Friday, June 13, 2008

They'd better be right

Hello from Washington DC.

Since I'm on the road, postings over the next week will be sparse. I'm not even going to have a chance to write my rebuttal to Steve at, explaining why he's wrong about the Leafs benching Darcy Tucker. (Short version: they have the right to ask him to waive and they have the right to buy him out, but benching him as punishment for wanting to honor his contract goes too far, is beneath the franchise and sends a terrible message for future negotiations). All in all this is probably a good thing since Steve is about 300% smarter than me and would probably respond with the intellectual equivalent of the Clark-Mackey fight.

But I do want to touch on the Fletcher announcement.

Basically, the cards are on the table now. Talking to Nonis was a hint. Hiring Wilson was a giveaway. But this seals it: The Leafs Plan A is Brian Burke, and there is no Plan B.

Well, that may not be totally true. Plan A is to put so much pressure on the Ducks that they get Burke this summer. Plan B is to get him next summer. But all roads lead to Burke right now, or they lead nowhere.

So my opinion is: They better be right.

If Brian Burke ends up being the next Leafs GM, then all of this will have made sense. The Leafs are often accused of not having a plan, but they clearly have one here. And they're executing it, even as the media screams and Gary Bettman stews.

But it has to work, because if it doesn't they'll be laughingstocks. Again. If you click over to one day and see that Brian Burke has signed an extension in Anaheim, then this whole process will have been a disaster.

So will it work? I have no idea. But I'm betting that Peddie, Fletcher and Kirke do. They must know something that the rest of us don't. They must feel like they can risk their credibility (well, at least in the case of Fletcher and Kirke, who still have some) on a roll of the dice. They must know that Burke is on his way, and that the plan is a sure thing.

They'd better be sure. This franchise, from ownership to management to coaches to players, has had five years of wrong answers to just about every important question that's come along.

They need to be right this time.


  1. while i think Burke will be the next GM of the Leafs, even if for some reason he does end up staying in Anaheim, Shoalts shone light on the fact that a bunch of cats will be available next year: Doug Wilson, David Poile, Darcy Regier, and possibly Doug Riseborough. And Rutherford might be available too.

    Right now, the market simply isn't hot for GM's, so we might as well wait. Fletch is more than capable. But I still think you're right: Burke is both plan A and B. And that's cool with me.

    Enjoy DC.

  2. ... a bunch of cats will be available next year: Doug Wilson, David Poile, Darcy Regier, and possibly Doug Riseborough. And Rutherford might be available too.

    I don't really buy this part. Waiting a year because of the quality of executives who could be available is like staying out of the UFA market because there are better players available next summer. We've already seen the Leafs fall for that one in 2005 (remember how they were saving up to sign Iginla?).

    There will always be a great crop of players/coaches/GMs available next year. The problem is that most of them resign before "next year" becomes "this year".

    If they can't close the deal on Burke, they may get lucky with somebody like Poile and save some face. But it shouldn't be part of the strategy.

  3. Would it be wrong of me to suggest that I actually prefer Poile over Burke?