Son of a bitch! F*&K this F&$king S%#T!
WARNING: The following commentary does not purport to be anything other than rage-induced purging – not for educational purposes.
There is a good chance this post will soon be made irrelevant by wholesale changes made by Leafs Prez Brendan Shanahan…or not.
- I am aware that building a successful organization requires long term vision and patience.
- I understand that panic moves rarely work out, and maximizing the return on assets can’t always be achieved when selling low.
- I know Shanahan inherited an inferior team and can’t undo years of futility in half a season.
In my opinion, the last “dark age” to befall this team was around the infamous Muskoka 5 era. It was a time when Leaf fans and analysts knew they were entirely ill-equipped to ice a decent team and, worse yet, had completely drained themselves of prospects and draft options for the foreseeable future. We all knew back then that the core had to be gutted – We all knew that the high priced vets had long since outlasted their usefulness to move the team forward – We easily recognized that the organization had squandered years of drafting and proper development for the sake of leveraging fleeting success. We knew that the goddam team needed a long and painful rebuild. There was no other option.
I argue that the current state of this franchise is in an even more precarious state…not because it’s a worse hockey team, but because there lies the temptation to build around some of its current parts. My fear is that any new president still thinks a viable option is to try to salvage costly pieces on this roster and add to it. This may be far easier to accomplish then admit to ownership, the fans and themselves that they will now need to accept laughable returns (or worse yet, have to pay handsomely) in order to unload long term deals. It’s one thing to talk about changing the culture of this team, it’s an entirely other thing to electively turn the league’s Billion dollar “Vatican” into a 5 year loser. What I would hope is that, despite some nice individual performances and brief spells of winning, the strategy moving forward is no less clear for THIS team than the failing regime that preceded it. There should be no other option.
Though we may now have more skilled parts, and possess a (marginally) better pipeline of internal development, we’ve put ourselves in a position where any strides we’ve made in terms of asset accumulation will now have to be expended in an attempt to (hopefully) relieve ourselves of horrible personnel choices and suffocating contracts that were largely laid on us by a GM who SOMEHOW remains employed.
Burke, to his credit admitted openly that he wasn’t interested in a 5 year rebuild – he didn’t try to bullshit us about his aversion to the “tank for years/draft/develop” strategy. For that I’ll give him credit. What remains disappointing to me about the Burke era is that I thought, if anyone, he had the nuts and the cred to invoke a full tear-down..he came in with enough good will (by that management group) to preach patience and build the team properly. Alas his own ego dictated a very different path which, though more boisterous and heroic than JFJ being bullied by his superiors, ended up with a similar failing result.
Nonis, though making some positive moves, has slowly and methodically done as much damage to this team as any of his predecessors. Though more frugal with 1st round picks picks and youth, he made the same fatal fundamental errors in judgement that justified not only rewarding but building upon a core group that was and remains not good enough…all while hanging himself with NO CAP flexibility. I’ll resist the temptation to argue the merits of signing Phaneuf or Kessel or Bozak or Gardiner to those contracts – only to say that I believe, given our current state, they must be moved..not because they don’t possess tools that can contribute to a good team, but because their trade value and cap relief will give us the best chance to rebuild and remake the complexion of this team.
As far as indicting Nonis, there are other, less contentious screw-ups…Ladies and gentlemen, David Clarkson alone makes it entirely FKN confounding to me that the GM survived even after Carlyle was axed. IMO, Nonis deserved a large chuck of the blame that was laid on Carlyle for the way this team was cobbled together – It’s entirely unfair to suggest that Carlyle hand-picked his roster and not demand that Nonis answer for allowing this to go on. Either Nonis himself liked the misguided acquisition of Clarkson/Bolland etc, or he was weak enough to let his coach dictate his player moves – either way..his ass should have been punted from the building.
Speaking of superiors enabling bad choices, this brings me to what I view as the current head of this deformed snake – Brendan Shanahan. Though I admire him deeply as a player, and was encouraged by his initial impression as a president who wants to quietly and patiently absorb every nuance of the organization before making informed choices, I now can’t help but include him in this seemingly infinite tradition of dog-shit.
How can I blame a new president? How can I blame him for the current state of this team even though he wasn’t around for much of its construction?
Because he’s done squat.
Be clear, replacing any organizational staffer with the word “Assistant” or “Associate” in their title is easy – which Shanny has showed he’s fully capable of doing…Maybe he also replaced the plants and painted the MLSE lobby as well. In the grand scheme, the moves made to date will have nominal impact on this team. But wait! He finally decided, after allowing this core to again eat its own innards for a few weeks, to fire the head coach! Super! So he replaced support staff, fired Carlyle, and kept the fkn guy who was largely responsible for assembling this pile of crap. Awesome.
I’m wondering how much longer Shanny will need to evaluate this group. I’m curious to see how much longer his gaggle of brainy advisers will need to either identify or convince him that this team, after YEARS of futility, needs to be ripped down to the bricks. I’m wondering why, after the recent history of this club, he didn’t come in with a plan and a short list of candidates to step in for the coach and GM if things went to hell – and by hell I mean only HALF as bad as things are now. I understand that he may have wanted to ride this “evaluation” year out with Randy and Dave and see where the season took him, but I don’t know how the team’s performance didn’t necessitate a swift change of plans that may have pushed his timeline ahead. I’m not sure how he has stood by and let whatever little value his assets had dwindle to almost irreparable lows before taking action on not only the coach, but the man in charge of assembling the team.
Though long term rebuilding takes time, DAMAGE CONTROL IN THE FACE OF A TIRE FIRE is also required when needed for the sake of salvaging the team’s value. What I once viewed as Shanny’s patience, has become a dire suspicion that he has neither the capability nor the balls to take required steps to move this team forward. And if I’m wrong (and I pray I am), the time he’s taken to make any real changes baffles me.
To me, enough time and inactivity has transpired to now make Shanahan a guilty party in why this team is what it is. An expensive steaming pile of shit.
Original article posted here: http://newlifelessons.tumblr.com
Image source: NHL.com via Getty Images