I was over at a friend's place watching Game 5 of the Habs and Sens (he's a big Habs guy), watching their season come to and end at the hands of a much "worse" team. Being a Leafs fan, I'm aware of a great many people who over-exaggerate every single problem we have (Phaneuf missed a hit? TRADE HIM!!! Kessel shot wide? BURKE IS A MORON!!!). But I'm not here to trash certain Leaf writers and moronic Leaf fans (which I can do at great length), but rather to point out something my friend's brother said. With the Habs trailing by a large margin and no hope for a comeback (they aren't Boston), we started talking about the off-season, what the Habs should do, who they should move, etc. We talked about how great Subban and the rest of the young D core is, how the Gallagher and Galchenyuk are going to be great players for years to come, and the goaltending. My friend, Matt, suggested getting a more reliable backup instead of Budaj. To his credit, Budaj looked pretty bad in that game and if Price went down, he wouldn't be a good option. His brother however started talking about how terrible Price is, and how they should trade him. When I who they should bring in, he suggested "anyone".
Firstly, as a Leaf fan who had to endure last summer's endless goalie questions, I have to say I was fairly upset when he said the Habs should get rid of Price. I was sold on Reimer when he first came into the NHL, and I was all for giving him and Scrivens a chance to run with the starting job (I really like how things played out, and what a class act Scrivens is. I hope the Leafs hold onto him). I was extremely excited to find out we had a quality starting goalie, which is a sad thing to be happy about. Price has been great ever since he started with the Habs, and will be for a number of years. Having to hear you aren't happy with Price's performance is very upsetting to a person who had to watch Vesa Toskala start for his team.
My next point to him was simply: "Who?" Who should start for the Canadians? His answer being once again "anyone". When I pressed him for a name, he couldn't come up with one and settled for "I don't know, anybody who isn't Price".
Now you may be thinking this guy might just be an idiot, and he is, but there is a point in all of this. He was (unfairly) critical of his team's player, and thought he should be replaced. But the simple fact is there wasn't anybody to replace him with. What, the Rangers are going to deal Lundqvist? The Predators are ready to get rid of Rinne? The only person who is acquirable is Luongo, but that contract is too heavy, especially with the cap lowering. The fact of the matter is Price is far and away the best option in net for the Canadians, and despite his poor play of late, he doesn't deserve to get traded or bought out.
My point is that if you think a team needs to improve, that's only half the battle. You need to know WHO they can be replaced with. If you're an idiot and think the Leafs should deal Phaneuf, fine. But what do you think they should try and get back? More importantly, who? Will they be able to fill Phaneuf's spot in the lineup? Gardiner is far too young for that responsibility, while Gunnersson and Franson (who I like a lot) aren't good enough, so you need to get a #1 defenceman back (which if you think we should trade Phaneuf, obviously you doubt his value, which means by your own logic no team would trade a good defenceman for him). Also, he's the captain. Yes, you can name another captain, but it isn't that easy. A captain is the main voice in the dressing room, while someone might step up (*cough* Lupul *cough*), he might not get everybody's attention, and may not be able to be "that guy".
The main complaint I hear is that the Leafs need a #1 centre, and another top-pairing defenceman (something that I agree with). But enough of what, and more who. I want names. I want an actual answer. If you don't like Bozak, think of someone who can replace him. Vancouver is going to be cleaning house, and it will be very interesting to see what happens there, especially with the Luongo contract. Is Bieksa available? Is Ryan Kesler available? Both those guys on the Leafs would fill huge holes, and would solve the need for a top centre(ish) and another top defenceman to take the load off Phaneuf.
My point is if you think the Leafs (or any team) needs to get rid of a player, that's great. But please come up with a solution. If you can't think of a solution to a problem, stop complaining about it, you're not making anything better, you're just highlighting that things are bad. And as Leaf fans, we know bad. Trust us, our starting goalie used to be Vesa Toskala.