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!