Sheesh, the training camp hasn’t even started yet and already the Maple Leaf Nation is on its annual deathwatch, wondering whether the GM get canned this year, a tone of conversation which seems to be the cry in the land of the Blue and White.
John Ferguson Jr. is apparently on a short clock, suggesting he needs a quick Leaf start and some serious staying power to survive as the General Manager of Canada’s most excitable hockey franchise.
Steve Simmons wrote a column for the Canoe site, that lays out the case for the Leafs to follow a Babcock module in determining the fate of their Hockey General. Babcock for those that follow basketball was the GM of the ill fated Toronto Raptors last year, finally getting his walking papers as the Raptors offered up yet another turkey of a season. He was replaced by basketball legend in the making Bryan Colangelo.
It’s to be seen if the Leafs have a similar hockey guru to pull out from behind the curtain should Ferguson stumble. But just the thought of turmoil doesn’t exactly build confidence for Leaf’s fans as they prepare for training camp.
Clock ticking for Ferguson
By STEVE SIMMONS,
Saturday, September 2, 2006
John Ferguson is on the Babcock clock.
Just how long he remains as general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs will be determined by what kind of start the team has over the first two months of the NHL season.
A poor opening to the first months -- and the Leafs play Ottawa four times in their first 11 games -- will almost certainly doom the third-year GM. And just as Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. wasted little time in dismissing Toronto Raptors GM Rob Babcock, there is sentiment among some board members that Ferguson's reign should be ended shortly.
This is the final year on his contract and only a strong season will earn him a new deal.
His closest allies, the unaccomplished Mike Penny, Jeff Jackson (with his first NHL appointment) and the soon-to-be-hired Doug Gilmour (for all the wrong reasons), hardly builds confidence from those on the outside.
THIS AND THAT
One strange sidelight to the apparent Gilmour hiring: When he was trying to make a comeback, he was skating regularly at the Leafs practice facility. That was until Ferguson ordered him off the ice. Only Ferguson didn't have the stones to tell Gilmour. Typically, someone else had to do it . . .
If you add up the numbers Ed Belfour, Owen Nolan and Tie Domi will be paid more in buyouts and grievance money than any Leaf, other than Mats Sundin. How's that for effectively managing assets? . . .