Friday, September 26, 2008

Building For The Future Or Building For Another Team in the Area??

If you haven't heard the comments from Toronto Maple Leafs czar Larry Tanenbaum about his team-- they are truly calling into question the dedication from the owners to the team rather than the almighty dollar.
''From an ownership level we look at the long term,'' Tanenbaum told the Toronto Star. ''We want to be absolutely competitive, super competitive each and every year.

''If you asked us if you were to pay for a Stanley Cup team this year, but you were to be lousy for the next five years, would you do it? The answer from the ownership point of view, absolutely not.''

''We want to see a consistently strong winning team over the long term. If it takes two or three years to rebuild this team, let that happen, to know that it's going to be a strong contending team for 10-15 years.''

If I'm a Leafs fan, I'm irrate at this. It's been 40+ years already without a Stanley Cup, three seasons without making it to the playoffs, and really no sign that it's going to get any better for the short term OR long term, for that matter. Yet, the fans keep going to the Air Canada Centre, plunking down their dollars for tickets, souvenirs, and whatever else they can buy there. While that's lining the pockets of the Leafs owners-- they can talk rhetoric all they want and make people buy the product.

The future is always something that you can't predict and for Tanenbaum to pretty want to tank the next few seasons to "rebuild" is something that is just out and out idiotic. This is a team that needs much more than rebuilding; it needs a total restructuring, from the top down. There's a time that a team needs to realize that you need to combine rebuilding with some free agent power in order to mold the youngsters to an elite team.

The Bolts seem to be doing this with Steve Stamkos, the Penguins did this with Sidney Crosby, and the Leafs need to do that with their young stars. If it take money to get them in, it's what needs to happen. If the Leafs get someone like John Tavares with the first pick next year, I don't think Jason Blake, Nik Antropov, and Alexei Ponikarovsky are the guys to show him the ways of the world.

And even then, why would someone want to come into the boiling water that is the Toronto area if the team is tanking and have the pressure to be the one to pull the team out of dire peril with the way the media and the fans get when the team is playing as craptacular as they have been known to do?? Why would someone want to come into such scrutiny??

This is why someone of Jim Balsillie's ilk, if not Balsillie himself, needs to really step up his push for another team in the Southern Ontario region. It's an area that is very sustainable for another team with the amount of people living in the region, plus it'll keep the Leafs on their toes when it comes to taking their fans for granted, as they seem to be doing. Hell, even put them in the Western Conference so there's some variety in the area and let's the people choose who they want to see instead of being forced to deal with the Maple Leafs and their blunderful team.

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