The Toronto Maple Leafs are entering a time of uncertainty.
Without a coach. Without a general manager.
There aren't many things these days that are crystal clear in Leafs Nation, with the exception of one thing:
This team, one way or another, will look drastically different in October, than they did the last time they skated off the ice this past April.
In this four part series, we will look at Maple Leafs management, the new GM, the new head coach, and also the players who will make up the roster.
In part one, we'll take a look at maybe the stickiest of subjects right now. Management. It all starts at the top.
As previously mentioned, Richard Peddie is, unfortunately, at the top of the food chain, or at least it would seem. Peddie holds the title of President and CEO of MLSE, however, Larry Tanenbaum is the chairman of the board. Making this malfunction at the junction complete, is the fact that the two really don't get along. Many close to the situation will tell you that Tanenbaum thinks Peddie should stop meddling in the Maple Leafs affairs so much, and let hockey smart people who know what they are doing handle it (funny thing Larry, we leafs fans couldn't agree more.)
Tanenbaum is the major reason the Toronto Raptors are in the NBA, as he constantly tried to buy established teams and bring them to the city. Once he got an expansion franchise, he was influenced by Peddie, and various other members of the board. They "aided" him in who to hire, who to fire, and everyday things like that. Finally after a bunch of years of meritocracy, Tanenbaum had enough, and decided to let someone come in and run the show from top to bottom. That man was of course Bryan Colangelo. The Toronto Raptors have been much better off for it ever since.
As the Maple Leafs enter the crossroad they find themselves currently, Tanenbaum seems to be the voice of reason. He seems to be the one trying to persuade people that the time is finally right for the board of directors, and namely Richard Peddie, to step aside and let bright hockey minds handle the situation.
Peddie for the record, isn't so quick to relent his power and fame he has gotten from the Maple Leafs. However, as the Maple Leafs begin to look for a new general manager to take the reigns of the club, it appears he may have no choice.
Peddie seems to be way off base, way out of touch to reality, and quite frankly, ignorant. In every opportunity he has had to speak since the GM search started last February, Peddie has gone on to claim that with Cliff Fletcher, an experienced guy, at the helm the Maple Leafs can take all the time they need to name a new GM.
While that may be half true, I mean, we certainly don't need this team rushing into anything, and hiring the wrong man, in an attempt to make a move just for the sake of doing something.
But Peddie also speaks as though every free agent general manager, and every available coach, are waiting by their phone on baited breath for him to call. He is, without officially coming out and saying, that any coach or GM would turn down however many offers they had to come to Toronto and take the glorious GM's job. And while it is true, there are GM's and coaches out there who do want to be in Toronto, it doesn't mean they will simply turn down all offers, in hopes of getting to speak with Richard Peddie, Gord Kirke, and the Maple Leafs search committee.
The Maple Leafs don't need to rush into anything, but they also don't need to settle for someone like they did when they hired John Ferguson Jr.
It is time for Richard Peddie to step aside, and not meddle in the hockey operations of this Toronto Maple Leafs team. So the fans, and other members of the board, namely Larry Tanenbaum, can finally get their way.
Aside from Peddie, these members of the MLSE board want to win. Yes, I know, it's hard to believe. But I am reminded of some things Ken Campbell said in the Hockey News not too long ago. Tanenbaum is the owner of a construction company who build high priced Toronto condominiums. Ivan Fecan is a big shot with Bell GlobeMedia. Yes, that B.G.M. The group that owns various television outlets (like TSN) as well as radio and print empires. You see, it truly is like Campbell said in that article he wrote. The fact the Maple Leafs haven't won the Stanley Cup doesn't speak of the board's character, it simply speaks of their competence.
These guys, for the most part, have been winners their whole lives, and surely they want everything they do to succeed, including the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The logic that states they only care about the money isn't entirely true, and it is mostly faulty. You see, these guys have money to spare, it's not as though they need any more (although I am sure they will take it of course.) I mean yeah, okay, they care about money. Who doesn't. After all, we don't work for free do we?
The thing is, most of these board members want a winning product on the ice as well. Because, at one point or another, they were sports fans. At least most of them were. And they do want to see their team succeed. The team they own. And if you don't believe that, then surely you will accept the fact that the logic of them only caring about winning is flawed at best.
Sure, win or lose, the Air Canada Centre is filled. Playoffs or not, fans are still buying merchandise. Jerseys, hats, and t-shirts still fly of the shelf, even during this time of uncertainty. But the bottom line, for those who only care of the monetary gain, is the deeper they go into the playoffs, the more games they can sell, the more revenue generated. Hell, imagine if the Maple Leafs ever won the Stanley Cup. They would make millions in cup merchandise. To say they only care about the money may be true on some levels, and it may apply to some members of this board.
However, money and on ice success go hand in hand.