Right Said Fred

raptorsFreddie P. was right. Back when we were working on his new blog we had a phone conversation he wrote about here. I was feeling a pro-Raptors buzz and he wasn't. This surprised me.

After tonight there are ten games left in the Raptors regular season and we're six games up on the Nets in the Atlantic division. Math isn't my strong suit, but I like the odds we'll win the division for the first time in franchise history. It will mark the first time we made the post season in the post-Vince Carter era and we're looking at potentially being the three seed in the conference. This is all wonderful stuff, but all anyone wants to talk about is the Leafs. Fred said nobody cared about the Raptors and I'm starting to agree with him. We'd like to make the playoffs and maybe win a round or two, but our hunger for an NBA Championship is so dwarfed by our hunger for the Stanley Cup, there's little buzz to be felt.

I'm as guilty as anyone. I root for the Raps, but I pray for the Leafs. I'd love to see the Raps win the conference but I'd die of happiness if the Leafs won the conference. The Raptors are 2nd class citizens in this town and it will always be that way so long as the Leafs exist.

It's a shame, but it's a fact. If Bosh could throw a body check, he'd own this city.

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I'm sorry to say this Mike but this blind allegience is one of the reasons the Leafs will always be mediocre. I'm a Leaf fan too, but I haven't watched one full game this year. I've watched more than a dozen Raptors games though. The only way the Leafs will ever learn is if people stop caring. Then you'll see them scramble to do something different..like build a winning team.

March 31, 2007 @ 3:53 PM

Mike Boon

But Al, the Leafs have recently been pretty big spenders. It's not like we were keeping the payroll low in the pre-salary cap days.

With the salary cap, we're always spending what we can, so it's not like MLSE is saving pennies on payroll. We just don't spend our money wisely, that's all.

I agree there's little incentive to win with a huge fan base and every home game sold out, but we're spending to the max as it is so I don't think we'd see much of a scramble if we suddenly stopped caring.

Will you be watching tonight?

March 31, 2007 @ 5:05 PM


Any idiot can spend money. The question is, "how do you spend it?". But the bigger question with MLSE is are they willing to do what is necessary to become a real contender?

What is necessary? Look at the teams with bright futures. Look at Nashville, Pitsburgh, Anaheim, Buffalo, etc...All teams with strong futures, all of them sucked for years but built their teams up through smart drafting and player acquisition.

The Leafs have been treading water for over 10 years now. What they need to do is rebuild and I mean from scratch and while Poggue is still young enough to be part of it. But, of course they won't do it because they'll lose out on the precious playoff revenues. Well guess what, they're probably going to miss the playoffs for the second straight year and with nothing to show for it. If they were really smart, they'd tank it for the next 5 seasons, trade away any and all commodities, try to get some solid prospects and picks, try for Tavares when his draft year comes up and build a team that won't just threaten to make the playoffs, but a team who will become a perennial Cup contender for years and years to come. Just like Detroit did all those years ago, (they're about ready to do it again) and just like Ottawa and Buffalo have done most recently.

MLSE need to hire a smart hockey guy as GM and let him run the team without interference, just like they did with the Raptors when they hired Colangelo. Of course, in Toronto, everyone has an opinion about the hockey team, even the bigwigs in MLSE and so no GM will ever have total autonomy, which is what will be needed to build a winner. Too many cooks in the kitchen will mean another 40 years of mediocrity.

Our only recourse as fans is to stop going and hope that they wake up and smell the empty seats. It worked for the Raptors, it'll work for the Leafs.

So until they stop doing things like trading away prospects for Yannic Perreault (god love the guy) my new favourite NHL team will be the Penguins.

Sorry for the long comment.

April 2, 2007 @ 10:29 AM

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