Sadness Part 41

leafsGetting slammed by the Phoenix Coyotes last night has me feeling sad. There's no other word to describe it. It was only one game, but it seemed to symbolize a great deal more. My hockey team, the franchise I've rooted for my entire life, sucks.

This morning, when I sat down to recap last night's game, something I've done after every game since the 2002 season, it ended up a eulogy. I eulogized the Maple Leafs' 2007/2008 season, because I no longer have hope we can squeak into the playoffs this year. We're not just bad, we're pretty awful. Here's proof:

  • No team in the NHL has less wins
  • No team in the NHL has played more games
  • No team in the NHL has allowed more goals against
  • Jason Blake is on pace for 7 goals
  • Only Mats Sundin appears to be better than average
  • There are no blue chip prospects in the system
  • There are two back-up goaltenders and no bona fide proven starter
  • Wellwood has no assists, Tucker has only two goals, Bell is still looking for his first, Steen and Stajan appear to be regressing, etc.

If that described your team, wouldn't you feel sad? I fear things will get worse before they get better, and I fear I'll start hoping the losses pile up until dramatic changes are made. John Ferguson wasn't a proven GM when we hired him, and all he's proven in Toronto is that he doesn't deserve the title he's currently holding. He has to go.

I don't remember the last time I felt this down on this team. I'm hoping we trade Mats before the deadline, for his sake and ours. I'm hoping we have other assets we can dish unto others and that we're able to lure the hockey equivalent of Bryan Colangelo. I'm hopeful we give this new GM autonomy and this sadness subsides.

These are dark days in Leafs nation. Lord, give me strength.


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cgirl

And yet I just had to pay almost $400 for 2 pretty lousy tickets to next Saturday's game. On ebay.You'd think if they were doing that badly I would've gotten a better deal. I guess if you're the Leafs, normal models of demand pricing don't apply.

November 26, 2007 @ 3:23 AM

Toronto Mike

In many cities, there's a direct correlation between on-ice success and ticket sales. That forces management to develop a contender because being a contender increases gate receipts.

In Toronto, this isn't the case.

November 26, 2007 @ 8:47 AM

James

Thought this might be useful, and wasn't sure if you've seen it yet. Ferguson tried to fire Maurice. Says somethin' right there, don't it just?

November 26, 2007 @ 2:02 PM

Toronto Mike

It's only a matter of time. Check out Cox's blog: http://thestar.blogs.com/thespin/2007/11/naming-names.html

Naming Names

Ideally, the Maple Leafs would have the pick of the litter, the very best hockey minds in the world clamouring to work for them.

But that's just not the way it is.

Moreover, to get one of the really big names - Brian Burke, Lou Lamoriello - they'd have to wait until June or July, and this thing's going downhill faster than that.

There are quality hockey people out there, available today. Even Pat Quinn, as utterly laughable as that may sound. Then again, this is an organization that brought back Punch Imlach, Carl Brewer, Mike Pelyk, Wendel Clark, Doug Gilmour for second go-rounds, so it's not like the stupidity of bringing back Quinn would be out of the MLSE strike zone.

So who would you get? As a new GM, or president, or coach?

Here's a list of some hockey people to ponder:

FORMER PLAYERS: Steve Yzerman, Ron Francis, Mark Messier, Al MacInnis, Doug Gilmour, Glenn Healy, Tom Kurvers, Steve Larmer, Kris King.

AGENTS: Don Meehan, Brian Lawton, Mike Liut.

COACHES: Randy Cunneyworth, Greg Gilbert, Bob Hartley, Mike Kitchen, Don Lever, Barry Melrose, Pat Burns, Pierre Maguire, Brian Sutter, Craig Hartsburg.

EXECUTIVES: Neil Smith, Mike Murphy, Colin Campbell, John Muckler, Scotty Bowman, Mike Milbury, Bob Murray, Mike Barnett, Doug Armstrong, Jim Nill.

So who do you like? Or is a quality name missing?

Here's the sad part. The Leafs had a glorious opportunity to bring in one of the NHL's best managers, Bob Gainey, back in 2002. Ken Dryden tried to squeeze Gainey into the job, but Quinn, with his own political agenda to advance, blocked it, and the rest is history.

And not very pleasant history.

November 26, 2007 @ 2:15 PM

The Toronto Traveler

Well, it's the case for all of our other teams that you have to improve to get seats...it's really just the Leafs that get a constant free pass.

Pat Quinn, as bad as he would be, would certainly be an improvement on Ferguson. At this point, I just want Ferguson gone. I wanted him gone a few years back when the issue was first on the table and I want him gone now even more.

Personally, I would keep Maurice on and try to go after one of the former big name players to replace Ferguson, so basically any of the first four names off your former players list. If MLSE somehow managed to land someone like Bowman that would be fantastic, but considering the general inability of MLSE to get anything right, I think Bowman or anyone like him is a pipe dream.

But yeah, I agree with you that the Gainey situation was rather disappointing, especially since instead of Gainey we ended up with Ferguson.

November 26, 2007 @ 9:22 PM

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