We Wont Get Fooled Again……Tear It Down
Here we sit, late in the month of May, still basking in the afterglow of hiring one of the NHL’s best coaches. On May 20th, 2015 the Toronto Maple Leafs announced the hiring of Babcock on a day that nobody (with the exception of a few genius minds) saw coming. All fans, clamouring for new information on their beloved Maple Leafs, looking forward to the NHL Entry Draft (June 26, 27 in Florida). Dying for something else positive to happen in their sporting life, thanks for nothing Blue Jays.
Since that day we have seen proposed lineups and dreams of improved play from the returning members of our core and outside help that might be traded for. How we can get better if this team just listened to Mike Babcock, the greatest Leafs Coach since Punch Imlach, they query?? Not so fast fellow Leafers…..
For those of you who believe that Phil Kessel and the rest of our core can change under the tutelage please take a deep breath and consider the season we have just endured. Remember how terrible this team was, for not one but THREE different NHL Coaches. This team (loaded with offensive capabilities) that shut it down with two months left in the season and let us all watch the WORST hockey we have seen since the 80s. Total points for the 2014-2015 season: SIXTY EIGHT (68)!!. We have enjoyed, maybe painfully endured, one playoffs appearance in the last DECADE. This fact isn’t on the group of players currently in the Leafs dressing but it sure is easily remember by the fans and certain members of the media who love to take body shots at us all on a regular basis.
Don’t get filled with hopes and desires, stay the path. Let the tear down commence after this, seemingly endless, 2015 Playoffs is over. Do it right finally, and dont get caught up in the ‘what-if’s’ with this core. I have seen enough to know that while the individual pieces are talented, the team dynamic isn’t going to change with the addition of a new Coach and a new GM. We are fortunate that players like Kessel, Bozak, Kadri, and Phaneuf will have teams asking for their services. That return, coupled with our own Draft picks should allow Shanny and Company to turn this team around within a season. I am not suggesting that this team can become a Cup contender in that time frame but I do believe that the culture around the team can be salvaged before it infects kids like Rielly, Nylander and the rest of the young talent we have. Sadly, it is a return to the dreaded “Blue and White disease” that was supposed to have been cleaned up when Burkie arrive. Groundhogs Day Part 2.
Until I see the vital pieces of this core traded, there is concern that this management team will attempt a re-tool. Don’t do it. Find teams that seriously believe they are one piece away from being a Cup contender and then make them believe we have that piece. Rinse and repeat until the familiar names of this team are jettisoned into the farthest reaches of the NHL (or sun depending on how vindictive you are as a fan). I won’t attempt to create or even contemplate a trade for Lupul, or JVR at this point, I am not even sure what the value for our players are at this point. I am certain that on the right team each member of our 2014 club can hold value, but to what degree and for what return?
I know there are varying ideas on how this tear down should be accomplished. I know that each fan has one player that absolutely pushes their “anger button” on this team on a daily basis. Therein lies the basis for blowing up this team. If we cannot agree on one player that should go in a unanimous fashion than it is clear to me that a bandaid fix is not the proper course of action. Before I complete this rant, I know deep down in my soul (if I had one) that logistically it might be IMPOSSIBLE to change this team to the level I am suggesting. I am not even 100 % sure that my course of action is correct because deep down I too suffer from Blue and White Disease.In fact, there is a good chance I could change my mind again later today after seeing a great point from a fellow scribe or fan. So this begs the question….can things be salvaged and Playoffs birth be accomplished without gutting this team?
I know where I would put my money because I had this same rant when Shanny arrived in 2014 and here we are another season wasted trying to get blood from a stone.
PS — Having written this rant, Phil Kessel shows up to Leafs Camp in the shape of an adonis, and goes on to score 43 ginos next season. Why? Cause this is how my life works.