Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Maple leafs enter a time warp

The original six franchises, frequently like to look back at their past years as a guide for the future. Success breeding success and all that.

The Wings called on the ghosts of Lindsay and Howe, The Hawks of Hull and Mikita (though they are but flickering images now), The Rangers (well they had to go back to the dark ages for some inspiration, but eventually they found success), The Bruins of course still talk of Orr and Espo, while the Habs have so much history to revisit, that they can break it down into decades of success.

Then we come to the Leafs, who seemingly can look no further back than the circus that passed for the Harold Ballard years. Despite being perhaps the most profitable hockey cash register in history, the 2007 edition of the Leafs are starting to bear an eerie resemblance to the farcical moments of Harold and King Clancy, holding court up in the bunker on a nightly basis.

Today’s breathless developments featured numerous media accounts of the fate of John Ferguson Junior, his grasp on the reins of the Leafs seemingly getting looser and looser with each passing game.

All day the talking heads of the sports channels and the home bound GM’s of the radio talk show lines were weighing in with their opinion on where the Leafs should go with their current malaise.

As if to make things even worse than they could possibly be, the Maple Leafs chief cubicle dweller in the main office, Richard Peddie provided more than enough grist for the mill with his declaration that perhaps he had made a mistake in hiring Ferguson in the first place.

While he placed his comments in the context of discussing the overheated nature of being a boss in media heavy Toronto, the headline that came out of his statements was the kind of uttering that normally is followed by the always popular vote of confidence and then the regrettable dismissal of the subject at hand.

The week of dangling commentaries began yesterday, when it was leaked that Ferguson had supposedly tried to have head coach Paul Maurice fired, but had been over ruled by a higher up in the food chain, perhaps the concession manager or a parking lot attendant on a coffee break.

Ferguson was quick to respond that he had no such discussions and had not been over ruled on a topic that never came up.

So, either everyone above the stick boy is lying or somewhere in the food chain is a rather busy Deep throat with his or her pulse on the Maple Leaf situation or perhaps locked away with only a cel phone and delusional thoughts ready to be spread at the first ring.

Fair or unfair, it would seem that the skids are being greased for an exit by the current GM, too many leaks and disinformation campaigns suggest that somewhere in the Air Canada Centre a power struggle is raging, with the casualties as in any battle to come from the lower ranks, as Generals rarely stray in the shooting zones.

While the media and fans may wish to see Ferguson removed, they may also wish to gaze a little higher up into the MLSE structure, for dysfunction of this scale must surely begin much higher than a less than fully endorsed General Manager.

We’re not sure who actually has the final say in matters Maple Leaf, but he, she or they, may want to get a handle on the fascinating train wreck that seems to be Maple Leaf management.

Either that, or like Harold and King back in the seventies, start ordering paper bags. You never know when you may want to introduce a mystery coach/gm/president…
The Toronto Sun-- JFJ's hiring a 'mistake'
The Toronto Sun-- Maurice can take the heat
The Toronto Sun-- Francis not contacted
The Toronto Star--Leafs searching for answers
The Toronto Star-- Turning over new Leaf

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