephew gets out his calculator to tell me how a good a player is he has never seen play, I’ll remember your article.

Mike S
Mike S
March 17, 2015 1:34 am

Interesting decision by 1050 to not send Jonas Siegel on the Leafs western Canada road trip…………..I realize the season is a write-off but it’s not like there is any lack of news around the team these days

I guess TSN already had Mark Masters with the team so they didn’t need Jonas there too……….the only reason why I am a bit surprised is because I don’t remember Jonas missing many Leafs games over the last few years

March 17, 2015 7:28 am

Keep up the the great work to all those involved in the upkeep of this blog. Don’t let the negativity get to you. The internet is organized to allow morons to post as often as the geniuses in our society. Thus, you get some brilliant posts and well, some not so. Others hide while others troll. Some make personal attacks without any evidence of you or the situation. That being said, when others personally attack, if they cannot engage in a formal dialogue, just ignore it.

Peter Ballantine
Peter Ballantine
March 17, 2015 5:09 pm

@Drumanchor Wow! Congrats on having one of the dumbest posts on this website!

First of all “just a guy” is the most IDIOTIC phrase ever and I hope it gets launched out of a canon with it’s originator Bob McClown.

LOL at Kadri being just a guy. He’s an elite offensive producer in the NHL that’s currently producing at the same rate per 60 mins as some clown named Kopitar. I guess he sucks though, right?

Again, stupid T.O media brainwashing goofs like this guy to trade stars away. Just like Steen. So sick of these morons.

March 18, 2015 1:05 am

Hi Peter. Please, don’t beat around the bush and let everyone know how you really feel.

An “elite offensive producer” with 36 points after 66 games? I just don’t see that one.

March 19, 2015 7:04 am

Is Kadri Elite? Like Eli Manning-elite?


March 19, 2015 7:56 am

Only a Leaf fan could find a way to use one stat to elevate their player to a stratosphere beyond their player’s potential.

I really hope Peter B. was saying it jokingly. Really, you’re comparing Kadri to the “clown” Kopitar.

Wait, you’re right!

Both of their last names start with the letter K and the play in the NHL. Very few similarities being that, Peter!

March 19, 2015 7:57 am


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