Assessing The Leafs and Their Problems

I know, you’re probably thinking “Another Leafs article”, but none of those articles are ever about anything. They are just repetitive rants about different line combinations, or unrealistic advice to GM John Ferguson. So I thought I’d write the truth, something that wouldn’t get Leafs fans made fun of…
Its safe to say this is the worst display of hockey since Mike Murphy was the Leafs bench boss in the mid 1990’s. Plain and simple this is a revenue driven organization that year after year gives its loyal fans a mediocre team filling its line up with a bunch of third and fourth liners. The team we are watching now is the mess created by Pat Quinn when he was our GM by trading away high draft picks for rental players like Doug Gilmour, Brian Leetch, Phil Housley, Ron Francis(not sure if Quinn was GM at that time) and Owen Nolan. The Leafs first problem is of lack of young talent that could have been mature enough by now to play at the NHL level. It’s because of that lack of talent that they must go out and constantly sign “band-aid” players like Bates Battaglia. So maybe Pat Quinn was not a great GM but he was a great coach because he had the respect of his players and staff. It’s sad to say management above fired him to save their own heads from rolling. A team that goes unbeaten in the last 9 or 10 games or whatever it was for a final push at the playoffs is not a team that has given up on their coach. You miss the playoffs by one point you bite the bullet and see what happens next year. Don’t press the panic button by firing a head coach who coached the team to 7 consecutive playoff births. If you fire a coach for not making the playoffs then why is Maurice still coaching. To put it simply, Quinn wasn’t Fergie’s guy.

The Buds second problem is John Ferguson. He does not have enough hockey knowledge to run a team. When Quinn was coach of the Leafs everyone hacked on their defense core and how they weren’t good enough or too immobile. In comes Ferguson and right away he signs Kubina who has a No-Trade-Clause and Gill to help this “unable” group of defensemen. He would have been better off re-signing Cory Cross to a life time contract. Those signings can be considered strike one. Strike two would be trading away a great goalie prospect in Rask before he even played a preseason game for a struggling starter in Raycroft. I’ll let you pick strike 3 : taking a gamble on players like Peca, Lindros, Toskala and O’Neil. Then there’s not being able to trade away mistakes like Kubina or Raycroft. At the end of the day Ferguson doesn’t cut it, he just can’t accomplish anything right.

Problem number 3 is controversial. I highly think Paul Maurice is just not a good coach. The Leafs have no system whatsoever and because of that the players don’t know what to do when they have the puck and especially when they don’t have the puck. Of course Maurice isn’t on the ice and it comes down to what the players do but they aren’t motivated. It’s been almost 2 months of hockey and he’s been saying the same thing over and over again. “We have to stay out of the box, we need to play better in our zone and I liked Antropov”. Good for Antropov but your team is going nowhere but downhill and fast.

Changes need to be made and some heads need to be rolling. Hopefully this article gets posted because it’s just the plain old truth!

5 Responses to Assessing The Leafs and Their Problems

  1. leafy says:

    As far as I'm concerned, there aren't enough articles on the Leafs.

    You make perfectly valid points on the GM and coach, although your comments will certainly rile up several sensitive people on this site.

    Having said that, it's still October.  Since you wrote the article, the Leafs played a very impressive game against Pittsburgh, and have some very impressive youth, unlike 10 years ago when the team was a complete mess with just Sundin and Schneider in the way of talent.

    If the Leafs turn things around, JFJ won't look nearly as bad and Maurice will have redeemed himself.  The jury on this hockey season is still out.

  2. lukeleim says:

    healthy lineup:

    Jason Blake – Mats Sundin – Nik Antropov
    Alexei Ponikarovsky – Kyle Wellwood – Darcy Tucker
    Jiri Tlusty – Matt Stajan – Alexander Steen
    Chad Kilger – Mark Bell – John Pohl
    Kris Newbury – Boyd Devereaux – Wade Belak
    Bates Battaglia – Simon Gamache

    Tomas Kaberle – Pavel Kubina
    Bryan McCabe – Anton Stralman     
    Carlo Colaiacovo – Ian White
    Hal Gill

    Vesa Toskala
    Andrew Raycroft

  3. leafy says:

    Indeed, not a bad looking line-up.

    I would put Devereaux and Gamache ahead of Pohl, but that's just me.

    I like the fact that you put Stralmam in the top 6 D.  He looks as good if not better than Kaberle in his rookie season.

    Hal Gill is valuable at certain phases of the game, such as the PK.  This further shows that the Leafs need to move one of either McCabe or Kubina, which adds an unnecessary $5M to the payroll.

  4. the_next_agent says:

    Toskala was a great gamble, he could be a great goalie, O'Neill was worth it, he was scratched the last 15 games or something and still managed 20 goals and 40+ points.  The problem has been our defensive play.  Everyone knows the Leafs can score, everyone knows that the Leafs are the easist team to score against.  We have so many young offensive d-men but almost no true defensive d-man.  I say we trade some of them and get a defensive d-man.   Some players i would be willing to part with are, Carlo Colaiacovo and Bryan McCabe.  Ian White and Pavel Kubina have stepped up and shown they can handle the extra workload.  The Leafs need to make two trades to fix their problems.

    To Islanders: McCabe, Pohl, Harrison, 4th round
    To Leafs: Hunter, Satan

    Everyone knows that McCabe needs to go, he needs a new team to get his career back on track, while Satan and Hunter would help out the PP and PK

    To Coyotes: Colaiacovo
    To Leafs Boynton

    Boynton would help out on th PK

    The line-up when everyone is healthy would look like this

    Blake       Sundin       Satan
    Steen       Wellwood   Tucker
    Hunter      Antropov    Ponikarovsky 
    Tlusty       Stajan       Kilger 

    Kaberle       Kubina
    White          Boynton
    Stralman     Gill


  5. lukeleim says:

    John Pohl, Hal Gill and Alexei Ponikarovsky to te Phoenix Coyotes for Nick Boynton, Fredrik Sjostrom and the Coyotes 5th-round pick of 2008.

    Bryan McCabe to the NY Rangers for Nigel Dawes

    Jason Blake – Mats Sundin – Nik Antropov
    Mark Bell – Kyle Wellwood – Darcy Tucker
    Alexander Steen – Matt Stajan – Fredrik Sjostrom
    Nigel Dawes – Chad Kilger – Boyd Devereaux
    Bates Battaglia
    Kris Newbury
    Wade Belak

    Tomas Kaberle – Pavel Kubina
    Carlo Colaiacovo – Ian White
    Nick Boynton – Anton Stralman
    Andy Wozniewski

    Vesa Toskala
    Andrew Raycroft

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