Who's running this show?

GARY LOEWEN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:34 AM ET

Anybody can be a general manager, right?

No one gets second-guessed more than the GM, no matter the team, no matter the sport. Joe Fanatic figures he can do the job better than the incumbent, and maybe that's true. After all, Irving Grundman once rose from the gutters of a bowling alley to become the general manager of one of the greatest franchises in pro sports, the Montreal Canadiens.

But a person with management skills should be capable of handling the job no matter what the industry. A manager of a bowling alley is bound to get himself into jeopardy if he insists on setting the pins, boiling the hotdogs and disinfecting the rental shoes all by himself. A good manager knows how to delegate, and knows to surround himself with competent employees -- whether it's a shrewd scout to analyse the draft, or a descendant of Dr. Scholl to deal with those bowling brogues.

Fickle fans like to second-guess coaches, too. But could they do that job?

Not likely. It requires intricate knowledge of the game and its tactics, as well as motivational skills and neat penmanship for outlining plays on a chalkboard.

But the GM job, well, half of that is luck. The annual draft? It's a crapshoot, any GM will tell you. If Jiri Tlusty turns out to be the biggest Czech export since supermodel Karolina Kurkova, that could elevate Leafs GM John Ferguson from Grundman territory into Sam Pollock strata. Well, Tlusty and a handful of Stanley Cups.

On these pages, Sun writers examine the strengths, weaknesses and operating manner of the general managers of Toronto's five professional sports franchises. Think you can do better?


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