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Dead Man Walking

Hockey is just around the corner! After a post-free agency lull stories have begun to pop up, pre-season rankings are being published, training camp is just around the corner, and Damien Cox is talking crap about the Leafs.

His latest attack against long-time nemesis Pat Quinn seeks to absolve JFJ of all wrongdoing because big, bad Patty was too powerful:

Then came last year, by which time it had become clear that Ferguson wasn't going to be able to demand just about anything of head coach Pat Quinn and his staff, let alone a team dominated by veteran players deeply set in their ways. Quinn and his sidekick Rick Ley, for better or worse, had their systems and routines worked out, and while Ferguson's relationship with Quinn wasn't acrimonious, it always had its roots in Quinn's preference for another candidate when Ferguson was hired and the natural unwillingness of an established hockey man to take direction from a relatively unseasoned superior.

What a crock of crap. I guess since JFJ was the GM he was not allowed to buy out some of the terrible contracts that existed. And I suppose Quinn made JFJ sign Berg (AGAIN!), Allison, Khavanov, and Domi (actually, that was Tanenbaum's doing). Despite War's desire to lay the blame at everyone's favourite Irish Catholic coach last year's debacle had more to do with JFJ misreading the post-lockout NHL.

JFJ has done some (potentially) good work this summer to try to make up for past mistakes which is something that past regimes have been loathe to do. Although, let's face it, he pretty much had to make drastic changes because as Cox notes:

Ferguson has no contract beyond this year, and while he won't say it, he has to understand that he'll have no job either if this hockey club isn't a participant in the Stanley Cup playdowns next spring. By December, newcomers to the city may be under the impression that Lame and Duck are the man's first and middle names, so often will that description precede an examination of his decisions.

JFJ has started the long walk to the executioner's chair and the success, or lack thereof, of his key moves (Peca, Raycroft, Kubina, Gill, Maurice) will decide whether he gets strapped in and lit up or if Larry and Richard give him a last second reprieve. Of course, with that brilliant braintrust, we will probably get a new GM this summer and then have a lame duck coach. Round and round we go. When it will make sense? Nobody knows.