In his latest post MF37 uses an interesting article from a Portland columnist to examine the coverage of the Leafs' head man Richard Peddie and the senators' owner Eugene Melnyk. You can go a step further and look at the difference within the reaction to the Fletcher announcement.
The following articles report that Fletcher is staying, explain the reason behind the move, and look at what candidates might become available:
- Lance Hornby (Toronto Sun)
- David Shoalts (Globe and Mail)
- Paul Hunter (Toronto Star)
- Jeremy Sandler and Michael Traikos (National Post)
These also made mention of the fact that the Leafs are continuing their efforts to create a top class front office with a new Director of Player Personnel being the next peron to join the team. And of course, analyzed the possibility of Darcy Tucker being bought out.
Then, and it's no surprise that it's the article that MF37 linked, there was the gem of an article that served to fulfill the papers crazy quota. Now, a lot of the anti-Leaf fans or bandwagon fans will have trouble understanding how we in the Barilkosphere can slam Toronto writers when they are slamming the Leafs. Their argument is that the Leafs are bad so what the writers say must be true so how can we be upset? It's not that we are upset that they are criticizing the Leafs but that they are either focusing on the wrong issues or that they are being deceitful and intellectually dishonest.
Take that article and you will see how it highlights Damien Cox's refusal to do any critical thinking and his constant shifting of goal posts with regard to the Leafs:
fter 41 years of losing, the Maple Leafs have concluded after a five-month search that there is not a single person out there qualified and available to run their glorious hockey operation.
Nobody in the entire hockey universe.
So they've decided to make it 42 years and look again next summer.
In an announcement that will come later in the summer the Leafs are going to let the league know that despite the fact that it was a rebuilding year anyway they aren't going to ice a team for the 2008-2009 season.
Five years ago, of course, it was quite acceptable for Richard Peddie to wait until late August to hire a complete novice, John Ferguson, as general manager.
Today? Suddenly, only the very best will do. Conn Smythe himself might not qualify.
Five years ago the Leafs, rather than wait for a great GM, took a chance on Ferguson. They learned from their mistake and are more focused on finding the right GM than a GM. Of course, in Cox's world this is stupid. And Conn Smythe not only built Stanley Cup winners but he was local so he would probably at least get an interview.
So while the headlines today will note the fact that Cliff Fletcher will be GM of the Leafs through the 2008-09 season – oh gosh, aren't we all shocked? – the truly important news is that Peddie will remain as team president.
Yes, Peddie will be the President but only until he finds the great President that the Leafs' deserve. Listen, we all hate Peddie and think he should go but he's actually trying to find a superior replacement so we're going to get our wish. In the meantime, he's given Leaf owners ridiculous profits so he'll stick around but as has been clear Fletcher is running the show.
When Ferguson was fired in late January, the unpopular Peddie, the man who wrote off Ferguson as a "mistake" last season well before he was canned, the same person who said recently the team was putting together a "management team for the ages," was supposed to finally be rinsed from the hockey situation for good.
The Leafs are taking steps towards fulfilling that pledge. In Cox's world that is dumb because they should just fill the vacancies with the first warm bodies that stumble into the ACC.
Even yesterday, you can imagine that Richard the Great-In-His-Own-Mind angered, oh, a dozen NHL owners by publicly announcing that those GMs with a year left on their contracts – Brian Burke, Doug Wilson, David Poile, Darcy Regier, maybe Ken Holland – are in his mind free agents-in-waiting.
This is basically tampering with the entire league.
No, it's not tampering. Peddie himself has said that the Leafs have done everything by the letter of the law. This is no different than teams adjusting their cap situation in order to take a run at big name free agents.
Underlying it all, of course, is the arrogance that assumes all would prefer to work for the Leafs rather than their current employers but are simply inconveniently tied up by existing contracts.
Isn't that what all of your colleagues are saying? That Burke wants the Leafs' job but that he's tied up with Samueli? And isn't odd that Doug Wilson won't confirm that his contract runs for more than a year or that every time the Leafs' opening is mentioned a source close to Rutherford and Holland intimate that they have out clauses written specifically about the Leafs? Not to mention, the Leafs' job is actually better than almost every other one especially after looking at the autonomy that Fletcher has enjoyed thus far. Great financial rewards, massive media attention, and the potential for ever lasting glory all sound pretty good to me.
And what if these GMs all re-sign with their existing teams? What if the Boston Bruins decide a year from now that they want Burke, knowing it's was the geographical proximity to his children in the Boston area that made him interested in the Leafs in the first place?
Do the Leafs then wait another year? Do they wait five years until an angel descends from the heavens and anoints a chosen one to operate this Edsel of a hockey team?
Holy crap! Someone get on the phone to the Leafs and tell them that some of these guys might re-sign! They in no way possible could have thought of that themselves and accounted for it in their plan.
Of course, no scenario would please Peddie more, because then he'd be able to continue as president for an even longer period.
i think that at this point Peddie has shown that he has realized that people hate him, no one wants him in the job, and his life would be better hiring the best person possible to replace himself. You can say a lot of bad things about Peddie and they would be true but hiring the best President rather than any President would not be one of them.
But by keeping Peddie and Fletcher at the helm, the Leafs have essentially told their customers that the future has been postponed for yet another year. Leaf fans are used to being treated as morons, but this is a new level of insult.
Damien's head must be a scary place. Essentially, what the Leafs have told their customers is that they have a great hockey mind in place that has full rein to improve the team. He has already hired a great coach, he's moved out unessential parts for more draft picks, from what I've heard from a friend he'll not only get Kulemin over from Russia but Vorobiev as well, and he's continually looking to improve the team by whatever means possible. In Cox's world the Leafs will now make absolutely no changes until next summer. They might not even use their 7th overall draft pick.
A new management team would have enjoyed a honeymoon period. Instead, expect there to be a mean, nasty atmosphere from training camp on next season as even the most accepting of Leaf supporters begins to clue into the fact they've been played for suckers again.
That's weird because the sense I get is that Leaf fans are excited about having Ron Wilson in the picture, that they are looking forward to the real changes that will be made, and the injection of youth that the new season will bring. For a bunch of suckers Leaf fans have actually been able to create a pretty strong movement towards change.
Unless Burke suddenly pops free next month, it's the Peddie Show for another year. Probably much longer, as the Leafs take dead aim at an even half-century without a Stanley Cup.
The Peddie Show got cancelled. It's the Cliff Fletcher show and so far the reviews are pretty positive. And of course no article is complete without a second less than clever 1967 jab.