Friday, March 10, 2006

Maple Leafs: "Trade? huh?"

Friday afternoon and Billy Idol's version of "L.A. Woman" is playing in my headphones (yes, at work).

So the trade deadline came and went. I waited to see what the Leafs were going to do before ripping into the current bane of Hockeytown, Earth: John Ferguson Junior.

The article in today's Star pretty much sums it up.

What did the Leafs do? Nothing.

At least nothing of any significance.

When the smoke had cleared on a busy (but unspectacular) trade deadline day, the Leafs had dumped one relatively ineffective blueliner (Ken Klee) and acquired another (Luke Richardson). Pretty much a wash. Oh yeah, and they lost their bench-warming sniper, Mariusz Czerkawski, who was claimed off waivers by Boston.

Um...but what was the point of dumping Czerkawski if they weren't trying to make room for someone? Basically, they just lost a potential skater should one of their regular players go down to injury.

And if you listen to JFjr or Pat Quinn, it's a long season yet to go. They're telling anyone who will listen that this team will make the playoffs.

...or maybe they're just trying to convince themselves.

At the moment, the Leafs are 8 points behind the eighth-place Montreal Canadiens (who did get their hands dirty yesterday - buh-bye Jose Theodore). Assuming Montreal goes .500 the rest of the way, that means the Leafs would have to go something like 15-6.

...yeah, right.

Yesterday should have been a turning point for the Leafs (and every other team with a head on its shoulders). Either bulk up for a serious run at the playoffs or unload some high-priced or useless talent and build for next year and beyond.

The Leafs were clearly screwed by the salary cap implemented this year. They had Ed Belfour's contract weighing them down (not to mention Sundin's absurd price, given the new market). I for one would have forgiven the GM for writing off this first year and going for gold in the second. Rather, it appears that the Leafs are happy to have bums in the seats (not to be confused with the bums on the ice....Jason Allison...I'm looking in your direction...) and no new banners hanging from the rafters.

I could go on and on about the arrogance of Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) and their obsession with the bottom line (being owned by the teacher's pension plan certainly doesn't help), but I don't have the energy.

It would be impossible to have fans boycott games to voice their displeasure. So what can a lowly fan do to get MLSE's attention? Well, for one thing I can promise you this: the day all Leafs games are only available through Leafs TV is the day I stop watching and start cheering for another team. I shit you not. That day is coming, folks. The template has been set by Manchester United and Sky Sports in the UK. Sure, they may throw us a bone by keeping Hockey Night in Canada on CBC Saturday nights, but there's enough money to be made through specialty channels that MLSE and their investors won't dare pass it up.

Anyone know where I can buy a Sabres jersey for a decent price?

"We've seen a number of teams the last few years, Calgary the latest example, which just get into the playoffs, then get hot, receive tremendous goaltending and solid two-way play from the team and turn it into something special."
- Moron General Manager John Ferguson jr., forgetting that his team has neither hot goaltending nor the capacity for two-way play (that requires defence, you idiot)

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