In Bob I trust...
It is a phrase that I have used over the past six years more than anyone else in this city. Unfortunately, no more. The truth is, Bob Gainey got rotten luck. He put together a team that should have competed for a Stanley Cup, filled with talent on all sides. Unfortunately, injuries, distractions, and regressions from young players led to yet another failed season in year 5 of the 5-year plan. Gainey put all his eggs in one basket, that basket was the 2008-2009 season, and the basket was dropped. He left himself with 10 UFAs and by the time the Centennial collapsed had trapped himself in a tiny corner. He got out of it in the only way he could, by panicking. Gomez, Gionta, Cammalleri, Gill, Spacek are all marginal first liners, and are definitely not the ideal leaders of our beloved franchise. The problems started far before this offseason, however. As soon as Brian Burke was appointed GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs, our franchise was doomed into a slump of epic proportions, of Yankee proportions.
In fact, its quite coincidental that we are the franchise that is most often compared to the New York Yankees of major league baseball. For the longest time, the Yankees won championships while the rival Red Sox couldn't compete. That changed however upon the appointment of one Theo Epstein as GM. Epstein revolutionized the franchised and refused to be intimidated by the cash-strapped Yankees. Unlike Gainey was in his supposed "pursuit" of goalie coach Francois Allaire, Epstein wasn't afraid of embarrassment and thus went after pitchers like Jose Contreras and Curt Schilling, eventually getting the better of his rival club. While the Yankees have sputtered, the Red Sox have now won 2 championships in the past 5 years, and look poised for more.
Brian Burke has started to institute the same brave and revolutionary attitude in reforming the formerly Maple-Laughs. Now, with pieces like Luke Schenn, Tyler Bozak, Christian Hanson, Mike Komisarek, and others, I fear that the future of the hated Toronto Maple Leafs is on the rise, and that their own "curse" will soon be broken.
Meanwhile, we are left with constant ownership, media, and political distractions in our city. We chastise players for off-ice and language issues, we charge far too much tax, and we make our city a horrible environment to play in. We also have a conservative GM, a quiet GM, a GM who is scared, SCARED to go one-on-one with Brian Burke and lose. That doesn't sound like a recipe for winning.
I can't remember a single team winning a championship since the salary cap has been instituted who has had so many overpaid players, and I can't remember a team winning without a true, BIG #1 centre. I wish that I still trusted in Bob...but unfortunately our great franchise will be mired in a curse of our own until we can get a fearless GM who knows how to build a championship team.
My vote would be Steve Yzerman or Pierre McGuire...GO HABS GO!!!