Commissioner Addresses HTR

This is my first post, though I have observed HTR for now a full season. I am the ‘Commissioner’. I am not the Commissioner of the NHL nor do my comments reflect any ideologies of the League Office. I am simply Commissioner to the game of Hockey as I feel I can provide the insight and objectivity commanded by this position. I will attempt to win your respect by establishing my position on my home town team, the Toronto Maple Leafs. It is also an attempt to thwart your ill-impressions and ridicule of the franchiseThe City of Toronto has suffered TML mismanagement for years, no thanks to the late estranged & volatile Harold Ballard who had majority interests in the franchise through the 80’s & early 90’s. The entire organization lived in fear from Management to the Zamboni driver. The knowledgeable and well-respected Gord Stellick of the Canadian all-sports TV network, The Score, and radio station THE FAN 590, was one of many former employees who just had enough. One of Ballard’s worst antics and now dreaded legacy was his disgust with Europeans. For years Leafs scouts were forbidden to draft Europeans in the entry drafts, fatally passing on young talents like Bure, Fedorov, & Mogilny. With a restricted CHL pool, Leafs scouts embarrassed themselves with a horrific draft record. You Leaf bashers think Antropov was a joke? We had one every year for the past 20 years!!!

This irreversible damage has now been passed on to Steve Stavro who made his fortune on a grocery chain, Knob Hill farms, among other ventures. A die-hard Leaf of humble origins, he fought hard to gain control of his beloved team. In the process he has lost millions in blood money, always channeling his grocer’s profits to his team. Economics & new state-of-the-art supermarkets have finally put him out of business. If you have a front yard, you can understand that it is much more expensive and difficult to plant a 20-yr-old tree than to have planted the seed 20 yrs ago. Stavro’s teams were not very good, but he has been honest to the city about rebuilding a wounded franchise. It has never been a business to Stavro, it was passion, unlike what motivates most of the new owners. Under Stavro’s commitment the 90’s showed promise.

Now TML is part of something bigger & richer – Maple Leaf Sports Entertainment – funded by the ridiculously wealthy Ontario Teachers Pension Fund. Stavro is still in control of the team now with more cash but also more politics. Stavro’s passion remains and the fund managers were quick to recognize two profitable outfits in the Leafs & the basketball Raptors. We may have the money, but we spend reasonably, although the decision-making is still questionable. Don’t forget this is a franchise still recovering from mismanagement. What does this all mean to you? This will give you an idea of TML management decisions and the psyche of TML fans. Like regaining senses after a coma, we regret lost time & missed opportunities; we are confused & disoriented about the current state of League affairs; and we thirst for respect & success. We’ve been basement-dwellers throughout the 80’s. It’s difficult not to be excited about being in the top-third these days!

So it has begun. Although I have a very busy schedule, I can no longer stand the constant abuse directed at my city, my team, and my people. Toronto has suffered enough. Having observed HTR for a year, I feel I am knowledgeable enough to take a stand on this board and challenge all comers. I will even challenge Leaf fans who are abusing the current management team. I do agree that among us Leafs Fans, we have those who are arrogant and/or ignorant. But the business of sports is far more intricate than an average fan could comprehend, myself included. So this is my position. My subsequent post will focus on various off-season decisions made by various teams and non-decisions made by the Maple Leafs.

Those of you who knew nothing about the Maple Leafs, I hope you see us in a different light.


77 Responses to Commissioner Addresses HTR

  1. zednik says:

    Don’t take it personally, You have been viewing the site for over a year then you know why the label of “idiot” has been attached to many Leaf fans. I have no issues with you I happen to agree with many of the points you have made in this post.

    The Leafs did walk out of the 80’s as an expandtion team and it does take time to become a serviceable team the issue I have with that statement is that I look at a team like Ottawa started with nothing in the early 90’s they were a true expandtion team yet when I look at the Sen’s right now I see future: Alfie, Lalime, Bonk, Phillips are young and playing pretty well and still have a few years to get better before their primes are beyond them but they also have many great years of youngsters such as Hossa, Fisher and Spezza to look forward to. Leaf fans can go on about who the Leafs have beat the Sen’s in the playoffs but its getting closer and the Sen’s have alot more in the tank and they will get the long term last laugh.

    So I ask were is Toronto’s future? Boyes is a good player I have seen him play he has impressed me but no more then a Raffi Torres who is struggling to make the big time or a player such as Oli Jokken who was highly touted and is still looking to become a “good” NHLer. resting the future to Boyes and someone who’s career could end with another concussion in Alyn McCaley is a very dangerous thing.

    I am not a Leaf fan, but living in Toronto and working just a few steps from the ACC its hard to escape it so I know a fair bit about the team as well. I think you breakdown of the team was very well done 4 key player etc. The issue I have is the Leafs attacking other teams economically and tossing MOntreal into the pot of small Market teams. I invite Pat Quinn to offer Theodore an offer sheet. You won’t see a bead of sweat come off th head of Andre Savard as he matches it. That is beside the point. As for the Leafs not plotting against the other Canadian team? I don’t think its an issue of good will by the Leafs its more of an issue that five first round picks in the hands of a team that can draft like Edmonton or Calgary would see an end to Pat Quinns as a GM.

    I look forward to the next few posts of yours.

    -Z

  2. nicmich says:

    As a Leaf fan to make a fair trade offer you have to have an idea of what Calgary really wants is it defense or offence? If it is defense then a fair trade would probably be Kaberle, maybe a prospect like P. Svoboda or Antropov and a draft pick. If it is offence then Tucker again a prosepect take your pick (not boyes) and a pick probably like 2nd & 3rd or something like that would be fair for both teams. Morris is a very good young player and will get better but you can’t sell the farm for him either.

  3. DaMick says:

    Sorry Commish….in due respect you posted a decent article explaining yourself & the Ideology behind your faith in the Leafs.

    BUT you must realize the bombardment of idiotic posts by Leaf Fans.

    [aka; Kariya for Cross & Hoglund]

    To just try posting this article & not expect negative reaction…..well was just wishful thinking on your part.

    Obviousily,you know your stuff & ill watch for your posts more often.

    If anything its nice to see a Fan who knows his Team. its easy to see that you DO know your stuff…

    For me..& many people…Its annoying to see one who has no knowledge & make comments .[aka the Kariya rumors]

    Regardless…I still hate the Rangers & Leafs…

    but post on Commish….

    your resident RangerHater & LeafBasher

    DaMick

  4. bluntman says:

    then why’d you read the article if you hate them that much? just asking

  5. bluntman says:

    ok, lemme try this, just one more time. i hope all you leaf haters and bashers are reading this cuz its gonna be quick. all you people say that this article sucked, and the leafs are an club not worth reading about. THEN WHY THE HELL ARE YOU READING IT?!?!? IF YOU HATE THE LEAFS THAT MUCH, WHY DID YOU EVEN BOTHER TO READ THE ARTICLE WHEN THE BUTTON TO THE SIDE CLEARLY STATES THAT THIS ARTICLE IS ABOUT THE LEAFS?!?!?! IF I WERE YOU, I’D GET MY HEAD OUTTA MY ASS AND STOP TALKING ABOUT IT!!!! all teams in this National Hockey League all have the same chances for the Stanley Cup, and that, is that. hell, glory be, the Blue Jackets could be hoisting the cup after their win over the Thrashers in the finals. if that happens you can all then start bitching over the Leafs again. remember, this site is to talk hockey and not who has the best team, until time for the cup

    I’m bluntman, avid Leaf fan

  6. habs_88_4life says:

    It has come across my mind this question, What do you know that everyone here doesn’t ? Are you someone who has studied hockey for the last year and think your smarter than everyone who has known the game for years. Another question that comes to mind if you have been a avid HTR viewer than why didn’t you become a member earlier ?

    Now what I think you are just sick and tired of your fellow leaf fans now your going to try to defend them. I can see it as soon as hockey starts ” Hoglund rumoured to be dealt to Anaheim for Kariya”. These are some of the ridiculous trades we have heard throughout this site and you say they are confused and hopeful. You are partly right they are drunk and hopeful.

    And you are just drunk!

  7. YingYan says:

    After going through this thread i retire my objectivity comment on your behalf mr. commissioner since you seem biased and i didn’t know much about the Leafs as for the last guy comment who is also an anti-Mario dude well saying fans should avoid this thread if they’re not fans isn’t good. The best thing for Leafs fan would be to try to be more objective thus welcoming other fans who would have to accept your positions if they are as sound as objective.

    On second thought saying you’r a commissioner and telling how much you are objective sure fooled me even thought i still think you have a power pen (that should be put to better use).

    ;p

    VIVA EL NHL! Can’t wait for next season!!!

  8. Commissioner says:

    … And replies like this gives me just a bit more insight as to why the annual Grade 6 open exam results are so low and appalling nationwide. It’s heartening to know you aspire to FlyHigh, ’cause with your comprehension and maturity, you will be hard-pressed to GoFar. Excuse me, Trademan, can we discuss the possibilty of openning an HTRjr?

    Thanks for letting me know that “the Leafs suck”. And to think I can just sum it up in 3 words … why did I even bother writing an article? I’d be sure to consult you next time. Would you come up with more witty 3-worders like “Mats Sundin bites!”? C’mon FlyHigh, can’t you see you’re embarrassing yourself?

  9. UltimateB says:

    I have to admire a man who thank his critics. As long as I see some effort in responding to the main thread of comments, I won’t shake the finger of shame at you. Good luck in defending your leafs.

  10. zednik says:

    You have done an excellent job going after people who have posted one line jabs but you are yet to reply to any of the “leaf-haters” that are making excellent points.

    I find this strange? so come on Commish?

    bring it on so the big boys can play too.

    -Z

  11. titans says:

    Wow! Whata long, drawn out, pointless load of crap. On behalf of everyone here at HTR I’d like to welcome you with a big Fu#k You! And a thank you for wasting out time.

  12. FlyHigh says:

    I completely agree with titans post and I pass on his same regards. SCREW YOU!

  13. FlyHigh says:

    Mr. Commissioner, I did pass my 6th grade exam. I’m in 8th grade and my IQ is 140.

  14. zednik says:

    Commissioner,

    I unlike many HTRers was very much looking forward to a challenge that a someone with the knowledge you claim to have may bring. You have really impressed me with the way that you can go after the posters that sting with the one line remarks yet you have been unable to reply to any of the “Leaf bashers” who have made excellent points reinforcing the fact that the Leafs are a poorly run team with arrogant fans. Yoy have done a great job of stating the Leafs history, which I think is admirable because many people don’t know about the Ballard years etc. Very nice !

    but opening with this:

    “I am simply Commissioner to the game of Hockey as I feel I can provide the insight and objectivity commanded by this position.”

    Come on?? In all your follow up posts you have done nothing but state opinion, and refer to some of the posters as sixth graders. Where is the insight I was promised?

    “I will attempt to win your respect by establishing my position on my home town team, the Toronto Maple Leafs.”

    Show Me Show Me Show Me.

    You have shown that you are a Leaf fan in your follow up posts in a way claiming that the Leafs are the best team in Canada economically. You claim that we should love them because they have not tendered offer sheets to Iginla or Theodore. Well on that note you should love Montreal and Vancouver and Edmonton and Calgary and Ottawa for not tendering offers to your type II. . . Oh yeah ! ! Toronto hasn’t had one worth spending five first round picks on !

    So Commish where is my Insight????

    Come on bring it and let the big boys play too.

    -Z

  15. Commissioner says:

    I shall now play with the Big Boys. In this segment I will address the following people and their comments. I appreciate all of your constructive comments and incisive challenges. 1) zednik on comparison to the expansion Senators; the future of the Leafs; 2) UltimateB on the Leafs disoriented course of action; and 3) mikester on Derek Morris.

    1) zednik, as I have mentioned in my orginial article, the Leafs have been in trouble for many years in the drafting dept. I also mentioned subsequently that in the wake of a dreadful draft history, the Maple Leafs are in many ways like an expansion franchise. You then draw the comparison to Ottawa. I must agree with you, since ’94 the inception of the Senators, if I remember correctly, Ottawa is clearly the better organization, from top to bottom, no question. In fact I’ve always seen us as underdogs playing against Ottawa in the playoffs the last 3 years. Unfortunately for Ottawa, experience & grit count in the playoffs, and we were a little better. But the gap is closing!

    Without digressing too much I can provide you with a reason for our poor ‘organization’ performance, i.e. mgmt & product, since ’94. It’s called the CATCH-22 of Sports Economics. Pressure to succeed now vs Investing in the future. Let me elaborate. The Leafs had just made the final four in back-to-back years prior to ’94 under the leadership of Gilmour and no-nonsense preaching of Pat Burns. Entering ’94 the expectations were sky-high. The Leafs had in fact grossly over-achieved, but being the typical Leaf Fans that we are, no one would believe it – not even the team mgmt. The key players were in decline, especially on defence. Ellet, Macoun, Rouse, Gill – c’mon who were we fooling? But Mgmt didn’t see it that way. They continued to spend money & sacrificed our already depleted future on a fading core of veterans. I can’t even remember who we brought in!!! So let’s see … we don’t have any prospects in the system, we’re trading away draft picks for journeymen, and we can’t even draft well with what’s left!!! Yeah it’s even more painful writing it out!!! That’s the Catch-22. Most teams can rebuild, but not the Maple Leafs, and our success in ’92 and ’93 helped to seal our fate for several years. Ottawa on the other hand was just happy to have a franchise. They were really bad for several years, lest we forget. But they did right thing. Expansion 101: Started out with two solid goalies, Tugnutt & Rhodes, so they were just good enough to compete, but not good enough to win, so the fans stuck around. They run a diplomatic business in Ottawa. They pampered their stars just enough to keep everyone happy – even egos like Daigle & Yashin. They protected them like they have perfected their trap defence. It’s difficult to not like what they have done there. I admire their franchise, but it’s too bad I’m a Leaf Fan. So zednik, I guess my conclusion is that I’m not making excuses for the Leafs. We are not in the same class as Ottawa in terms of the Future of the Organization.

    2) Having said that, where are the Leafs going? This is to answer zednik & UltimateB. Still bleak my friends. It’s like over-logging is such a big issue out in B.C. Once you cut away (draft picks, proscpects) it will take years to recover. But we have kept all of our picks since 2000. Our biggest strategy right now, for better or for worse, is RECLAMATION PROJECTS in a two-tier system. Take a closer look at our recent acqusitions and you would see that the leafs are acquiring talents who are either underachievers or damaged goods. Look at Hoglund, Cross, Reichel, McCabe, Belak, Eriksson, Aki-Berg, Belfour, Khristich, Renberg, Lumme, Svhela. Laugh now and get it out of your system, but who’ll actually give you good talent for nothing? They are who I’d call Tier 1 Reclamation Projects, immediate help for the big club: everyone of these guys have been knocked around, or have a checkered past, or retired!!! But they all shared something in common … they cost us nothing except for $$$. These are your so-called Stop-Gappers, until our prospects are restored, we will continue to overpay for average but serviceable talent. And if one of them is a gem, e.g. McCabe, that’s a bonus! Then there are Tier 2 Reclamation Projects – younger forgotten and/or unsigned has-been prospects. The Leafs are hoping their former teams have given up on them prematurely. For example Josh Holden, Richard Jackman, Chris Chartier, Marc Moro, and Nathan Barrett. Again if one of these can graduate to be a consistent performer, it’s a bonus. So this is their plan. It doesn’t look like much, but I agree with what the organization is doing. Obviously a Guerin or an Amonte doesn’t hurt on top of this plan. But that’s another story why they are not wearing the Blue & White. Maybe I’ll talk about it later.

    3) Let me catch my breath. mikester, realistically, we don’t have anythin to align for a Morris trade. We have no “tradable” assets for a Morris or a Brewer or anybody for that matter. The only NHL-ready assets we have are untradable: Sundin, Mogilny, McCabe, Kaberle. The former two because of wages, the latter two because of potential. The only prospect is Boyes, and it doesn’t make sense to mortgage our future for another future. We like Boyes. Draft picks are out of the question – from either perspective. So my answer is we will not and should not trade for Morris. It doesn’t add up.

    Commissioner

  16. titans says:

    Blah Blah Blah SHUT UP!!!!!

  17. Commissioner says:

    titans, are you hearing voices in your head again? You should really have that treated you know. My friend is an Occupataional Therapist, she can help you re-enter society in no time. Oh, unless you’re talking to me … I’m sorry: reading comprehension can be so cruel sometimes. Take your time, I’m sure you can straighten out your thoughts. But expressing yourself in more than five words and stringing together a more meaningful sentence? Hmmm, that could be a bit tricky for you …

    FYI I was addressing zednik, UltimateB, and mikster – those who are knowledgeable enough to have asked me questions. If you have something intelligent to say, then say it! Otherwise you’re no better than the ignorant Leaf Fans who propose outrageous trades – the very same people you despise and abuse! Well?

  18. FlyHigh says:

    Could I pay you not to say anything else? How much do you want?

  19. FlyHigh says:

    What in God’s name is an occupational therapist?

  20. titans says:

    Listen Rookie DO NOT try and match wits with me. You’ll loose. As proven by your unintelligable ramblings above your a complete idiot. Don’t pull the “I’m gonna speak above you to try and make you feel small” routine. Your obviously in way over your head so I’ll give you one last chance to get out of something you can’t win. Give up now. I give you credit for trying to take on the best, but your not in my league junior.

  21. titans says:

    I’ll chip in a nickel.

  22. Commissioner says:

    titans, do you feel threatened? How on earth does a supposed 3-day-old Rookie make a Veteran like you pass an ultimatum? Do you feel threatened? I believe we can co-exist on this Board. You can talk about Logos and Jerseys and New Jerseys and whatever. I can talk about real issues. Yeah titans, you won’t find me in your league! Come back to my posts if you really want to talk hockey! You’re always welcome!

  23. Commissioner says:

    Whereas a psychiatrist might deal with a mental illness, an occupational therapist may deal with a social disorder, related to stress, anxiety, or other mishappenings borne from societal complexities. Inferiority complex is an example. There’s probably some overlap between the two disciplines.

  24. FlyHigh says:

    I think you need one

  25. zednik says:

    That was a realistic down to earth view of the Leafs. I agree with almost everything that you have said.

    I think the Leafs do get very little credit for their “Tier 2 Reclamation Project”. Its an excellent idea butthe problem that the Leafs run into is whan player does well in the minors they can do two things that would be productive:

    Trade him

    Play him

    The Leafs have done none of the above

    As its sits St Johns is a stepping stone for players such as Donald McLean and Nathan Demptsy to play else where because the deplete Leafs don’t seem to like giving youth a chance.

    My Biggest issue is Pat Quinn as a GM

    and I would enjoy hearing your thoughts on if he should stay or go.

    -Z

  26. puckedinthehead says:

    ditto

  27. Alvin says:

    As long as the teachers union has a large piece of the maple leaf pie they ain’t gonna win. It’s all about money and the leafs make a ton of it. The teachers could give a rats ass if the leafs win or lose as long as the money machince keeps spittin out the bucks and with the leafs win or loss it will.

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