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What should the Leafs do?
Tue, January 8, 2008

The Maple Leafs felt like throwing a hockey stick through the television following last night's 3-2 overtime loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, preferably at the big HD screen at National Hockey League headquarters in Toronto.

But angry Nik Antropov took the team's anger at a costly overtime penalty and three video replay reversals the hardest, hurling his stick towards referees Mike Leggo and Don Koharski after Rod Brind'Amour netted the game-winner.

Forget about throwing hockey sticks. What about throwing in the towel on the season? What should the Leafs do before the trade deadline? Have your say in our forum.

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789 Comments

Why is there no cheering since the Leafs have been on a bit of a winning streak?

I am surprised that there hasn"t been some comments made regarding Sundin, especially he has had been a tear, point wise that is.

What happened to all the "Boo-birds"?
London Bob, 2008-03-14 19:48:47

Okay, Steve Simmons column accusing Sundin of leaving the team with no future is the last draw. I am a Sundin fan and it is time that someone sticks up for him.

Mr. Simmons: Ever been told by the Sun to move to Calgary or Ottawa and be a beat reporter there, and then have everyone make you feel like you killed Sun Media's "future" for staying in Toronto? No? then don't pretend to know how Mats feels right now.

Too many are crucifying the poor guy for being loyal to this team. Call out the real culprits here: Peddie, Ferguson, MLSE ownership. Don't blame one of the employees for sinking the ship, just because he refuses to uproot himself and move to a strange town as a rental player AND role player. After all these years of playing well, breaking scoring records, not complaining about some of the suspect coaches or linemates he was saddled with, and listen to criticism every single day in this hockey hell hole. He sacrificed for this team in the past where other players would not. After all these years, he should be looking out for his best interests right now, because no one else is, and not be expected to fix a problem that is clearly the fault of team management.

And finally, this ridiculous column actually hints the Leafs should tank and lose, in front of all the fans who paid good money for their tickets, for the rest of the year. Just so they can enter a LOTTERY (i.e. no guarantee) for the top pick so Stamkos can be drafted as a Leaf. Don't get me wrong, I want to see Stamkos a Leaf as much as everyone else, but even if we did get the top pick, the Leafs by their track record would trade it away for another overrated player whom they would overpay, give a no-trade clause and lock up long term. Either that, or they would goof up his development much the same way they are with Pogge right now.

I would rather see Sundin and co. go down fighting. Those who played with the Flyers at the end of last year never quit even though the team was woeful. Well look at them now. Enuff said, I'm out of here
Ben TO, 2008-02-25 10:23:34

The Leafs = the management (Board of Directors, Teachers' Fund)+ the staff (GM, coach, scouts, administrators) + the players.

The management should follow the money. JFJ threw a lot of it around to the likes of Tie Domi, Kubina and others who were paid millions when they would have settled for far less. Kickbacks, maybe? This scenario merits some investigative journalism. At the very least recover some of JFJ's salary which was earned under false pretenses. Fire Peddy who is responsible for this mess and get a PI to look into the money trail that involves Peddy.

The staff - all the people hired by JFJ need to be fired. JFJ knew absolutely nothing about hockey and surrounded himself with incompetents. The scouting staff needs to be shaken up immediately. This should be a top priority in order to be able to assess the talent available in the draft.

Fletch should rebuild through the draft. It will take at least 3 or 4 years to undo the damage JFJ caused. Don't go for broke on trades; there isn't much too be gained when dealing from such a weak position.

Coach Mo should tell his charges that they have not bought into his system this year so for the rest of the year, play whatever way they want. It can't hurt and who knows there may be a few players who respond.

The players - Stop saying we have to do this or that better. If you can't do it, shut up about your inability. Many players should sell their skates and buy tennis rackets or golf clubs. They aren't hockey players - egs. Ponikarovsky, Kilger, Pohl, Devereaux, White and the 11 other guys named Joe.

Sundin, Antropov, Tucker, McCabe and Kaberle are hockey players but they just aren't good enough to compete at the elite level with the other clubs top five. Nevertheless, Coach Mo should play them until they drop. Get your money's worth.

Toskala and Kyle are good 2nd stringers; they will never be more. Andy needs to be given another chance with another team. Whose confidence wouldn't be shot playing in front of that defence?

Thats all for now. I'll comment more after the Sundin trade.

Ron


Ron, 2008-02-23 11:19:51

Jenny, what I mean is, since there is no way they can get rid of the bulk of those hefty contracts, they are faced with essentially the same roster for the next two years - at least. That means, if they do bring Sundin back they will need to pay him at least the $6 million he's earning now because, if they don't, someone surely will. And I don't think he loves Toronto THAT much to take any further substantive cuts.

So, let's say he does come back at the same salary which, to be exact, is $5,500,000. Add that to McCabe's 5,750,000 (with 2 more years after that), Kubina's $5,000,000 (with 1 more year after that), Blake's $4,000,000 (with 3 more years after that), Tucker's $3,000,000 (with 2 more after that), and Gill's $2,075,000 and Raycroft's $2,000,000 (both are UFA's the year after next) - and you have $27,325,000 committed to 7 players.

Now throw in two guys they definitely want to keep, Toskala ($4,000,000 next year) and Kaberle ($4,750,000) and the commitment is now $36,750,000 to 9 players.

Under the current cap of $50,300,000 that's 73% of the Leafs cap for less than half a full roster. The cap may or may not go up next year, but even if it does, it won't be by enough to give the Leafs much wiggle room with which to round out the usual 20-man roster. In other words, at the same cap, and by spending to the maximum (which most teams don't do at the outset of each season in order to leave "wiggle" room), that means the average per player for the remaining 11 would be $1,231,818 each.

Now, I know the Leafs are not alone with that mathematical reality, but most other teams did not lock themselves in to similar long-tern, no trade/move contracts to under-achieving players.

This is why I say the "Leafs" might not want to bring Mats back because, even with him on the roster they are looking at the bottom of the ladder for another two years at least. In what way would Mats - who's not getting any younger - help? To bring in the fans? They'd flock to the rink if they iced a team from the Industrial League and dressed them in the same uniform!

It is an unenviable position for Fletcher to be in, and one that won't be made any easier by a sudden spate of wins that brings them closer to 9th place. All that would do is remove them from an enviable draft position.


George O'Leary, 2008-02-18 16:33:15

Thanks George O. for your comments. Everybody knows the limitations that Fletcher faces and his hands are bound on how much he can actually do. That is no secret. I am curious to know though,when you say that you don't think the Leafs WANT Sundin back next year...who exactly ARE these Leafs that you're referring to? Are you referring to upper management as in MLSE? If that is the case,(which the thought makes me gag), it has been abundantly clear that they don't know SQUAT what would be best for the organization. If they did, they would have stepped aside and had hockey people start running the show a few years ago. As for this 6 million dollar per that you are speculating about that Sundin would look for, lets not forget that he had taken a hell of a haircut, (he's bald now for crying out loud), to help the organization out this past year. As a fan who can only afford to go a game once every 4 or so years, it is worth the price of a ticket to watch someone who is gifted and most of all CONSISTENT to shed some light when times are tough. Yes, somebody has to go, but i don't believe he is the one...He still has a lot to give, and gives it...as a mentor to younger players, he can teach them alot. I think, although it has taken a long time, Andropov is an example of a player who has finally come into his own by learning from playing with Sundin. Every team, including the Anaheim Ducks who won the cup last year, have veterens to balance things out. Yes we have more than our share of those...and yes, someone will have to go. Just not Sundin.
Jenny, 2008-02-17 20:10:48

Jenny, with the limitations facing Fletcher (and whoever takes over ultimately) posed by those long-term, hefty contracts, he knows there is no way the Leafs will be able to move those guys as teams will want to spend $4 million and up contracts on much younger (and infinitely better) UFA's and maybe even offer contracts to some selected RFA's. One palpable reason why, according to Fletcher, not one GM has called to see if Tucker, Kubina and McCabe will waive their no trade/move clauses.

So, whatever else happens, including finishing last and drafting high, they will again be faced with the likes of Gill, Kubina, McCabe, Tucker, Blake, and Raycroft for next year (and well beyond in a few cases).

Buyouts are not really an option either thanks to the extended hit against the cap. Which is why Fletcher desperately wants Sundin to waive his no-trade clause and acquire some young talent.

I really don't think the Leafs WANT Sundin back next year and therefore won't offer him a new contract once he becomes a UFA. Certainly not at $6 million per. What would be the point with almost no cap space with which to bring in better players? They are a non-playoff team for at least the next three years as each team above them right now from 14th to 9th has a much better nucleus of young stars.

Getting a top pick for the next two years will help in the longer future - but certainly not right away. Look at Chicago, even with Toewes, Kane and the rest they are - while admittedly better - still a long way from contending for the Cup.
George O'Leary, 2008-02-16 12:05:07

Thank you Peter! i agree with you totally. Sundin has earned the right to choose where he wants to be. I keep hearing this crap about "if he cared about the team, if he wanted to do the best thing for the leafs, etc." It is insulting to show such a disregard to what he wants and what he says. He is an unbelievable player to watch...if you don't believe me, check out my latest video on YouTube called Mats Sundin Unbelievable Jan 2008...it says it all.
Jenny, 2008-02-15 18:56:15

Peter may be sick and tired of hearing about what Sundin should or shouln't do but, I'm sick & tired of the losing leafs. Having been a fan for over 40 years, I think Steve Simmonds summed it up best today - Mats, it's time for you to truly bleed blue and white & start caring about the leafs by waiving your no trade clause so the leafs can improve. You have been a great leaf, one of the all time best, and may be again by coming back when you're a free agent, but, please Matt, help out Cliff and us long suffering fans - please!
Rick, 2008-02-15 18:02:46

What can they do? They are locked in to $0 M in next years salary. Sundin probably won't budge, same goes for McCabe, Tucker and the rest of the bone brigade. Best we can hope for is they continue to tank and pick up the no. 1 draft pick. Which they will promtly trade away for some creaky old geezer. I can still dream of what it would have been like with the Hamilton Predators around.... Sigh.....
Help me... HELP ME!!!, 2008-02-15 16:58:54

i'm sick and tired of hearing what should sundin do or not. He doesn't want to move anywhere and he earned the right to stay if he wants to. the Leafs has to re-sign him and go from there. And all the Leafs bashing people should look at the statistics and realise that for example the Sens are not much better than the Leafs in the last three month period. and the Habs and red Wings lost what, three or four in a row. There is a fine line between a good team and the bad team...
Peter, 2008-02-15 12:30:20

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