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The Toronto Maple Leafs Make-Me-Laugh Situation

This article has been submitted by Chris Pope.

This year was another rumour filled year for the Maple Leafs. This year the Leafs fired their GM to bring in someone who could clean house but was unable to because of the numerous no-trade clauses and the many players that basically anchored the Leafs ship at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

Two years at the helm and no Stanley Cup, let alone a single playoff berth, signalled the departure of Paul Maurice on Wednesday. Cliff Fletcher was brought in as interim General Manager and spoke openly about how the future of the Head Coaching position would be decided by the new permanent General Manager. Instead they leave the dirty work to the interim. Reminds me of Bill Clinton. Oh wait, that was the intern. My bad.

So with ‘Fletch’ being the one to drop the axe this must mean that the Leafs are either having trouble finding someone who wants to take over a club that is falling apart quicker than Brittany Spears or their still sitting on Brian Burke and waiting for his contract to expire. I find it hard to believe that no one would want the job, even with the team in the state that it’s in.

The Leafs recently asked the Canucks for permission to speak with Ex-Canuck GM Dave Nonis, which adds more weight to the Leafs attempt at bringing in Brian Burke, considering Nonis was the assistant to Burke in Vancouver. Despite all the rumours, Burke has said he enjoys his job in Anaheim and has built the team that he wants so why would he leave? But money talks and MLSE has a big mouth, so don’t count anything out.

With an organization that seems to be run by the owners, has no General Manager in place, no head coach, and no captain, along with Fletcher saying that Leaf fans will have a hard time recognizing most of the Leaf players next year, the Leafs don’t really boast an ideal situation to jump into. Unless of course you’re wanting to jump off a building. I say this because since 1967 – the last time the Leafs won the Cup – they have had 14 different coaches (15 including Maurice), most of which are pretty big names, and only three have went on to find another head coaching job in the NHL.

Despite all of these factors, the Leafs Head Coaching job is still touted to be one of the top tier coaching jobs in the NHL because, of course, it’s the Leafs. They’re the team that most Canadians - with the exception of the west coast and Quebec - grew up idolizing when playing road hockey games as a youngster.

Maurice has always been considered a top coach in the NHL but two dismal seasons in Toronto may change that. Fletcher said he fired Maurice prior to the off-season in hopes that Maurice can find another job within the NHL. Maurice said he saw the axe falling on his head and stated that he only regretted one thing - the firing of John Ferguson Jr. Maurice took responsibility for JFJ’s canning as he felt that JFJ gave him a good product and it was Maurice who couldn’t put it together on the ice. Because of that statement, Maurice may be a bigger idiot than I thought.

How starting off the season with Andrew Raycroft as your number one starter and paying that defense core what he did is giving the head coach a good product is beyond me. I personally would not sign Raycroft to play in my annual ball hockey tournament.

Now that Maurice is out of the picture, still no word on a new GM and the future of Mats Sundin is more uncertain than ever, it’s time for all the rumours to begin as to who is going to be manning the helm of the rescue mission of this sunken ship.

This article has been submitted by Chris Pope.

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3 Responses to “The Toronto Maple Leafs Make-Me-Laugh Situation”

  1. Blake Murphy Says:

    Same old, same old. As Dave Forsayeth pointed out a long time ago, this is characteristic of a team operated by a company instead of a single individual or small group (ala all NFL teams).

    I think at this point, if Burke is the guy and they’re confident he’ll come in 2009, you stick with Fletcher as an interim dynamite operator for the season and just cross your fingers for a good trade or a few good draft picks.

    Looks like nothing has changed in a while.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    bad move, you can’t blame a coach for that, he had an overachieving team as it was

    also he’s one of five on that list with a winning record, that doesn’t mean everything but he never had a chance with fergie dealing one of the best goalie prospects for a broken down goalie with backup potential

  3. Devlin Says:

    I really liked Maurice. You can’t really blame the guy for the horrible team he was given. I have no idea what he was talking about when he said that JFJ put a good team out there. Might as well of had defensive pairings or pilons rather than some of the guys they had.

    I still say they let Fletcher trade away anyone and everyone he can in the offseason, bring up all the young guys and fill the holes with low end contracts. This will cause the team to bomb and hopefully get first dibs at John Tavares, then offer the job to the now jobless Burke, let him go on a frenzy for free agency and see what comes of it.

    As a life long Leafs fan, I would have no problem with the team tanking 1 season to greatly improve for the future.

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