It’s time for an outsider’s point of view.
It’s time for the the Toronto Maple Leafs to blow it all up. I’m not talking about selling off a few big contracts before the trade deadline, either.
I’m talking about sending a scud missile of trades and firings that will level the organization, and make way for whoever the new G.M. might be to rebuild it the way he wants.
I know, everyone in the Toronto media says this every year – even when the team is in playoff contention, but this time around it’s different. This team is just not good enough.
I pride myself on being more level-headed than Damien Cox, Bob McKenzie and the rest of the Canadian Media All-Stars that call for the dismantling of the whole franchise every time they lose a game, but I just got back from watching them lose 2-1 to the Capitals, and this team is alarmingly uninspired.
Yes, they are only three games under .500, but the talent is not there, and it’s not going to magically show up on the stick of Matt Stajan or Pavel Kubina.
Mats Sundin is still a great player and a remarkable leader, but he can’t carry his team anymore.
Compare him to the top scorers on other teams in the Eastern Conference, and he doesn’t measure up. Lecavailler, Ovechkin, Kovalchuk and Crosby can all carry their teams.
Other teams like Montreal, New York (Rangers, that is), New Jersey and Philly all have a few guys they can call on for offense.
Big Mats is stuck somewhere in the middle a la Olli Jokinen. He’s not the elite scorer he once was, but the Leafs didn’t give him the type of support system he needs to win.
He’s a little older and a tad slower than he was in his prime, but the bigger problem lies in the fact that after Sundin, Hall Gill was the best player on the ice for the Leafs tonight.
And can someone please tell me why Jiri Tlusty hasn’t been sent back down yet? I didn’t realize that two goals in your NHL debut entitled you to 25 games of wasting perfectly good shifts on the top line.
The young Czech has followed up his Toews-like opener with one goal and a painful minus-5 rating since.
I can hear the Leafs fans already: “What about Antropov? He’s having a great year!” or “Wellwood, McCabe, Ponikarovsky and Coliacovo are all injured, right now. That’s why they’re losing, you dumb American.”
Yeah, they’ve got some good players. Sundin and Antropov are playing well, and Kaberle is great on the blue line. (Even though his offensive numbers have taken a hit)
But Chad Kilger, John Poll, Andy Wozniewski, Ian White and Boyd Devereaux are not the guys you want playing in 60-80 games a year.
And, I know it may hurt to admit it, but it’s time for Leafs nation to come to grips with the sheer and brutal reality that Darcy Tucker sucks.
Yes, he’s fast, and it was commendable the way he stuck up for Jason Blake in the Sean Avery fiasco, but he serves no nightly purpose for this team. He flat-out sucks.
Should Paul Maurice go too? I don’t know. Probably. I think he’s a good coach, and gets as much as he can out of a little talent, but why not let him be a good coach somewhere else. Bring in someone who can develop talent, not just manage it.
The Maple Leafs need to start over.
The next two NHL entry drafts are deeper than Ted Rogers’ pockets, so why not load up on picks? Find a young star to build the team around. (I promised myself I wouldn’t mention John Tavares in this post, so that thought ends there.)
I’m sure there are still several Leafs fans in denial, (I can’t wait to read the comments in the coming days) but this team is hanging around the bottom of the conference.
John Ferguson made a mess, and Cliff Fletcher should be as swift as he can in starting the cleanup process.