Did Cliff Fletcher Really Imply His Maple Leafs Lack "Skill and Talent"?

Mitch. Mitchell.Correspondent IOctober 6, 2008

A few days ago, Maple Leafs 2008 fifth-overall draft choice Luke Schenn was shopping around for some good rookie advice from some players he knew or he had contact with. Players who would not lead him astray.

Schenn had been talking to a player by the name of Boyce, an ex-Leaf. Boyce did give the young rookie a valuable pointer: "Since you are trying to make it in Toronto—do not read the papers."

I could not agree more after the statement made by none other than Leafs GM Cliff Fletcher: "We are going to have some trouble with our offence—goals come from 'skill and talent.'"

Well, well, well, you understand that, do you, Cliff?

What kind of a "moral confidence-building remark" is that? Garbage, to say the least.

Every hockey player in that dressing room knows as well as the fans that it takes skill and talent to be a goal scorer.

But Fletcher thought he would let everyone know, just in case it was exactly what the Toronto media wanted to hear.

We all know by now that Fletcher was brought in to do a nasty job of cleaning house and starting all over again, again, again (no, I don't have a speech problem).

Remarks as such will cut deep into the minds of all the young Luke Schenns and will not help in any way an already fragile situation.

Fletcher was given the keys to the kingdom when he took over, but he was not given the keys to the vault.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are one of the richest hockey teams in the world, if not the richest.

If all the brains at the top were serious about rebuilding, along with the "Teachers Union of Ontario" and their bank account, Fletcher would have been allowed to get rid of every last player from 2007-08.

By doing so, he could fill the dressing room with "skill and talent" and he would not be making such irresponsible remarks to the media mongrels, and he would not have to depend on a 18-year-old rookie to bail them out.

Fletcher brought in Ron Wilson, a defensive coach, but in the same token he is telling the media his team's main concern is it lacks offence.

In all of their preseason games, the Leafs scored three and four goals and were in all of them with the exception of one blowout.

If you are going to play the Wilson Style, then goals are going to be hard to come by, and three or four goals are going to be welcomed on most nights.

Your goaltender is the last guy back who is in the defensive mode, and his job is to stop the first shot—not "the first three."

Regardless, your goalie is as good as the defence; the defence only as good as the forwards that are coming back.

By the way, Cliff, let Wilson do the media. He knows who he is coaching, and he will not add insult to the fragile situation.