Since Brian Burke took the job of general manager the Toronto Maple Leafs have had 2 glaring holes – a legit starting goaltender and a first line center. This will be Brian’s 4th year as GM and Leafs fans are still clamoring for these holes to be filled. It has become quite evident that the Leafs organization is not willing to be patient and build through the draft. And signing Tim “Mr. Glass” Connolly for $4.5 Million a year is not my idea of a solution. Telling fans that James Reimer is “the real deal” has become somewhat of a laughing point for fans as well. The fans aren’t buying it, Brian. Since 2004 Toronto fans have not had the pleasure of a single playoff game. How long will Leafs Nation and MLSE tolerate their failing management?
I should make it clear than I am not a Maple Leafs fan. However, when you live in Toronto it is nearly impossible to avoid getting caught up in the daily Leafs chatter. Heck, I’m even starting to feel sorry for the Buds’ supporters myself. Nobody likes watching a train wreck, even if their nemesis is on board. But it’s becoming more apparent that this organization is not willing to do what it takes to build a winner. That, or they just don’t know how to.
Take the goaltender issue, for example. Dave Nonis has stated that “From a Leafs standpoint, we need to make sure that we backfill and have some depth there so that we have some quality goaltenders to pick from.” He also made it clear that he would be surprised if Reimer and Scrivens were the Leafs’ starting tandem next season. Despite Mr. Burke’s appraisal of James “The Real Deal” Reimer there is definitely some room for improvement here and they know it.
Four weeks ago the talk around town was that Mr. Burke should pursue either Kiprusoff, Thomas or Luongo. Well, Thomas found God and moved out to Colorado where he will dedicate a year to his faith, friends and family – so there goes that option. The Flames organization recently stated that Kiprusoff is not on the trading block – so there goes another option. Luongo continues to linger.
Another 2 weeks pass without nearly a peep out of Brian Burke before reports surface that he is interested in Tomas Vokoun. What a great idea, right? Get the aging veteran, who’s groin is creamier than J.S. Giguere’s, and run him out there as a stop gap until they figure out what to do with Reimer and Scrivens in the future! Oh wait, he was traded to Pittsburgh and he signed a two year deal.
No worries, Burkie can always go out and get Josh Harding, right? Welp, there goes another one (not that he’s even proven he can be a #1 tender). So who does that leave? Roloson? Even Burke isn’t dumb enough to tender an offer to “Grandpappy” Roli. He can’t fit the cost of the Depends adult diapers under the salary cap anyways. So, it has become quite clear that if Mr. Burke wants to land a legitimate starting goalie he must pursue Roberto Luongo. I know, I know – this guy has not proven he is capable of leading a team to the Stanley Cup but, quite frankly, the Leafs are nowhere near good enough to win right now anyways. What Bobby Lu could provide them is a chance to make the playoffs. You can rip Luongo all you want but you can’t argue with his numbers. He’s provided his clubs with world class goaltending since 2001, he’s been named to the All-Star team 4 times, he’s been a Vezina trophy finalist on multiple occasions, and he’s won a gold medal at the 2010 Olympic Games. Sure, he combs his hair with a greasy pork chop, lays down more often than Jenna Jameson, and has proven to be somewhat insecure in front of the media – but I can deal with that.
So now what, Brian? Are you going to come up with some random excuse as to why you will not pursue him? Are you going to tell everyone that Jake Gardiner is untouchable and that’s what it was going to take to get the deal done? Didn’t you say Luke Schenn was untouchable 2 years ago? Now all we’re hearing speculation that you might be willing to package Schenn and your 5th pick to move up in the draft! My point is this – you have to give up prospects to get real talent if you’re not going to be patient and build through the draft. I’d take a sure-fire starting goalie over a promising young defenseman any day of the week. But that’s just me. We don’t even really know what Jake Gardiner is yet anyways. But we know what Luke Schenn is, don’t we? He’s Hal Gill but younger. You can get guys like that much easier than a legit starting goalie it seems. Are you going to tell me you won’t move Gardiner to get Rick Nash too? If that’s the case you should be fired.
I’m becoming quite sick of Brian’s rules. He won’t trade players over the holidays, he wont make deals that circumvent the salary cap, he wants to set his own trade deadline a week prior to the actual trade deadline because it’s too hard on the guys who are getting paid millions of dollars, and we won’t tender offer-sheets to RFAs. All I’m hearing is that Mr. Burke isn’t willing to do what it takes to make his team better. Take off the handcuffs, Burkie.
After reviewing this post it has become quite clear to me that I actually care more about the Leafs than I initially thought. Although they are not my #1 team I really do want them to succeed. They are the frickin’ Toronto Maple Leafs for crying out loud! Do supporters even remember what the atmosphere is like in a pub during a Leafs playoff game? It’s magic, man! And I want to be part of that again. So get your shit together, Brian, because I’ve had enough of the failures. And nobody cares about the Marlies so quit waving them around like a shiny set of keys in front of a baby. We want a winner at the NHL level.