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Aspiring to Mickey Mouse Standard

April 10th, 2007

I wrote a large post yesterday, that crashed while I was adding pictures, about how bad the NHL is. An old Leaf fan, I stopped watching/caring a number of years ago. Occasionally, however, I will bandwagon jump, and did so this weekend. I watched two games, the Leafs/Canadians Saturday night and the Islanders/Devils Sunday afternoon. After watching the two games my weekend came down to a shootout, which acrobat dropped the first bowling pin, to decide. Lame! The NHL officially owes me a new weekend.

Other issues I noticed, that I have been assured have been fixed, is referees officiating by the score and the clock, and strange penalty calls. The fact the league allowed New Jersey to dress their ‘B’ team for one of the leagues most important games (try that in the NFL) tells you how far the NHL has to go before they even acquire “Mickey Mouse league” status.

Then today, I read this:

The CBC is furious over the National Hockey League’s decision to schedule Saturday’s Pittsburgh Penguins-Ottawa Senators match in the afternoon instead of prime time…

Particularly galling to the CBC is that it is paying the league a rights fee of $65-million a year while NBC pays nothing in a profit-sharing agreement with the NHL. What’s more, the CBC recently signed a contract extension with the NHL in which it will pay $600-million over six years, starting in 2008-09.

The CBC, the only rate payer involved in this discussion, is the one voice not being heard. That’s purely amateur hour thinking. In a business the size of the NHL, money talks. The CBC should be seriously rethinking that new contract, if it’s not too late.

Meanwhile, back in Maple Leaf land, the Toronto Star has a scathing report on their day after attitudes:

The folks who love this team want to believe their heroes will be hurting this week, when the NHL kicks off its annual Stanley Cup tournament by inviting a whopping 16 teams not named the Maple Leafs. But if you were hanging around the Air Canada Centre yesterday, it was hard to find evidence that anyone was dying inside.

There hasn’t been an NHL playoff game in Toronto since 2004. And yet there wasn’t anybody saying: “This is unacceptable” or “Never again.” There was, on the other hand, plenty of delusion in place of truth, much self-satisfaction in lieu of self-blame.

“I’m happy, personally,” said Andrew Raycroft, the goalie who was yanked from the biggest game of the season. “I got to play a lot of games and win a lot of games …”

It’s hard to say whether it was insulting or hilarious to hear Raycroft pat himself on the back repeatedly for winning 37 games. Raycroft, who put up some of the worst statistics of any NHL starter, needed 72 games to rack up his 37 dubyas. J.S. Giguere, to put it in perspective, played 16 fewer games and won 36.

“The end goal is to get into the playoffs,” Raycroft continued, “so it’s a bit of a disappointment.”

The end goal – and only Maurice and captain Mats Sundin correctly answered that skill-testing question yesterday – is supposed to be the Stanley Cup…

“Why is it always about who scores the most goals?” interjected Darcy Tucker. “It’s about your team winning.”

Um, precisely.

But Raycroft is, in fact right. The end goal of this organization has never been a championship, and that has rarely been more true than it is now. Make the playoffs, that’s the goal. By the way, that’s Raycroft in the picture to the right. If you see him on the street, remind him of how bad it really was. Remind him a .513 win percentage is not good enough for an NHL starter.

One final hockey note, it’s nice to see bad things happen to bad people.


  1. Mark Dowling
    April 10th, 2007 at 10:26 | #1

    We need to start shifting some of the “he’s a good player, but” guys. Nik Antropov, good player but not good enough – let the free agent market have him. Carlo Coliacovo, good player but fragile physically. Wade Belak, nice guy but increasingly taking up space. For too long the Leafs have been paying a “Toronto premium” in salary but not rewarded for it by players excelling.

    We need an interim captain. For too long Sundin has not been the kind of captain that you don’t want to let down (Gretzky, Yzerman) or would be in fear of your life of doing so (Messier).

    Tucker leads from the front and in the absence of a Shanahan or a Smyth arriving should be the C next season, leaving Mats to concentrate on listening to Don Cherry’s advice on shooting from near the blue line (don’t). The club should be looking for a permanent C for the 2008-9 season but more a Gilmour than a Sundin or a Jagr.

    It’s said here that Gilmour will be more loved than Sundin even if Sundin brought three Cups down Yonge Street – and I don’t think we’ll ever have to worry about that being disproved.

    Feschuk is right about Raycroft’s huge number of starts but without faith in Aubin that’s not going to change and Raycroft’s comfort zone will continue. Hurry up Pogge!

  2. Brian
    April 10th, 2007 at 11:15 | #2

    Carlo Coliacovo, good player but fragile physically.

    Too young to give up on yet, IMO. And when he was healthy, he was good – quite good at times.

    Nik Antropov

    Now here’s a classic example of what ails the Leafs. Good third line player. Poor Mats Sundin has played beside more third liners.

    We need an interim captain. For too long Sundin

    Nothing against either, but Sundin and Tucker should have been moved at the deadline. Here’s me, quoting me:

    The end goal of this organization has never been a championship, and that has rarely been more true than it is now. Make the playoffs, that’s the goal.

    That’s the real problem. They thought they might be able to make the playoffs, but they were no where near good enough to win more than one or two playoff games. If they were not satisfied with merely making the playoffs, Sundin and Tucker would now reside elsewhere, and the Leafs would look a lot better moving forward.

    It’s said here that Gilmour will be more loved than Sundin even if Sundin brought three Cups down Yonge Street

    I don’t know about that, if Sundin could produce a cup, he’s be a demi-god. The reason Gilmour is one now is because he came the closest to delivering. I still have a picture of Gilmore on my wall (maybe I’ll post a picture).

  3. Brian
    April 10th, 2007 at 11:25 | #3
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