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FTB - Diversification

So it looks like MLSE is looking to expand it's sporting empire to Yorkshire. As a soccer fan, I appreciate the fact that MLSE has decided to go with Leeds for a simple reason: their fans HATE Manchester United. If anyone could make the scouser's hatred for the red half of Manchester it would be Leeds' fans.

For TFC this could prove an interesting partnership. After losing to Doncaster Rovers in the League One playoff final and failing to gain promotion to the Coca-Cola Championship (one step below the Premiership) Leeds will remain in the third tier of English football for at least one more year. For a club that was in the Champions League semis in 2000 this is a long way from their previous highs but for a club that has almost been disbanded because of massive debts it's one more step towards consolidation. Depending on the details of any possible deal it could provide TFC with players during the summer while Leeds are off or it could see players going the other way. There are definitely a lot of avenues for interaction between the two clubs.

However, as a Leafs' fan I wonder why the need to diversify at this point in time. I understand that each club has its own managerial group and operates essentially as an independent club (in theory) but any purchase would involve a lot of time and effort on behalf of the board specifically Dick Peddie. Especially in light of the Panthers' refusal to allow the Leafs permission to speak to Joe Nieuwendyk (perhaps akin to some of the scenarios that were floated on Friday). While the process takes time and most fans understand that we'd also rather not see other commitments taking time away from the organization's most important hiring.

Onto some links:

  • Eyebeleaf doesn't think things are so rosy down on the farm. The biggest shock, I agree, is that Harrison didn't get any time with the big club. My guess would be that it was because he couldn't clear waivers if he had to be sent down which is the same reason Jeremy Williams didn't play in the playoffs. Hopefully Harrison can be convinced to stay with the organization for at least one more year.
  • Cox Bloc comes back...with baseball? At least it's nice to know that it's not that the Toronto media picks on the Leafs. They have no idea what they are talking about with baseball either.
  • Steve unearths why the Sabres had such a great drafting record (pre-2004) and it is a simple blueprint that the Leafs could follow: Spend Money.
  • Mirtle has a transcript of Gary Bettman's State of the NHL Union (As per Bush: The Union is strong) but there was a line of questioning that might as well have named the Leafs specifically:

Q. I was wondering if one of your teams were to hire a general manager who, say, stays there for a year and then conveniently moves away to have his friend come in as general manager and he's under contract now, would that constitute collusion?

COMMISSIONER GARY BETTMAN: That sounds like a pretty convoluted scenario.

Q. Not that convoluted in your League. It might happen.

COMMISSIONER GARY BETTMAN: The answer is, if everybody is - first of all, people who sign contracts can be held to them by the other party to the contract. And there's nothing wrong with that.

And if tampering - collusion is not the right characterization. If there's tampering going on, ultimately there are no secrets in this world. We will get to the bottom of it. And I'm no fan of tampering. And when it happens, it gets punished severely.

Q. What is the punishment for tampering at the GM level?

COMMISSIONER GARY BETTMAN: I don't have the constitution in front of me. My guess is it's quite severe. It probably involves, for the club, the loss of significant amounts of money and draft picks. And for the person involved, it could involve fines and it could involve suspensions.

I wonder which local newspaperman had the cojones to take that line of questioning with the commissioner. "Not that convoluted in your league" might as well be code for "You've put yourself into ownership deals before why not this?"