Saturday, December 23, 2006


There's a fortune inside your head, all you touch turns to lead...

As Peca lay on the ice in Chicago, I started thinking about JFJ's acquisitions and how so few of them have panned out for the Bleu et Blanc. My first reaction was that Howard Carter was the architect of this team and Tutankhamen isn't pleased...consider:

  • Peca: 35 games played, fractured tibia, Gary Glitter's got a better chance at a comeback
  • Lindros: 33 games for the Buds, torn wrist ligament ended it all
  • Raycroft: currently 34th in Save Percentage; 31st in Goals Against
  • Belfour: currently 26th in Save Percentage; 19th in Goals Against; bought out at $1.5M
  • Tellqvist, dumped for a 4th round pick, has more wins with Phoenix than the Leafs do in December
  • Suglabov: 10 GP, 0G /0A /0pts, 4PiMs; -4
  • O'Neill: 110GP; 30G /32 A /62 Points; -13
  • Kubina: Sprained MCL in game 4; $5M for 0G, 4A, 14PiMs, +0
  • Allison: Broken hand ended his season, currently unemployed
  • Khavanov: left the NHL, now playing with Davos in Switzerland

At first glance this might seem like bad luck, but if you dig a little deeper you can see a real pattern - there's been a clear failure to make informed player personnel decisions down at MLSE.

The only surprise about an injury ending Lindros' year was that it was his wrist and not his head. Allison can't get a gig playing table hockey these days; Raycroft is looking worse than Belfour whom we're still paying for, never mind the top prospect we gave up to land Raycroft. As the Leafs cough up six goals in the last two losses, cast-off Tellqvist is handing the Ducks their first shut-out loss of the season. Suglabov can't crack the line-up, meanwhile Klee has put up twice as many points (1G/8A) and is a whopping +13.

Peca at $2.5M is a signing that was looking pretty dire prior to his injury. Wonderful news that he's a great guy in the room - on the ice he's led the Leafs' PK to the middle of the pack (17th overall), he's put up typical uninspiring offensive numbers (4G/11A in 35GP) and he's taken way too many penalties this year.

Want to know something scary? That pretty much leaves Hal Gill as JFJ's lone bright spot. Hall freakin' Gill as our beacon of hope.

Based on how things have gone for JFJ to date, I fully expect Gill to suffer a catastrophic injury, to leave the NHL and go play in Europe in the next few months or maybe both.

But on a more serious note, the trade deadline is looming larger for the Leafs as they struggle to qualify for the post-season. UFAs on this club include: Sundin, Peca, Tucker, O'Neill, Battaglia and Aubin. RFAs include Antropov, Ponikarvosky, Suglobov, White, Colaiacovo, Wozniesky, Harrison, Bell, and Kronwall.

Someone has to decide what to do with these bodies.

Given his record to date, do we really want it to be JFJ? Does anyone think this is the guy who's going to take the Leafs to the next level?

3-6-1 in December. Outside the playoffs looking in. No cap space. Merry Christmas Leafs fans...


  1. Anonymous4:09 p.m.

    I don't think MLSE is the ownership that will take the Leafs to the next level. Blowing it all up isn't an option under this ownership group. I wish it was, but it isn't. JFJ let it slip, or lobbed a preliminary exit volley, that rebuilding on the fly is the only option the Leafs have for whatever reason is convenient. Sad, eh? Even sadder is that finding a link to that interview is like unearthing a new JFK assassination film.

    And since I'm feeling so constructive today, who should be the new GM, if not JFJ?

  2. Anonymous9:18 a.m.

    MLSE is most definitely not the ownership group to win a cup. The Leafs need a Mark Cuban-type owner (could have been Ken Thompson) that wants a cup for purely sporting purposes instead of trying to maximize profit with the cup as a possible bonus.

    I remember that interview and then I remember a rage blackout.

    Who to put as GM is a tough one but JFJ will still end up making all the tough decisions.

  3. Hey, great blog. Don't know why I've never read it before, but this is cool.

  4. Anonymous1:17 p.m.

    Whatever happens, I just hope we don't lose Tucker.

  5. Jason - I'm curious as to why you don't want to lose Tucker...I love him at $1.5M but I'm not sure I'd keep him past $3 to $3.5M.

    Given the limited cap space, the salary needs of all the young RFAs, if you were GM of the Leafs how much would you be willing to pay to keep Tucker? And at salary point do you think a trade is in order?

  6. Ninja - Not sure who the new GM of the Leafs should be. I could throw names around, but as I'm not in the hockey world they'd be little more than names at this point.

    If I owned the Leafs, I'd certainly have a quiet but extensive executive search done with an emphasis on the need for an executive with a proven player development background and a really solid record at the draft table. With the cap limiting trades, UFA salaries hitting pre-CBA levels and free agency now at 27, the new GM will need to find and develop a core group of young players that can give this club a shot in what looks to be a very small window.

  7. Anonymous9:55 a.m.

    Aside from the fact that Tucker leads our team in goals and is only seven points behind Sundin, I think Tucker is one of the only guys who shows up to play every night.

    He's got fire inside of him, and I think he gets the team fired up with how he plays. I think he's worth $3m a season - remember we won't be paying Belfour next season.

  8. Isn't it easy to blame JFJ when it was Pat Quinn who traded away every good up and coming player for a chance to rent another broken down dinosaur for a playoff run? Honestly, I think JFJ has been mediocre at best, but the days of pulling off another Doug Gilmour or Mats Sundin trade are over, as long as the salary cap dictates league parity.

    Don't forget who the primary owner of this team is - the teacher's pension fund. It's all about making money and not so much about winning. The teachers are the new Harold Ballard.

  9. Anonymous4:20 p.m.

    As a retired teacher, and Maple Leaf fan, I do wish people would stop referring to "teachers" as some kind of villains in this on-going soap opera. I especially resent being compared to Harold Ballard, for heaven's sake! Why not just let it ride as the "Pension Fund", and leave it there. Gimme a break!