The answer is: Future considerations. The question: What was Larry Murphy traded away from the Leafs for?
And in my limited research, I can't find what those considerations were, except for two-thirds of Murphy's Detroit salary being paid by the Leafs. Basically, they paid to get rid of him.
Now, media seem to look back on the booing as just Toronto taking our their frustrations with the team on the highest-paid player. I seem to remember Murphy taking the general poor-play of the Leafs to new heights when he stepped on the ice. No greater evidence of this than when the Leafs played Ottawa in a game at MLG. The previous year, Ottawa finished dead-last in the NHL. That season they finally made the playoffs, by 2 points. The Senators were still a fairly inept hockey team, who didn't have a particularly good penalty-kill. And there was Larry Murphy on the power-play. And there was Ottawa on a 2-man breakaway shorthanded, because Murphy handed the puck to one of them. That shorthanded goal was the game-winner for Ottawa.
I still find it shocking to read Murphy grew up a Leafs fan, because everytime I saw him touching the puck, I saw him find some way to screw up. Leaf fans didn't boo because they MADE him a scapegoat. He did it himself. I saw no evidence from his play to suggest Larry Murphy wanted to be a Toronto Maple Leaf. And the team obliged him. Sent him to the eventual Stanley Cup winner, where he suddenly became a different player than he was before he was traded (crazy, eh?) while picking up part of his salary.
I know I'm not in the country now, but all I can do is beg and plead Leaf fans: PLEASE go easy on McCabe. You're only screwing yourselves if you don't! If Larry Murphy is too distant a memory, I'll try to remind Toronto sports fans of another great example: How much did Alonzo Mourning, Eric Williams and Aaron Williams do for the Raptors? Well... we got Joey Graham with one of the draft picks. Ummm...
"We gotta get McCabe out of Toronto at all costs!" Great, so now a team that's NEVER missed the playoffs 3 years in a row can go for 4 or 5. I would like to thank my fellow "fans" for cursing this team with such a fate. "But we can't win with him" you plead. We've done it before...
Listen, it's a sticky situation. Thanks to salary cap hockey, no one wants to take a chance on a 5.75 defenceman. Especially since right now, only 1 third of the league can afford him. (For reference sake, that's Atlanta [barely], Florida, Buffalo, Islanders, Columbus, San Jose, Pittsburgh, Washington, Phoenix, Nashville).
(Take that Tolensky!!!)
"Maybe a team not on that list will want to trade someone high-priced for him." Ok... When you say high-priced, do you mean OVERpriced, or really good? If you think the latter, here's what I want you to do: 1. Sign up for a fantasy hockey league. 2. Offer Bryan McCabe to another guy for Chris Pronger. 3. Duck. Heck, try to make your team stronger in any way by trying to trade a weak player for one of the other guy's stronger players. If you don't want to do it in a free fantasy pool with only pride at stake, what makes you think any team in the NHL wants to do it with millions of dollars, endless media attention, thousands of diehards, and people's livelihoods at stake. Maybe, they'll offer you Maxim Kondratiev (hey Leaf fans, remember him?) and a couple of picks for McCabe. And then we're just about back to where we were before the Brian Leetch trade... just without McCabe.
Your booing dollars at work Leaf "fans."
So booing McCabe to get him out of town faster, won't result in the Leafs getting someone better to fill his spot. It'll result in future considerations we may NEVER see coming our way. And McCabe isn't intentionally tanking it like Murphy so obviously did. He lives and dies for this team, and tries his hardest every night. If the Leafs need to upgrade anywhere, I'd say it should be the team's sport psychologist. Something ain't right in Caber's noggin. Hitting his own net on his own, hitting his own net with the puck... This is Chuck Knoblauch sending a routine throw to first base into the 2nd deck of the stands!
For now, I want to suggest to Maurice: Maybe try him at forward? He's a great offensive defenceman whose looking lost on defence. So pull him away from the D. Keep him on the point on the power-play though. Because then you'll have teams rave about your power-play with 4 forwards. Perhaps moving Belak back to the point for that game so you can make the adjustment back if he's not panning out during the game.
Let's face it, what do you have to lose? You're not winning often enough with him on defence. And I really hope if JFJ is watching home games, he only watches on TV and not from his box, and keeps it on mute. Because if he's on the phone with other teams, and the other GM can hear Leaf fans in the background, that's basically where the other guy goes "How much more can I get out of him, and how much less can I offer him?"
This Thursday against Florida, you have a choice to decide what the rest of this season will look like for the team. So please Leaf fans, be wise! I want this team to still be in it come April, and your "plan" has ZERO chance of working.
And then I have to ask you: Are you REALLY a fan of this team?