Thursday, January 24

Hell No, Mats Won't Go! Wait, Yes. Yes He Will

The only thing worse than that headline, is the fact that it's true. Mats will be traded to someone within the next month. My fingers ache as I write that, and it's not because of my achy fingers. What a horrible thing to have to write. Mats on another team.
I know this because the man "in charge" of the Leafs has been mandated with making the Leafs a better team. Judging by the idiot savants on the board of MLSE, I'm assuming that mandate is his own. Never the less, he has it. Cliff Fletcher knows what a winning Leafs team means round these parts (ie: the Planet Earth) and will do what is necessary to make that happen. Lest you forget, he's done that very thing before.

JFJ was not going to trade anyone off of this team between now and the deadline. It would have been his death knell, both as GM, and as human being. He forever known as the guy who traded Mats, the King of Kings. Cliff Fletcher is the GM of the Leafs because he's got the stones to meet with Mats and explain to him the horrible, horrible truth. That is, that after a pre-determined date sometime in the next month and till July 1st, the Toronto Maple Leafs, YOUR Toronto Maple Leafs, HIS Toronto Maple Leafs, will be, for the first time in 14 years, a better team without him. He will say that there is no point to Mats going home to Sweden again in April. That by playing somewhere else, basically for 2 and a half months, he will be able to ensure that the Leafs won't have to go through this terrible fallow period for another 5 or 10 years. That aside from being able to win his own Cup (my god, can you imagine!), he can help the Leafs immeasurably, and then come back and enjoy the fruits of his sacrifice if he so chooses...winking and nudging the whole time. Mats will understand this and waive his NTC. Regardless of that, once a team comes to you with that request, you kind of want to leave, right?

It was Fletcher's old, graying balls that got us Mats in the first place. By trading a beloved Captain. For Christs sake, it's his nickname! His name isn't "Stand-Pat Fletch" or "Easy Does It Cliff" or "Can't We Please Just Think This Through Cliffy". It's "Trader Cliff". And you get that unironic moniker one way only.