January 22, 2008

Leafs fire G.M. Ferguson: Fletch lives! Leafs fire General Manager John Ferguson and have replaced him with Cliff Fletcher on an interim basis.

posted by tommytrump to hockey at 12:00 PM - 20 comments

Next is the immediate trade for Owen Nolan, Luke Richardson and any other assorted has-been that they previously acquired. Damn franchise loves seeing familiar faces. God, being a fan of this team induces angina.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 12:26 PM on January 22, 2008

I'm hoping Cliff can lure Khristich out of retirement.

posted by fabulon7 at 12:53 PM on January 22, 2008

No matter how badly the Sens lose to the freaking Flyers, I can always count on the Leafs' management and ownership to cheer me up.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 01:08 PM on January 22, 2008

Also, Elliotte Friedman's take is well worth a read for anyone wanting a more in-depth look: Ferguson's tenure is over, MLSE's structure to change.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 01:16 PM on January 22, 2008

There are a couple of untouchables that need mentioning: Steen, Tlusty, Kulemin, Stralman, Antropov, Kaberle, any future 1st or 2nd round pick. I wish Peddie would take the fall, but how can he when he can play a trump any time he chooses. And the really sad part of all of this is that the Leafs really aren't as bad as their record indicates. Atleast 10 points have been squandered on game managing errors. Having said that, committing such mental errors indicates a weakness of the team that needs to be addressed, and so surrendering points could be a good thing.

posted by garfield at 01:30 PM on January 22, 2008

Mirtle roundtables with PensionPlanPuppets

posted by garfield at 02:09 PM on January 22, 2008

I'd trade Antropov. Quickly before he turns 3 months of good hockey (out of 8 years) into 5 year $20MM+ deal. In Toronto, we call that pulling a "McCabe". Would you keep Stajan, or Steen? I like Stajan because he can centre and seems to have better hands. Now - show me that someone has some balls and trade Sundin. God I love him, but he's the only guy we can get good picks for. I hope they tank the whole season, get picks and we have a fun off-season perusing the Hockey News for the prospects.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 02:33 PM on January 22, 2008

I had no idea the Leafs are being run by a teachers' pension fund. Further, I have no idea *why* the Leafs are being run by a teachers' pension fund. Doesn't exactly seem like a congruent business with the NHL. But it does explain a lot about the state of the Leafs today. Ownership-by-committee is rarely a winning proposition. Dogbert: A committee is where 100 people who think 'A' get together and compromise on 'B'.

posted by TheQatarian at 02:42 PM on January 22, 2008

I fear Antro will get injured again, but at his current salary, he's a bargain. And if career totals have anything to do with it, he should make no more than $2.5m on his next deal. (speaking of $2.5m, I can't believe the job Ken Holland has done keeping salaries down in Detroit) I love Stajan's game. He's a shut-down centerman with pretty good play making ability. His off-season regiment this past summer has done wonders for his play, and if he continues to progress, he'll be very valuable. He partnered well with Steen and Devereaux to form the best line of the season, imo. But I'm wondering what you had for lunch after your better hands comment. I'd keep Stajan, but I was trying to keep the untouchable list short. And Steen can't be traded. I see him as a future Jere Lehtinen; smart, and deadly given the space. Sundin should allow a trade. A Doug Weight, see you again in the summer situation would be ideal. But if he leaves, I doubt he'll come back. But Sundin should fetch 4 or 5 assets, two of which should be blue chippers. Mirtle says trade Kaberle, but I disagree. PPP is on the money with his assessment. Tomas is like fine wine just beginning to garner a worldclass reputation. Trade him now, and you really would be foolish. I think they'll put on a run and come up short again. Yay! Of course, whatever happens from here on out, Kulemin will come next year and make this team much better.

posted by garfield at 02:46 PM on January 22, 2008

But I'm wondering what you had for lunch after your better hands comment. Shoots less, scores more? Stajan has had some beauts this year, eh? I dunno - neither of them get much PP time (which is ridiculous considering that Tucker is clearly injured, or worse, totally ineffective). I just think the hype around Steen is unwarranted. But I wouldn't trade them, unless there was a damn good reason. One of the reasons I want to trade Antropov is because he isn't making shit compared to his numbers and is therefore that much more attractive. And because I don't trust a guy who turned it on hard to begin the year, and has now returned to some inconsistency in his play. His numbers look better now than they're going to later. Frankly the problem with revamping the Leafs is that Tucker, Blake, Kilger, McCabe, Kubina (who I like - but is vastly overpaid), Toskala and Raycroft are all making too much damn money. It will be hard to trade them, even in giveaways. So one is left with whatever tradeable assets remain. Do you realize our 3rd line is making something like $6MM? That may be the sporting definition of retarded. I don't want to trade Kaberle though - he has the most sensible deal on the team. And you can trade him later if you really need to - but I'd explore the other avenues first. Garf - Wellwood? What's the take? Cat is towing a bad reputation around town, has skills - maybe we deal him?

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 04:19 PM on January 22, 2008

You know how they say that it's always darkest just before the dawn? This feels like it just got a little darker.

posted by chicobangs at 04:33 PM on January 22, 2008

You're bang on about the shooting percentage. Stajan would constantly defer to Steen for the shot every rush up the ice. When Stajan finally would shoot the damn biscuit, it'd be a game winner late in the third. Steen frustrates the hell out of me, because he so much talent but has difficultly translating that skill into production. But yeah, I'm definitely part of the steen-hype backlash crowd. But over the past 20 games, he might be our best forward. Tucker might be a good reason to fire Maurice. The coach has to recognize the weak link and make changes way before he did this year. I don't care how much the room likes Darcy. You're right about Antro's deal looking affordable, and therefore tradeable. I don't think you can make a good decision on Antro simply because the unknown factor looms so large. Which is why I'd hold onto him. I'd rather him play decent for cheap, than to trade him and get a middling return and have him tear it up in Detroit. Of course, I take $200 to a casino, so take that into consideration. Wellwood looks miserable. He sucks all over the ice. Takes no initative. But we know what he's capable of. Oates type assist numbers, if he can survive the punishment. But I'm not sure he wants to play in the NHL. For someone who missed so many games last year, he sure did fuck up his rehab. Maybe he can read about the career he might've had in those books we always hear about him reading. Can you tell I'm disappointed in the lad? But selling low will always eff you in the bee, so....a clearance sale isn't necessarily the way to go.

posted by garfield at 04:34 PM on January 22, 2008

Doesn't exactly seem like a congruent business with the NHL. But it does explain a lot about the state of the Leafs today. Ownership-by-committee is rarely a winning proposition. The Leafs make money hand over fist despite their shitty management and lousy on-ice product. It makes the pensioners a lot of money. The ownership has been the biggest problem with the Leafs over the last forty years.

posted by mkn at 04:36 PM on January 22, 2008

While I'm glad the "Reign of Error" is over, this is probably the dumbest thing I can possibly imagine them implementing as a "solution". So Fletcher (10 years older and 10 years removed from making any important decisions in the NHL) is now in charge of deciding how to rebuild the team for the future AND restock the team in the short term (19 months). BUT! Why, in [deity]'s name would the next real GM of the Leafs want to take over the team? If we assume (and this is a big assumption) that the next GM has a plan, a vision, a f*cking idea about how to build a winning team/franchise, then he won't be able to actually implement the strategy. Instead of making the decision of what package of players to get for Sundin, he'll be forced to use whatever garbage Fletcher gets in return. As well, the new GM will be working with the results of at least one (2008), if not two (2009) drafts by Fletcher (based on his 19-month contract he just signed). That's like being told you'll run the fantasy baseball team this year, but only after someone else drafts all the players and then makes a few trades before the season starts. I didn't think it was possible, but the Leaf management team has actually f*cked themselves even more than before. It makes the pensioners a lot of money. The only silver-lining in this whole Maple Leaf fiasco is that part of my wife's pension is in there.

posted by grum@work at 06:05 PM on January 22, 2008

I can't imagine why anyone with any skill would possibly want the job of Maple Leafs' GM, unless that person was a masochist. Or, I suppose, the world's most naive optimist. Who wants to deal with a bunch of overpriced no-trade clause contracts, and a board of directors that seems to insist on micromanagement, despite what they claim in public? Alternately, like grum says, who wants to come in to take the heat for a bunch of contracts you didn't sign -- probably a bunch of contracts Fletcher got hosed on because that was the only way to unload them? (I'm looking at you, McCabe, Tucker, Blake, Kubina, Toskala, Raycroft.) And Fletcher? When was the last time he did anything useful? Two years before the Leafs canned him last time?

posted by fabulon7 at 08:37 PM on January 22, 2008

It was about time Ferguson got fired!!! Now lets put another inept in the job. Hopefully, we can't do any worse... Right now we are 2nd to last in the overall standings.

posted by BoriQa at 08:52 PM on January 22, 2008

I can't imagine why anyone with any skill would possibly want the job of Maple Leafs' GM, unless that person was a masochist. Or, I suppose, the world's most naive optimist. You take the job because you think you can turn things around. And if you do, and you actually make the team respectable, then the local media will declare you a "god", and fans will praise you for the rest of your life. See: Fletcher, Cliff (circa 1991-1994)

posted by grum@work at 10:48 PM on January 22, 2008

And you get to come back on an interim basis a decade later.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 12:28 AM on January 23, 2008

Yeah, but I don't think whomever they put in place now has a chance. Fletcher got to do what he did right after Steve Stavros bought the team and seemed to have an interest in making it good. I could be wrong about this, but I don't remember him having a bunch of high-priced no-trade players to deal with either. He also worked without the constraints of a salary cap. (Which is arguably bad, but Stavros was willing to spend some money at the time.) Fletcher, and whoever takes over for him this time has the dreaded Richard Peddie to deal with, a lot of virtually unmoveable contracts, and no possibility of simply spending your way out of the hole that's been dug. I agree -- any GM who could take the Leafs and make them a contender would be worshipped like an Emperor in this town. I just don't see how that's a realistic possibility for anyone right now. At least not in the short-term that Toronto's fans and media demand.

posted by fabulon7 at 07:39 AM on January 23, 2008

Well, if you define "make them a contender" as "win a round or two in the playoffs," well, I'm sure someone with skill could squeeze that much out of them by next season. And you know, I suspect most Leaf fans would be understanding about that level of success, if not thrilled. More than that, though? I'm not guessing the Leafs will contend even like in the early 90's (let alone the mid-'70s or the mid-'60s) for another decade at least. I need a drink.

posted by chicobangs at 09:17 AM on January 24, 2008

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