Archive for the ‘Toronto Maple Leafs’ Category

Long time passing

November 23, 2008

If this most recent bit of news is, indeed, accurate …

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Time running out on MLSE’s Peddie

The winds of change are blowing at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd., and Richard Peddie soon may be swept out the door.

The change involving Peddie may not necessarily have anything to do with the impending hiring of Brian Burke as president and general manager of the Leafs — maybe as soon as late this week — but it’s likely. And Peddie likely is on his way out at the end of the season.

Peddie has been under fire for failed sporting decisions — primarily the hiring of Rob Babcock and John Ferguson as inexpensive and inexperienced general managers for the Raptors and the Maple Leafs — and has been put on notice with a changing and more aggressive board of directors. And while he has clung to the job on the basis of the financial strength of the company, there are those who look at failed television networks and other problems within MLSEL and figure the time is right for change.

This won’t happen quickly. Peddie has been a marvellous survivor, but time is running out.

THIS AND THAT

Name to know: Erol Uzermeri, the newest board member of MLSEL, and unlike his fellow Teachers’ Pension Plan flag wavers, isn’t happy just to get a parking pass and dinner at the directors’ lounge. He, not chairman Larry Tanenbaum or Peddie, is considered the power broker on the board and not interested in the status quo …

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then it’s a godsend for the dedicated and beleaguered fanbase of the Maple Leafs and the Raptors.

An unequivical Halleluiah! … should be the Word of the Day, in Raptorville & Leafs’ Nation, if this specific action ever comes to pass, and a coronation ceremony planned for Erol Uzermeri, should he truly be able to clean house at the very top of MLSE.  

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Oh, when will THEY … ever learn?

More smoke & mirrors

June 26, 2008

Make no mistake about it.

The recent goings-on at Bay & Lakeshore (where the headquarters for Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment [MLSE] are located, at the Air Canada Centre [ACC]), are rotten to the core, involving both of the professional sports franchises operated by this organization, i.e. the Maple Leafs and the Raptors.

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re: Maple Leafs

There’s no Wing-ing it with Leafs’ new strategy
If you were to ask Ken Holland, GM of the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings, to identify the quality his scouts look for when it comes to the annual entry draft, his answer would be succinct.

“Skill,” he’d say, just as he’s said it many times before.

Nine teams followed that mantra when it came to making selections with the top 10 picks of the NHL entry draft on Friday night.

One did not.

That team would be your Maple Leafs.

Peddie era continues to linger like a bad smell
Like a bad odour, you just can’t make this guy go away.

From the day Peddie ascended to the power position of having both the Raptors and Leafs report to him in 2003, the hockey club has gone straight downhill. You’d think his bosses might wonder why there hasn’t been a Stanley Cup playoff game at the ACC since 2004.

Instead, he’s managed to survive. Again.

Wilson hire raises red flags
Of more concern, however, is that this might be an indication that Fletcher has grown fond of grasping the levers of power again and intends to keep the job permanently. He denies this, but also said recently that he would not be the one to hire the next Leaf coach.

So the story keeps changing. Hiring an expensive, big-name coach like Wilson certainly isn’t evidence of a caretaker administration, that’s for sure.

If Fletcher wanted the president’s job and would hire a GM, well, that might work. But the original plan, to hire a new president and GM, remains the most sensible plan with the greatest chance of success.

re: Raptors

O’Neal deal a step backwards
Colangelo built the seven-seconds-or-less Suns, but so much for sticking to the vision. The bog-it-down Celtics are the NBA champs. The Suns are ripping to shreds what Colangelo wrought. And Colangelo, in acquiring a hobbled O’Neal à la Phoenix’s Shaq, has chucked the dream, too.

Perhaps even worse, another of Toronto’s perceived advantages – the in-house knowledge of European talent – is moot. Talented Euros aren’t yearning for the lagging U.S. greenback.

“They’re fighting back a little bit,” said Colangelo of the European sides.

The Raptors, by contrast, are doubling back in the direction of the Babcock era, without cap room to yield more talent. Not that Colangelo is about to show up in Dockers, not that they’re a laughingstock. But a year ago the GM was billing his team as more carefully constructed than some disposable fashion. Suddenly his killer wardrobe is looking far more thoughtfully put together than his roster.

Jorge Garbajosa gone from Raptors
“After a long, difficult and sometimes emotional process stemming from a traumatic injury to a key player, it was concluded that parting ways was the best thing for both Jorge and the Raptors organization,” GM Bryan Colangelo said yesterday.

The move ends the lengthy, contentious negotiations between Colangelo, Garbajosa, the Spanish Basketball Federation and its insurance company.

Draft’s just like pant-leg debate for the Raptors
Colangelo, to illustrate the difference, bent over and grabbed the cuff of his skinny-cut trousers and held it next to Mitchell’s ankle. The contrast in the silhouettes was cigarette to fat cigar, and Colangelo made a joke at the expense of the coach’s choice, quadruple-pleated and roomy. Mitchell, meanwhile, was not shy about defending his haberdasher’s handiwork.

“Dude, I’m a big guy. I’ve gotta have some room to let my (self) flow. All my pants fit like this,” said Mitchell. “Those pants Bryan had on, I told him he looks like a maintenance man …”

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This is an organization that …

* Lies through its teeth … habitually

* Is riddled with internal cross-wiring

* Has no legitimate plan in place to ever win a League Championship

and

* Is primarily concerned with making oodles of money for its ownership group.

Step one in the re-building of the Maple Leafs

May 8, 2008

Think back Pilgrim …” to what was written in this space on Feb 16 … 

Mis-diagnosing the Maple Leafs

regarding the process which was needed to set this sorry organization sailing in the right direction, after years and years of being Lost in Space.

Well (pretend you’re hearing my best Ronald Reagan impersonation) … 4 months after the fact, seems like venerable Uncle Cliffy actually agrees with me … as yesterday,

Leafs fire coach Maurice.

Now let’s see just how long it takes for them to implement Step Two.

PS. 100 Bonus Points … and my eternal affection … to the person who can correctly identify the source of the 3-word quote at the start of this blog entry.

PPS. Do yourself a favour and click on the different links in this entry. Juxtaposed … Lost in Space with Strong, free and full of hope … for you, your family and a better future with … there’s lots of time. My, how time flies by, when you’re standing still.

THE problem at Bay Street & Lakeshore Blvd

April 7, 2008

The Leafs and the Raptors are owned & operated by Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE).

Why the Leafs stink
God hates the blue and white — it’s that belief which binds together all those who call themselves citizens of Leafs Nation. On talk radio, in chat rooms, and in sports bars across the country (but mainly in southern Ontario) they share the misery of loving a team that does not give back. Not ever. Their bond is galvanized by the common struggle against forces beyond their control, and by the knowledge that they are hated (vehemently) by fans in Montreal, Calgary, Vancouver and beyond. It’s that sense of grievance and isolation that, in the absence of anything real to celebrate, holds them all together.

The only problem with all this talk of curses is that there are perfectly logical reasons for the Leafs’ legacy of failure. The fact that the Toronto Maple Leafs are a bad hockey club is the inevitable by-product of the laws of economics. Their mediocrity is a design flaw, and it comes down to this: for any business to thrive, it must be obsessively focused on victory. Success must yield powerful benefits and failure must unleash harsh consequences. In the world’s greatest market for pro hockey, that cost/benefit equation doesn’t exist. A gusher of wealth, regardless of performance, has begat 40 years of infighting, a culture of laxity, and a refusal to admit the problem. The Leafs are a monopoly business that has been corrupted by its own market power.
It’s not a curse. It’s far, far worse.

Mandatory reading for each & every one of their fans … who owe it to themselves to digest the whole article.

When a Core Covenant is formed

March 25, 2008

One month ago (Feb 24/08), this is the entry which was written in this cyber space, concerning the plight of the once hapless Toronto Maple Leafs …

Oh Captain! my Captain!

… and, today, this is what the playoff standings look like in the NHL’s Eastern Conference:

7 Philadelphia 86 Pts,  6 Games Remaining
8 Boston 84 Pts, 7 Games Remaining
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9 Washington 82 Pts, 6 Games Remaining
10 Buffalo 81 Pts, 7 Games Remaining
11 Florida 81 Pts, 6 Games Remaining
12 Toronto 80 Pts, 6 Games Remaining

with the Leafs 4 points away from claiming the 8th and final playoff position.

Looking ahead to the remainder of this week’s schedule, it is not entirely inconceivable that Toronto could find themselves sitting alone in the 8th position, with 86 Pts, should they be able to string together 3 consecutive W’s (v Bos, @ BOS, v Mon).

Scheduled Games (this week):
Tue Mar 25 – TOR v Bos, BUF v Ott, NYR v Phi, TBL v Flo
Thu Mar 27 – BOS v Tor, OTT v Buf, TBL v Was, FLO v Atl
Fri Mar 28 – NJD v Phi, BUF v Mon
Sat Mar 29 – BOS v Ott, TOR v Mon, NYI v Phi, FLO v Was
Sun Mar 30 – BUF v Bos

More importantly … is the ‘new feeling’ which has now grabbed hold of the team …

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Surging Leafs come alive (Mar 25/08)

It all just feels different, as though it’s a new season, as though the cloud that relentlessly followed ex-GM John Ferguson was never there …

Sundin to miss key Bruins game (Mar 25/08)
Resilient Leafs ‘staying in the fight’, Maurice says (Mar 25/08)
A bear of a week lies ahead for Leafs (Mar 24/08)
Stajan ready to be next Leafs captain (Mar 24/08)

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and breathed new life into the formerly dormant franchise.

Q1. What have the key elements involved with the Maple Leafs’ resurgence?

A1. (Paul) Maurice points to two factors.

(I) The emergence of Toskala as the undisputed No. 1 goalie … has allowed the team to stay in more games.

“It’s a lot easier getting out of bed with a sense of possibility instead of dreading what could happen.”

(II) … the refusal by five Leaf players to waive no-trade clauses, while seen very negatively outside the Leaf dressing room, was ingested differently inside the room.

That was an important moment … Staying (in Toronto) wasn’t, in my opinion, taking the easy way out for those players.”

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As was said a month ago, prior to the Trade Deadline, there are 5 current members of the Maple Leafs who absolutely needed to be kept together to form the Core Group of this team building toward the future … i.e. Mats Sundin (Captain), Matt Stajan (future captain), Alex Steen, Carlo Colaiacovo & Tomas Kaberle.

Once this happened … in the face of such adversity … the Maple Leafs ‘Core Covenant’ was formed … and, miraculously predictably, this team turned the corner.

Peerless Forecast: The Toronto Maple Leafs are about to make this year’s NHL Playoffs.