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"Leaf Realist"
ON • Canada • 40 Years Old • Male

Jason Blake's "legacy"

Posted 3:14 PM ET | Comments 1
Leafs fans finally got their wish-the player most villified in recent years, (mostly by Leaf fans who expected more of the player, listened to media reports, or simply followed the typical Leaf fan trend - put all energies in to hating a guy until he is run out of town and then believing it was their behind the scenes, radio call in, and blogging efforts that actually made it happen)was cut loose. Jason Blake, blamed for the Leafs losing the past 3 years was given a new start in Anaheim. Jason Blake was a classic case of a media and GM hyped acquisition that never met expectations- or did he? He had 1 40 goal season with the Isles. Yet, his time in Toronto saw him at or just below his stats of seasons past- in the 20-25 goal range and 50 + points) However, he was Leafs fan's favourite whipping boy. While sending him packing was a good decision by Brian Burke, (he would not have been a major part of a rebuild) taking the time to find the right fit was an even more superb move by the Leaf GM- who inevitably wound up with what may become the best Leaf goalie since an Eagle and a Cujo, and a Cat ruled these parts- JS Giguere. Many Leaf fans wanted Blake gone a long time ago. Yet, if they were asked who could come in from the Marlies and skate, forecheck, and drive the net like Blake, 9/10 would not have been able to offer a remotely intelligent response. Most fans, (and somewhat deservingly so) simply saw 4 million in salary with about a 1.5-2 million dollar output. That's the thinking of the new NHL. Oh JFJ, where are you now? They wanted #55 waived, bought out, or even sent down to the minors and brought up on re-entry at a reduced rate. However, Burke's patience paid off. If he had let Blake wallow in the minors, the negative effect would have been 2-fold. One, any chance of Blake increasing his trade value would have been shot as rival GM's would have liked to keep an eye on his efforts and progress in the NHL. Secondly, drowning a player in the minors would have been looked up on as bad PR; future UFA's might have lost interest if they thought Burke ruled under a mentality of " meet expectations or get buried in the minors". So, Burke used his time wisely. His only flaw in the whole process was that he did utter "job instability" threats and never followed through- yet as mentioned, doing so would have been disasterous for morale and UFA fishing. And, no Marlie was deserving of a call up that could have seen Blake sent to the stands. In the end, Burke waited till the salary cap stars aligned,and all his Ducks were in a row (horrible pun intended)and relieved himself of a hard working, energetic, aging, yet career-consistent forward, who was simply a victim of a bad contract in the most sucess starved hockey market. Jason Blake was just one of many who have been targeted by the boo birds for being a major culprit in a crime he didn't commit-prohibiting the Leafs from a Stanley Cup. No one knows what will become of Jason Blake. Yet, he has to look no further than Larry Murphy, Bryan McCabe, and Andrew Raycroft to name a few, to get a glimpse of what the future can hold for those who were singlehandedly targeted for the Leafs woes before being unceremonously bounced out of town.
Filed Under:   Jason Blake- legacy  
March 1, 2010 1:35 AM ET | Delete
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