This will be brief. I’ve been thinking the past couple of days about the past week in hockey. We’ve gone from a prolonged, baffling, infuriating, greed-filled (and unnecessary?) CBA dispute to, relatively speaking, a rather sudden reversal of mood—and a new deal.
After all that, it was excitement everywhere. And relief. But then the reality of the “business” struck yet again. There was a need to dot all the “i’s” and cross all the “t’s”. So it was “hurry up and wait” for yet another entire week of no hockey. It evidently took all that time to get the details of the new deal ironed out, and to have both sides in the long-simmering dispute vote on and formalize the agreement.
That means teams will now officially open their doors to the formerly locked-out players and training camps are getting underway this weekend, with the regular season expected to start (the new schedule should be released by the time you read this) on Saturday, January 19.
In our Leaf universe, we didn’t bother waiting for camp to steal the headlines. We fired our General Manager. That’s news anywhere, but it’s huge in Toronto—and most especially when our team is only days away from starting what will be an awfully short 2012-’13 NHL regular season.
I posted on the Burke decision a couple of days ago, and I don’t plan on going over what is well-trod ground for me here. There was great discussion at VLM about the ownership decision to remove Burke and promote Dave Nonis. (I have my own concerns about simply hiring Nonis because he was already “here”. Would ownership have hired him as the best possible hockey guy out there if they had done a proper search? Now we’ll never know. But I’ll deal with that more another time…) In any event, some Leaf fans are angry at Burke’s ouster, others are happy we have moved on.
But I have a couple of questions for you, as you have now had time to sit down, collect your thoughts and come to grips with where the Leafs “are” as a mini-camp kicks off with a new GM, a basically new head coach—and a new season that starts next weekend.
This is (as always) your forum today, but to help you get the juices flowing, maybe think on the following:
- Are you happy or unhappy with the Burke dismissal?
- Does it matter to you why it happened?
- Does it affect your emotions as a Leaf fan or make you any less confident about the direction ownership will take with this team?
- Are you happy now that Carlyle is here?
- Would you rather, given our roster, that Eakins was behind our bench?
- We’ve discussed roster issues many times—goaltending, no ‘number one’ center, the lack of overall team toughness, no shutdown defenseman, no quality experience and veteran leadership, no real playoff experience on the roster to speak of, etc.. In terms of roster concerns, what stands out for you?
- What of the above can be corrected most easily?
- After all the bluster from fans that we won’t “go back to hockey” (and maybe a lot of you won’t, understandably) are you still excited for the new season? Are you excited about the Leafs?
- Do you feel the blue and white will make the playoffs?
- Are you hoping for that elusive playoff spot, or (and be honest now) would you give up another season for one more high draft pick? (Not that we have any say in the matter…)
Again, this is all just food for thought. There are many other questions to bat around, but I'll save that for next week. I look forward to hearing your views.