I ussually try to watch every Canadian hockey Team in the NHL. The Center Ice Package has been a blessing for real hockey fanatics like myself. I remember a short time ago when the only hockey games that were televised were on the CBC on Saturdays and your selection of games was either a Leafs game or Habs game.
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There is nothing wrong with that, however the exposure that a fan can get to see all of the games is truly amazing now. It was something I dreamed of as a kid. I remember running to the end of the driveway and grabbing the Free Press, openging it up and searching for the TV guide. Once I found it I would search for every NHL hockey game there was and highlight the games.
Anyways since the Jets left Winnipeg I have taken a liking for the Leafs. In the Pat Quinn Era I really wasn't a fan but since JFJ butchered the organization with help from Richard Peddie and the hierchy I have really started to hope for the best.
I think it is more of a cheer for the underdog and genuinly feeling for the leafs that was once a first class organization.
I think all Leaf fans and hockey people for that matter can see the blue print for destruction that is the Maple Leafs. This is a team that has been so poorly mis-managed in the past that it has literally taken its own dimise to rise up again.
JFJ's campaign was some of the worst General Managing that I have seen in my time. The NTC's, Inflated long term Salaries, NMC's..............lets just say the JFJ era was a nightmare and for once in 5 years I can actually see light at the end of the tunnel.
What I even found more amusing was the fact that he went on TSN and had fun with the fact that he destroyed this team for years to come. He had a smerky smile on his face when ever he was asked about what he thought Fletcher could do and avoided questions about how he strapped the team down on Trade deadline saying "if I didn't give the players NTC someone else would have". To me that is a childish way of looking at things. I think everyone remembers there mother saying "If they asked you to jump of a bridge would you?" This is my main issue with JFJ, just admitt you made a mistake and move on. Dont sit there and pull the wool over everyones eyes on live TV after you made bone head moves that hurt the franchise long term. It was funny because sitting there was JFJ and to his left was Mike Milburry. The two worst GM's in the last decade.
Now the ball is in Fletchers court and as much as I like to see the leafs winning this is more destructive then Matts not waiveing his NTC. The closer that the leafs get to that final playoff spot the worse the return in the entry draft. Everything that Fletcher has done in the Trade dealine has been forwarded to this 2008 Entry draft, and slowly it is getting flushed away.
I know that Maurice is the Coach of the team and that he has say in what players he puts on the ice, but the final say is in the GM court. If Fletcher tell's Maurice that he wants Raycroft to get some more ice time Maurice has to comply. A perfect example of this is Bob Gainey tellling Guy Carbeneau to play Price and over turned Guy's decision to send him down to the minors for the year. Putting Raycroft in net not only gives him some ice time to maybe come out of the slump he is in and show case some of his talents for a trade, it also lowers the leafs chances of ending in 9th place in the confrence.
If Fletcher was hired to do what ever it takes to make that leafs a better team in the future, he better step in and tell Maurice to start playing Raycroft for half of the remaining games. This draft is way to deep to loose a potential all-star player because Maurice wants to go out with a bang and make the playoffs.
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