April 24, 2008

Shattered Dream

Brian Burke will not be riding into town on a white horse, the man ready, willing, and able to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs. He's staying in Anaheim. Pardon my language, but, well, fuck.

Burke, and his 2007 Stanley Cup championship ring, still has one year left on his contract as general manager of the Anaheim Ducks. He's going to serve it.

I so thought Burke was coming to Toronto. I've been telling people for about two weeks now that it was only a formality, that once the Ducks were eliminated from the playoffs the wheels would be set in motion. Well, no more motion. Hell, the motion never even began. The dream is dead.

Sean over at Down Goes Brown called it a couple of weeks ago. For those of you that aren't familiar with his blog, he's a Leafs fan living in Ottawa - yes, you should feel sorry for him - and let's just say he's a, uh, glass half-empty type of guy. Check out his blog, it's good stuff. He's our source for what's happening in that God-forsaken city.

Anyway, here's what Sean had to say: "I'm a Leafs fan and a Leafs fan only until the day I die (which will be this summer, by the way, of self-inflicted head wounds when we don't get Brian Burke)."

Wow. Didn't even get to summertime. Stay away from sharp objects, Sean.

Here's what makes the events of yesterday so depressing: even Sean was beginning to believe the hype about Burke, and he's about as optimistic about the Leafs as I am about peace in the Middle East. It ain't happening. Not in my lifetime, at least. If Sean at Down Goes Brown thought Burke might be on his way to town you know that I, the ultimate homer, believed in my heart of hearts, without a shadow of a doubt, that Brian Burke was going to be the next general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Wrong. Again. I am an idiot. I am Vaswani, lord of the idiots.

What next? Whom shall I anoint as the next general manager of the Leafs, only to likely be proved wrong once again? Jim Rutherford? Neil Smith? Colin Campbell? Ken Holland? Scotty Bowman (cue: salivation)? Bryan Colangelo?

You know what? I say we keep Cliff Fletcher. Why the hell not? I liked what he did when he stepped in for John Ferguson Jr. He made some decent trades at the deadline. Remember, he did manage to get a draft pick for Wade Belak. Now I loved Belak as much as the next Leafs fan, but it's Wade Belak. And he's set to become an unrestricted free agent. It's a pretty damn impressive trade. Perhaps Clifford can pull another rabbit out of his hat and trade Andrew Raycroft.

Hold on, give me a second. Sorry about that, but even I found that one funny. Trade Raycroft! Imagine Fletcher actually trying to make that trade?

Cliff Fletcher: "Hey Darryl Sutter, Fletch here from Toronto. How are ya? Sorry about that game seven loss. Kipper really let you down. Speaking of goaltending, CuJo's a free agent so, uh, any, umm, any interest in Andrew Raycroft?"

Darryl Sutter: "Is this some kind of sick joke? Fuck off, Fletcher." *CLICK*

Cliff Fletcher: "Hey, George McPhee, Cliff Fletcher here. That was a great series, young man. A bright, bright future you got there in D.C. Looks like you're in the market for a back-up, any interest in, umm, Raycroft?"

George McPhee: "I need a back-up, Cliff, not a sack of shit."

Cliff Fletcher: "Oh, yeah, well, you're right. Thanks anyways." *CLICK*

Cliff Fletcher: "Hey, Garth Snow! Fletch from Toronto. Getting used to being a GM yet? No? Great. Listen, Dubie's a free agent, any interest in Andrew Ray..."


Cliff Fletcher: "Is that a 'no', Garth?"


Cliff Fletcher: "I'll take that as a no. How about Bryan Mc..."

Garth Snow: *CLICK*

Cliff Fletcher: "Mike Gillis, congratulations on the new job in Vancouver. How about Andrew Raycroft to back-up Robby Luongo?"

Mike Gillis: "No."

Cliff Fletcher: *awkward silence*..."Please?"

Mike Gillis: "No."

Cliff Fletcher: "Can't you do me just this one solid?

Mike Gillis: "I don't even know you."

Cliff Fletcher: "I don't even want anything for him. Just take him."

Mike Gillis: "Gotta run!" *Click*

Apologies. I've gotten completely and ridiculously off-track. This isn't about Andrew Raycroft, it's about Brian Burke. And Cliff Fletcher. So, seriously, let's hand the reigns to Fletcher for one year, pray to God Burke doesn't sign an extension with the Ducks, and, if we have to, beg and plead for him to come to Toronto in April 2009.

Fletcher, and his right hand man Dougie Gilmour, had a close eye on the team post-JFJ. Clifford did what he could at the deadline, and had deals in place for those with the no-trade clauses in their contracts. Once the season ended, he maintained there would be significant changes to the roster. Let's let him make those changes. He's already kicked the tires on guys like Bryan McCabe, Pavel Kubina, and Darcy Tucker.

Right now my mind state is such that if I can't have Burke, I don't want anybody else. Well, other than Clifford, but he's already here. Oh you know what I mean: I'm willing to wait for Burkey.

And, who knows, if the Leafs do keep Fletcher around, perhaps he can take the time to show #93 Doug Gilmour the ropes. Maybe we might not need Burke then after all...


Down Goes Brown said...

I woke up this morning and decided to look on the bright side.

Let's think of it this way: Whoever the Leafs wind up with will be an enormous improvement over JFJ. By definition, anybody could do a better job than Ferguson. Even me. So even when they screw it up, it will be an improvement.

Baby steps, right?

Anonymous said...

Listen, is Burke really that great. He inherited a team and made a few tweaks...ok..ok...he won a cup...and yes, it was genius the way he scammed the cap with Scott and Teemu....but...he would just be a short term fix, we need a dude like Holland, how long has Detroit been...well...amazing...long enough for me to say....when did they suck?....and what comes to mind is the Tim Chevrolet days...LOL..Chevaldae - Chevrolet...chevy's suck.....anyway....Holland is the type of guy that builds a winning team that keeps winning...year after year after year....screw Burke....Steal Holland....and give him a 10 year contacrt....he will bring the cup to Toronto....


Brent said...

Burke is the most overrated GM in the league. He inherited a Ducks team loaded with youth, and watched Bryan Murray's draft picks (Getzlaf, Perry, McDonald, Kunitz) develop into great players. He talked Niedermayer, a guy whose already accomplished everything he can accomplish, into finishing his career with his little bro. He also called in a favor with Kevin Lowe (they used to be friends) for Pronger, who had requested a trade from Toronto. He really didn't do anything that difficult. He's never shown he can build a team from scratch.
Also, NO GM has ever won a Cup with two teams. We want a GM who has had success, but not the ultimate prize. It'll keep him hungry.
Doug Armstrong is the choice for the Leafs. I think I'm the only person in hockey who realizes that Armstrong's Stars (Yes, ARMY's Stars, Hull made ONE move) just manhandled Burke's Ducks in the 1st round.
Also, do we really want Bertuzzi in Toronto? Burke is the only fan he's got, it'd be a matter of time before Burke went for him. I'd rather have Dominic Moore, thanks.
I am RELIEVED that Burke is not going to be the next GM of the Leafs.

Brent said...

*Pronger requested a trade from Edmonton, sorry, not Toronto

Jaredoflondon said...

I wonder if Glen Healy is still interested....

Anonymous said...

Glen Healy, isnt he just another Gord Stellek in disguise...


Andrew Bucholtz said...

Good post. Doug Armstrong would be a pretty good choice for the Leafs. They should also take a look at Ken Holland and Jim Nill from Detroit: it's clear Stevie Y. is being groomed to be the next GM there, so either of them might be willing to jump if the right offer came along, and the Leafs can afford to outspend anyone at the GM spot, as it doesn't count against the cap. This team should make use of their financial advantages to develop the best off-ice organization (scouts, GM, capologist, assistant GM) money can buy.

Still, I don't think Burke deserves the bashing Brent gave him: he's been responsible for his teams acquiring some very good players in the draft, including Chris Pronger, the Sedin twins, Bryan Allen, R.J. Umberger, Kevin Bieksa and Ryan Kesler. He's also pulled off some great trades, including sending Bryan McCabe to Chicago for a first-round pick that he managed to (with some brilliant draft-day maneuvering) turn into the Sedins , and trading an injury-ridden Pavel Bure to Florida for Ed Jovanovski. With Anaheim, he dumped an ageing Sergei Federov on Columbus and landed Francois Beauchemin in the process: he also managed to land Pronger from Edmonton, who you can bet there was some competition for. Sure, he might not deserve the instant adulation many pour on him, but he has been quite successful over the years, and if I was an NHL owner, I would love to have him running my franchise.

Karan said...

I have a Glen Healy Goalie stick for sale.

starting bid is $4...

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