My friends, there are many fans in Leafs Nation, and for this we are glad. No other nation cheers like us, weeps like us, celebrates like us, mourns like us, plans parades like us or curses ownership like us. And still, there are areas where we as a nation are divided. Where some walk the path of the Rebuild and others run headlong the sidewalk of impatience and quick fixes. As we will learn today, not every fan is righteous, and not every fan is in the good graces of our GM. As he builds this team anew, there are others who cry out against him because he does not excite them. But who are they, I ask you, to understand the ways of Burke? Who are they to fathom his patience?
It is a desert we walk in, my friends, on this path to the Promised Land. A desert of trials from without - scoring droughts, talent mirages, the shifting sands of power throughout the league. But also, a desert of trials within. The trial of the faithful fan who meditates upon patience in the spirit of his GM. The trial of the hopeful fan who sees opportunity and vitality in this new season. And, of course, the trial of the fans who must put up with people who have absolutely no clue how to rebuild a hockey team. We are wandering in this desert together, dear friends. The patient, the hopeful...and the nimrods.
This is a reading from the Book of Nimrods.
11:1 Now the fans complained about their team in the hearing of the GM, and when he heard them his truculence was aroused. Then fire from the GM burned among them and consumed some of the West Coast.
11:2 When the people cried out to Wilson, he spoke to the GM and the fire died down.
11:3 So that place was called the West Toast because fire from the GM had burned among them, for some reason, probably because Burke hadn't moved his fire since his time in Vancouver and Anaheim.
11:4 The rabble with them began to crave goals, and again the impatients started wailing and said, "If only we had a top six forward!
11:5 We remember the goals we scored pre-lockout - also the Gilmour, the Mogilny, the Roberts, the Nieuwendyk, even the Sundin.
11:6 But now we have lost our goals; we never see anything but this defense!"
11:7 The defense was like sandpaper and looked like a brick wall.
11:8 The people went around discussing it, and how it would grind the opponent in a handmill or crush them in a mortar. They discussed it in offices and on the internet, and it tasted like having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon, wrapped around a large gold brick.
11:9 When the forwards practiced in the arena in the morning, the defense also came down.
11:10 Wilson heard the people of impatience wailing, each at their seat. The GM became exceedingly truculent, and Wilson was troubled.
11:11 He asked the GM, "Why have you brought this trouble on your head coach? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these goals on me?
11:12 Did I invite all these people? Did I give them media passes? Why do you tell me to let them into my practices, as a Flyers fan lets his cousin into his bed, to see the team you promised on oath to their forefathers?
11:13 Where can I get goals for all these people? They keep wailing to me, 'Give us goals to watch on YouTube!'
11:14 I cannot carry all these nimrods by myself; the burden is too stupid for me.
11:15 If this is how you are going to treat me, fire me right now — if I have found favor in your eyes, do not let me face a media that does not understand the meaning of a rebuild."
11:16 The GM said to Wilson: "Bring me several of the media's bloggers who are known to you as leaders and officials among the blogs. Have them come to the Tent of three Ps, that they may stand there with you.
11:17 I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take of the truculence that is on you and put the truculence on them. They will help you carry the burden of the doomsayers so that you will not have to carry it alone.
11:18 "Tell the fans: 'Consecrate yourselves in preparation for the regular season, when you will see old time hockey. The GM heard you when you wailed, "If only we had goals, we were better off before the Lockout!" Now the GM will give you truculence, and you will eat it, one way or another.
11:19 You will not eat it for just one game, or two games, or five, ten or twenty games,
11:20 but for a whole season — until teeth come out of your opponents' nostrils and you love it — because you have rejected the GM, who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, "Why did we ever try to rebuild?" ' "
11:21 But Wilson said, "Here I am among six hundred thousand fans on foot, and you say, 'I will give them truculence for a whole season!'
11:22 Would they have enough if Habs and Sens were slaughtered for them? Would they have enough if all the major penalties in the league were called for them?"
11:23 The GM answered Wilson, "Is the GM's vision too short? You will now see whether or not what I say will come true for you."
11:24 So Wilson went out and told the media what the GM had said. He brought together dozens of their bloggers and had them stand around the Tent.
11:25 Then the GM came down in the Sound Bite and spoke with him, and he took of the truculence that was on him and put the truculence on the bloggers. When the truculence rested on them, they prophesied, each in his own style.
11:26 However, two men, whose names were Feschuk and Grange, had remained in the paper bag. They were listed among the media, but did not go out to the Tent. Yet the truculence also rested on them, and they prophesied in the book.
11:27 A young man ran and told Wilson, "Feschuk and Grange are prophesying in their book."
11:28 Young fans rose up to Wilson, spoke up and said, "Wilson, my coach, stop them!"
11:29 But Wilson replied, "Are you kidding? I wish that all the GM's people were prophets and that the GM would put his truculence on them! As for those two chumps, they'll want to keep those bags around for when we make the playoffs."
11:30 Then Wilson and the Leafs returned to training camp.
11:31 Now a sound bite went out from the GM and drove determination into the hearts of Leafs Nation. It brought it all around training camp, and as far as aany blue and white jersey in any direction.
11:31 and 1/2 "The yardstick for success in this league is playoffs, and when you miss it that represents failure.”
11:32 All that off-season, next day the goal-craving people went out and discussed getting a top six forward, even if it would cost them Kaberle or Schenn. Not one cared to preserve the monster defense. Then they spread them out all around the internet.
11:33 But while the words was still between their teeth and before it could be typed, the anger of the GM burned against the people, and he struck them with a severe dose of reality as well as several crushed teeth and snapped fingers.
11:34 Therefore the impatient ones were buried, because they were unfit for the rebuild in their impatience.
11:35 From impatience, the faithful travelled onward into September.
In Nomine Clarki, et Schennis, et Spiritus Burkus