The Leafs return home from their disastrous three game West Coast road trip and host the Carolina Hurricanes tonight. For those with a masochistic bend, the game is on Sportsnet Ontario in the Leafs' region at 7:30PM. I could throw up some stats but all that they would show is that this team does not score anymore, the powerplay continues to stink, the penalty kill has stopped being decent (even though it's always been terrible at home), and Andy Wozniewski continues to play defence on the team.
Funny aside, on the sitemeter stats I can see the search terms that some people use to arrive here. A combination of Jiri Tlusty and nude pictures tends to get a lot of people but this past week I saw one that was "Andy Wozniewski F--king Horrible". Succint and to the point.
Anyway, here is the official preview which has done nothing to explain the mystery of Make-A-Wish. The preview also notes all of the injuries that the Canes have suffered, the current flu ravagin the team, and the 2-5-1 record in their last 8 games. Or, as Leaf fans know them, reasons why the Hurricanes will beat the Leafs. The site also has a Notes section which is pretty darned interesting. It's where journalists get their column ending material without having to attribute it to anyone else. Interestingly enough, The Captain needs two more goals to become better than Rocket Richard. Eat that Habs fans! (Note: that was sarcastic)
MLSE Operation Clean Sweep
Here's a round-up of the best articles of the day on the current crisis (or glorious disaster) at MLSE.
Maple Leaf Blue hopes that Bowman is not too offended, questions whether Fletcher is the right man, and reminds the media that the first step to success for the Leafs is to fire Richard Peddie. Maybe he can be moved to just being in charge of property management and condominiums.
Elliotte Friedman is feeling bad for JFJ:
It’s time to make a decision. These guys don’t deserve this anymore. Make a commitment to them, or fire them. Even if they were jettisoned, they'd probably be relieved.
And it's hard to argue that JFJ and Paul Maurice are not being treated rather shabbily.
Eric Duhatschek thinks that the Leafs need to make the big move and go after Bowman. He gives the rookie GM/former star/GM by committee ideas short thrift and nails the biggest reason that Bowman needs to get the job as President:
No, this is one time when the obvious choice for someone to run the ship is also the right one — Scotty Bowman, who briefly flirted with the Leafs in August, but Monday retreated from remarks he made on Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday and reiterated that his commitment is to the Detroit Red Wings, where he is a senior consultant.
More than anything else, Bowman's presence at the top of the organizational chart would bring an immediate aura of respectability to the Leafs. That, in turn, would help lure other top talent to Toronto.
Especially after this ridiculous soap opera is played out the Leafs and MLSE will need a big name on board to signal that Peddie, Tanenbaum, and the rest of the Teacher's fiduciaries are not involved in the running of the Maple Leafs other than to approve a budget at the beginning of the season.
James Mirtle laments the fact that his colleagues are on this story like sharks on chum:
The other thing Friedman gets into is the human part of this drama, which has become excruciating at this point. Ferguson may have underperformed as general manager and deserve the boot, but no one should have to walk a gauntlet like this on the way out.
Unfortunately in Toronto, firing's play out in the media before they've happened, and one would imagine that takes quite a toll on those involved.
But who can blame them when the Dick Peddie continually addresses the media with his cryptic responses about no changes being on the horizon while he follows the team to the West Coast and talks about understanding the fans' feelings. Sure, he recognizes that most fans want JFJ fired but did he get the sense that we also want him to get the boot? Doubt it.
Lowetide continues the theme of "JFJ is a man! He's forty!" by also noting that ownership is to blame for the current state and that the future depends much more on changes at the top than who is the GM:
As we sit down to dinner tonight, the Toronto Maple Leafs are barbequing John Ferguson Jr on a spit behind the ACC. It is a shameful event which has immediate dividends in that it further exposes a ridiculous ownership and therefore makes worthy candidates gunshy about sending their resume.
Why are only the fans calling for Peddie's head? Even Oilers fans know that the problems start at the very top.
Anyway, put your SPG Guesses down and feel free to comment on the ridiculousness of the situation that MLSE has allowed to develop.