Friday, June 27


Easy Tiger

In my last post, I spoke with some admiration for the moves Cliff Fletcher has made this off-season. At least until this Bryan McCabe thing started making the rounds. If the stories of him being asked to stay home from training camp are true, it's quite possibly one of the most classless (not to mention desperate) things I've seen in a long time. Quite frankly, I'm embarrassed to be a Toronto Maple Leafs fan. Which is why I'm an Edmonton Oilers fan.

It's one thing to sit here and talk about this in terms of morality and principles, but in reality the whole situation is a non-starter. The Leafs have absolutely zero leverage and no leg to stand on. They simply CAN'T make McCabe stay home. Well actually, they can - they can buy him out. The problem is, the Leafs are trying anything they can to avoid doing just that. As a fan, ask yourself this: What if McCabe decided he wasn't going to report to camp because the Leafs wouldn't give him a Barcalounger in the locker room? You'd crucify him. You crazy fuckers would send male strip-o-grams in Chad Kilger jersey's to his house. The point is, it goes both ways. Unfortunately it appears the Leafs have crossed a line which could harm the image of the franchise. What's next, literally shaming him into waiving his NTC? Players around the league talk, and that's the danger here. It doesn't take much for an organization to get a reputation for mistreating its players. Remember, this is a guy who was highly valued by the team just 2 years ago. Now all of sudden he's being treated like a leper. No, wait...a selfish leper.

Nobody would care if the Leafs bought out McCabe, after all, both sides understand the business aspect of hockey. Hell, it's even within their rights to say, "Bryan, you're not part of our plans here, so you'll probably be sitting in the press box while we let some kids learn on the job," then let McCabe decide what he wants to do. He negotiated for that right, and the Leafs granted him that right. Even if this story isn't true, the optics of it already look bad.

"Fuck It, I'm Leaving Anyway!"

That's not a direct quote from Brian Burke, but I'll bet it's pretty close to what he was saying before he waived Todd Bertuzzi today. A couple months ago, when the Burke-to-Toronto talk was at it's zenith, I wrote about Burke's record as a GM and how poorly he has managed the salary cap/Ducks this past season. Now, on a team that already can't score, Burke has had to give away one of his few moderately productive forwards because of shortsightedness and his inability to properly manage his assets. So Todd Bertuzzi, who Burke gave Dustin Penner's money, is gone because Burke gave Scott Niedermayer's money to Mathieu Schneider, only Scott Neidermayer is back and now someone is out of a job. It should be Brian Burke. This comes after he gave away Ilya Bryzgalov for no return, and Andy McDonald for twenty cents on the dollar. Yeah, Kevin Lowe is running HIS team into the sewer. Riiiiiight. Guess who's coming to TO!?