Everyone that has and is currently following the Leafs knows that this team is in a sad state of affairs. The team is currently slumping badly on the ice winning only two of thirteen games, it has a coach that at this point probably doesn’t sleep much at night for fear that each day he wakes up may be the his last a coach of the team, it has a GM that is in the same situation and it has a board of directors led by Larry Tenenbaum and Richard Peddie who are great business people but have no idea how run a hockey team as far as wins and loses are concerned.
While Tenenbaum has pretty much stayed out of the public eye and has not made a spectacle of himself, the same can’t be said for his partner in crime Peddie. Richard Peddie has taken every opportunity to be on TV talking about what amounts to nothing, he has taken every opportunity to be on the cover of news papers and inside newspapers and has said what amounts to nothing. I realize that running businesses and building condos doesn’t really make for front page news and doesn’t get you on TV (that people watch anyway) Peddie seems to have realized this as well and has done everything in his power to take advantage of the fact that the Leafs are a bad hockey club and any and every story that has the word firing in it is going to get you on the news and in the papers.
I might be a little off base here but does it not seem sick that there is someone using a hockey teams struggles to get his name everywhere in the media not only in Toronto but in the hockey world in general. It seems that every decision that is made right now and in the past as far as Leafs management is concerned as Peddie all over it. Petty seems to be the one that made the call to get Ferguson in as GM in the first place and since then has supported him….in the media, promised him a contract extension….through the media, revoked that promise….through the media, told the hockey world the hiring Ferguson was a mistake….through the media, saying the he didn’t say that through the media……and now talking about maybe or maybe not depending on the day making changes to the GM position……once again through the media. While he is getting his face on newsprint he is making himself and everyone around MLSE look like complete asses.
This is very similar to the Harold Ballard regime except Harold was forcing Leaf management to make trades and other personal decisions. Harold was always in the media and always had the attention on him which is exactly what Peddie has accomplished. Peddie has not forced Ferguson to do anything that we are aware of regarding player moves but he has made sure that he is going to have his fingerprints on anything that does actually happen. Last Saturday on Hockey Night In Canada, Scotty Bowman a man that has coached his way to nine Stanley cups was told by Peddie that his services were not required last summer when it looked like he was going to be hired to be the main decision maker for the hockey team. Scotty was not going to be pushed around and wanted to be the man that called the shots with little board interference. Now of course if this was to happen Peddie would have had a hard time being noticed at all win or lose, and of course Peddie would have none of that.
As of today that latest news is that the Leafs are currently talking to people in the hockey world about the GM job and have actually offered the job on an interim basis to former Leaf GM Cliff Fletcher. Now there are a lot of things that can be said about Cliff as a GM and he does have a wealth of experience, but really why? Why would you hire someone on the interim right before probably the most important trade deadline in years for the Leafs? My guess is that if Cliff is brought in on the interim then Peddie would be able to continue to limit and control what happens between the potential hiring and whenever the Leafs finally go out and get the person that is going to lead the team for the long term.
To conclude I will admit that Paul Maurice is struggling as coach, which in my opinion is caused mainly by the team the Ferguson has assembled for him, and Ferguson has struggled since day one but isn’t the main problem much bigger then those two? Wouldn’t it make more sense to look at what is going on at the top of the mountain mainly Richard Peddie? Peddie hired Ferguson, who made the signings and trades that Maurice, has led to 28th overall in the NHL. Peddie has done a lot of talking to media and has done nothing…..in fact if you listen to what he says hasn’t even really said anything either. I know that in the world of business, and that includes NHL franchises all major financial decisions that effect the business goes through the ownership or the board of directors but after they have given the yay or nay to said decision shouldn’t that be it? How often do you see Mike Iilitch, the owner of the Detroit Red Wings who seem to be a cup contender every year in the hockey news? Answer….Never!