Tuesday, January 22

Get Out of Town, Fletch

I watched a 30 minute gore-fest of a press conference today announcing the firing of John Ferguson as VP/GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and Cliff Fletcher put in as interim GM. That in and of itself is not the worst news I've ever heard. The objectionable part of it was the meeting was chaired by a grey-skinned Nosferatu named Richard Peddie. Peddie stays true to his vampiric brethren in every way except when he climbs in your window at night, it's not because he wants to drink your blood, it's because he wants to go through your pants pockets for twonies.

Sitting with Cliff Fletcher- a man who's actually accomplished something in his life besides a grotesque accumulation of money - Peddie waxed rhapsodic about Fletch as if the turnaround of the Leafs was to start then and now. When pressed by a reporter, Peddie stated that Fletcher would have all the room he needs to maneuver to get the Leafs ship righted until a full-time GM is hired (with Fletcher's help). He then unintentionally contradicted himself when he said that he and some fat lawyer named Gord Kirke were going to oversee that process. Read: Sit on Fletcher's shoulder second and third guessing his every move. Also, that's just what this organization needs, isn't it? Another meddling non-hockey knob sticking his snout where it
doesn't belong.

The fact remains that as long as Peddie has anything to do with the hockey side of the Leafs, he will cause trouble. Not only with his direct meddling, but by reputation; People around the NHL know what kind of shit they'd have to go through if they worked for MLSE. Who in their right mind would ever put themselves through that? OK, obviously I would, faster than I could say "Go fuck yourselves, other He Score, He Shoot posters!" And trust me, I can say that fuckin fast. What I'm getting at is, Peddie's ongoing involvement may scare away some potentially high quality candidates. On the other hand, we're the motherfucking Toronto Maple Leafs and every sports mind in the world would dry hump Sam Pollock's corpse to have a ride inside us.

The next GM has to be the strongest candidate in hockey, and that to me is one Brian "Mr. Brian Burke" Burke. The Leafs need the strongest hand to guide them. When we have it, like with Pat Quinn and Pat Burns, we have success. When we don't, like with Mike Murphy, and Ken Dryden, we don't. The job is Burke's to lose, and he/we all know it. The Toronto media will start feeding on that so look for them to hound him all month long about it. He'll say he's got another year on his contract in Anaheim, and that he's not going anywhere. But give me a break. Isn't that the same thing that Scotty Bowman was saying last summer, after which we learn he'd accepted the position and it was the board (well, Peddie) that rejected it at the 11th hour?
Burke's fortitude and ego will help his decision making for him. His ego will tell him that there's nothing that he couldn't overcome. Running the biggest ship in hockey will be oh-so tantalizing as well. I live an hour from his house. Trust me, he is dying of boredom.


JFJ has left the building. No surprise there. JFJ getting fired was accepted and really it was down to the when. Really he was fired the minute that douchebag real estate agent in the $3000 suit started flapping his porcelain veneers. Whether JFJ did or didn't do the job and even regardless of the fact that he had to go: (he did) The way in which this was handled made me hang my Leafs head in shame. Perhaps the worst Leafs front office handling since Larry Murphy was let go for future considerations.

What's fair is that JFJ isn't the only guy in a suit at the ACC whose head should roll.

And no offense to Trader Cliff but I think the days of getting Doug Gilmour, Jamie Macoun, Ric Nattress, Rick Wamsley and Kent Manderville for Gary Leeman, Michel Petit, Jeff Reese, Craig Berube, and Alexander Godynyuk are over. There's not a GM in the league that would take that sucker's bet today. How good 'ol Fletch fooled Doug Risebrough that cold January day in 1992 is anyone's guess.

On the rumor front. I just heard Sundin to the Flyers for Jeff Carter and a first round pick in this years draft. But the rumor that keeps persisting is Sundin to the Flames for a package that would include Alex Tanguay.

"As all of our general managers have had, he will have the autonomy and responsibility for all hockey decisions ..."