Leafs to Release Marchment
According to TSN.ca the Toronto Maple Leafs have decided not to bring back Bryan Marchment.
Marchment is a 16 year veteran who in all likelihood will retire. The Leafs did not need to contribute any more evidence that proves their ineptitude. Marchment has been a consummate pro working hard, playing physical and doing everything to try to make the team. However the Leafs again have decided to go the direction of players who have not earned a spot with the team.
Would Marchment been a big help to the club? Perhaps not. His contributions would have been not as much as say the likes of Mccabe and Kaberle on defence. However we have seen in camp the likes of Wade Belak take penalty after penalty continuously proving his inability to play under the new rules. Yes his spot is guaranteed. In most cases, injuries, would open the door for players to win jobs but that appears not to be the case. Berg, Klee and Brown have all been out with a variety of ailments but their spots are assured.
Practically every year the Leafs have suffered from a lack of physicality on defence and Marchment is one player who delivers in that department every game. I find it odd how with so many injuries and so many players who have played poorly so far, that a guy who has worked hard, done his job and in reality earned a shot at being on the team was cut loose.
The Leafs have been preaching and showing in camp that they have been more about looking at players to see if they can earn a spot on the team rather than working on team concepts and working on their system and style of play. They have given long looks at rookies, given tons of ice time to players who have not earned it, and have kept a large number of players around longer than most other teams who are fairly set in their lineups. Granted, the Leafs are suffering from injuries which warrant the large roster, but when players who perform well cant earn a job but players who have been nothing short of horrid do, what kind of message does that send?
From what I can see, the so called “plan” that management has preached all summer, the so called open season for jobs that seemingly is in place as indicative of the lineups in place all pre-season is all very much hearsay. Marchment is the 2nd Leaf hopeful who has played much better than several players who he is fighting for a roster spot with who has been cut. Goalie JF Racine also lost out to Mikael Tellqvist for the backup job in goal even though he has stood on his head while Tellqvist has struggled badly.
People talk of the injuries, the lack of depth, the questions on defence being the reasons why Toronto will suffer but the reality is what is killing the Leafs is their blind loyalty to players who are both inept and inferior.
The Belaks, the Ponikarovsky’s, the Antropov’s have been given jobs and in some cases huge roles with the team and in my mind it sends a wrong message. This is why I think we have seen Coliacovo and Stajan be practically invisible because they have since the onset of camp been given jobs with the big club. They have seen other players who have played poorly show no urgency to play hard, play smart and earn their keep. To see some of Toronto’s quality young talent pick up such bad habits is a bad sign for the hockey club.
Unfortunately this type of reasoning will be criticized and chastised for being too negative and too far fetched because of the timing as it is still only pre-season. However training camp is a lot about getting rid of bad habits, working on team concepts and getting good chemistry as it is fighting for jobs and getting in shape. We have not seen very much of that so far and with only 2 games left, there is tons of work to be done. Injuries have played a part and that I can understand, but should that not provide the push for players to work harder and play better to fill in for those currently out? Instead we have seen too much floating and little smart play. I would hate to see any of Toronto’s top prospects play with the Leafs this year, not because they don’t deserve it because they in fact do. The reason is they would not be part of a winning atmosphere, and begin to pick up the poor habits of many of the Leaf regulars who seemingly get away with anything without any repercussions from the coaching staff. I think their futures and the future of the Leafs would be best served with their top youngsters learning from Marlies coach Paul Maurice.
However this is only my humble opinion. I know if this gets read, it will be full of responses by angry Leaf fans who frown on any criticism of their beloved team. This only reiterates my point in a need of a change in philosophies within the team and for a fresh new beginning for this original six franchise. I feel for those passionate fans who blindly follow and stand up for the inadequate and inept that fill half of the Leaf roster. It is because that is all they have and unless things change, will continue having to stand up for the likes of Berg, Belak, Ponikarovsky, Antropov providing us with foolish and blind reasoning that only fellow Leaf fans can understand.
I believe the Leafs have the talent to make the playoffs, and perhaps surprise people when they get there. But in the end, it will all be for not because of the team’s constant reliance on players who simply are not good enough, smart enough or talented enough to be main cogs on a team. For Leaf fans, I hope I am wrong, I hope those players overachieve and prove me and many other incorrect. We know the stars will deliver, but if these underachievers can reward the team’s loyalty to them, then the Leafs can accomplish many good things.