It can sometimes be tough being a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs although not necessarily because of the losing. It's nothing special. Lots of teams in professional sports, let alone hockey, have gone decades without championships. Lots of teams in professional sports have terrible seasons or even a string of terrible seasons. Lots of teams in professional sports take a long time to fill vacant positions or do so in a fashion that does not conform to the expected norm. However, few teams and their fanbases deal with the unrelenting onslaught of negativity, derision, and personal attacks that plagued the Leafs and their followers. It really is a puzzling situation. With the successful teams in other leagues it at least has a basis in the jealousy that that success breeds but what have the Leafs won? SFA.
Instead of being able to enjoy following our team in peace with a fair and balanced media (which, granted, does not exist) we get deluged with articles telling us that the Leafs are doomed to failure because they hired the head of one division (coaching) before another (GM ie roster development) when it's not even that rare. Or we get treated to unique (in a bad way) coverage that ignores the realities of the upcoming calendar. Or we are pummelled by bandwagon fans that swallow what the media feeds them hook, line, and sinker. Or we deal with opposition fans that resent the Leafs' popularity without an ounce of understanding as to why that may be or what it means to be loyal. Or we are subject to Canada's answer to Jay Mariotti, Damien Cox, who continued his longstanding feud (not that Fletcher cares about this guy or his ramblings) with another in a long line of dishonest articles.
Now that the Cox Bloc boys have gotten out of their, ahem, hibernation I will assume that they are salivating at the prospect of tearing this article apart line by line (it's that bad) but I have just one huge suggestion for Mr. Cox: read a book, preferably a book of great quotations. In it, he might come across the words of John Maynard Keynes which might help to illuminate our dear Damien as to why Fletcher remains at the helm of the Leafs:
When facts change I change my mind, what do you do sir?
Perhaps the words of the Great Emancipator would help explain why the Leafs are not walking the line that Damien insists is necessary:
The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew.
But why allow facts to colour your articles when you are paid to pursue personal agendas in a manner that would drawn scorn if you were a blogger? Especially galling was his Moose-like assertion that the Leaf fell 'well-shy' of a Stanley Cup during Fletcher's time or ignoring that the subsequent dismantling of that team had more to do with the ownership battle than anything that Uncle Cliff did as GM.
Anyway, on Day 2 of the Ron Wilson Era here are some articles to read:
Earl Sleek ponders the departure of Brian Burke and wishes him the best on his trip to the laughingstock Leafs.
Dave Shoalts thinks that Wilson was hinting that Tucker might be done with the Leafs. If he is it will be because of his decision to forgo treatment for his injured knee last year so that he could struggle for the first half of the season. It was a selfish move because he is not as bad as those first 40 games indicated as evidenced by the Old Darcy showing up for the playoff push.
Tim Wharnsby details how Wilson extended the hand of friendship towards the local media. It was promptly spat upon by Simmons.
Moose writes a touching tribute to his favourite hockey player. That proves that I was wrong when I muttered to myself that holy water would likely melt 100% of his human form. Apparently even hell spawns have a soul.
Steve wonders what steps the Leafs might make to move Tucker.
- Kim Jorn wonders how Wellwood managed to eat all of the Leafs' other young players between courses of gravy-dipped donuts and honey glazed hams.