My rudimentary review of a story just published on Thursday by Bloomberg Businessweek magazine online seems to affirm what most of us have seen with our own eyes the past few years: the Maple Leafs haven’t done very well. Nor have they done well given the amount of money they've spent. (I want to mention that I only noticed the article in question because one of the many thoughtful posters here (Brad, via his moniker, cbh747) brought it to my attention.)
The survey (click to see the story) looks at various criteria to make the case for which sports organizations are the “smartest spenders” from the four major leagues—the NFL, NBA, MLB and the NHL. To be clear, it’s not like the NHL was just given short shrift because of its perceived 'lesser-light' status: The Red Wings, Penguins and Bruins all make the “top ten” smartest organizations, based on the criteria used. (Four more NHL teams make up the top 15, including the hated Flyers. For the record, the Tampa Bay Rays, a baseball team, are ranked “number one”, or the smartest spenders of all 122 teams assessed…)
That criteria has to do with how much money each franchise has spent “per win”, but also includes playoff victories, etc..
Where do our Maple Leafs rank? Well, they are on the list. But of those 122 franchises under the microscope, (again, this comes from the folks at Businessweek, not me) the Leafs sit at number 118. (The Islanders - yeah - are below us, along with the Mets, Timberwolves and the NFL's St. Louis Rams.)
In any event, I don’t pretend to be able to say whether the “list” reflects some kind of statistically valid data or any truly rigorous analysis. Maybe it does, I really have no idea. But as I alluded to above, it pretty much tells us what we already knew: the Leafs haven’t been good enough, and it can’t all be laid at the feet of John Ferguson Jr.
The analysis evidently takes into consideration the last five years. We know that Brian Burke has been in charge here now for almost four full years and Cliff Fletcher for a time before him. So while Ferguson’s years at the helm surely put the organization in a position to struggle- and necessitated a rather massive re-build- he is only somewhat to blame at this point. The current administration has to accept a certain amount of culpability as well.
I’d really love to hear how some of you feel. Do you just blow off these kinds of stories as irrelevant and unfair and say, “no way, Burke’s doing a great job. We have all these tremendous prospects…we’re moving in the right direction…”. Or are you more in the, “four years, yeah, I expected a lot more bottom line success than this…” camp?
Maybe you’re in the middle, in a kind of “wait and see” mode, though that seems to be a perpetual state in Leafland. Regardless, this is a result-oriented business, as we keep being told, and regardless of the measure, missing the playoffs every year since 2004—and every spring since Burke took over—is what it is.
118th, eh? Oh well.
Have your say….
Have your say….