Sunday, April 5, 2009

NHL must come down hard on cheating Leafs

Jonas Frogren
I've stayed out of the Jonas Frogren controversy, largely because I know my opinion won't be popular in the Leafs community. I'm often accused of being overly negative when it comes to the Leafs, and my critics will no doubt have a field day with me here. But so be it.

I think Gary Bettman let the Leafs off easy. I think the Cliff Fletcher and the Maple Leafs knew they were breaking a league rule when they signed Frogren and they went ahead and did it anyways -- thumbing their noses at the league in the process. And I think they need to be punished. Severely.

Losing a fourth round draft pick, which wasn't even their's to begin with, isn't enough. Frankly, it's a copout.

The NHL needs to make a stand. And they should do so by taking a page from the NCAA's book, and finally getting serious about sanctions against organizations that intentionally flaunt the rules.

Recently the NCAA discovered that Florida State had committed several academic violations and responded with a punishment that will see the school forfeit victories, including as many as 14 from the powerhouse football program.

The NHL should do the same to the Leafs. If Jonas Frogren's contract was illegal, then he should not have been playing. And that means the Leafs should forfeit any and all games in which Frogren dressed.

Harsh? Yes. Unprecedented? Sure. But the league needs to make a stand here.

If Gary Bettman has an ounce of integrity, he will immediately announce that the Leafs have forfeited the points earned in all 41 games in which Frogren played. The decision won't be popular, but truly visionary leadership never is.

Understand that as a Maple Leaf fan, I'm happy to see this whole episode swept under the rug. But as a parent, responsible for shaping a young child's view of the world, I expect more. Rules exist for a reason. Cheating has consequences. I will not lower my standards just because a hockey team I personally root for is involved.

Now, there is the small matter of the NHL standings, which of course would need to be updated to reflect the forfeited games. The Leafs would now find themselves in last place overall by a wide margin. This change should be made immediately.

What's that? The draft lottery? Hm. Good point. I guess the Leafs would now be in position to receive the first overall pick. I hadn't thought of that.

Oh well, no time to bicker over minor details like who gets to draft John Tavares. This is about integrity. Nay, this is about the very essence of right and wrong.

So make the call, Gary. Do it right now. Or at least, as soon as possible. Definitely before the draft lottery.

And for the next two decades, every time Leaf fans watch John Tavares suit up and lead the team to yet another victory, let it serve as a reminder to all: cheating never pays.


  1. HEAR! HEAR! I concur. If the Leafs broke the rules then they should be harshly dealt with an eye only to the punishment and not to its outcome.

    However, I'd like to hear some details on what happened.

  2. That comment is missing a 'with'. Dammit.

  3. I think a petition needs to be drafted. We gotta take this to the streets.

  4. And how great would it be if they had to forfeit all those games AND their first round draft pick?

  5. Well said. If they cheated they should pay. It's called taking responsibilty and you're right it's what your kids should be learning. I say take those points now Gary! Don't let this organization thunb it's nose at you any more!

  6. And how great would it be if they had to forfeit all those games AND their first round draft pick?

    Whoa now. Let's not get crazy.

  7. "NHL must come down hard on cheating Leafs" - please insert tongue firmly in cheek

  8. Well done DGB. I'm ashamed to say that for the first few paragraphs I thought this was a serious post.

  9. I wholeheartedly agree, DGB. In anticipation of the ensuing legal, um, Clutterbuck, I've retained a crack legal team-
    May God have mercy on the NHL.

  10. Praise be to Schenn...
    Frogren is a false free agent and the Leafs lousy cheaters.
    oh and who is this John Tavares? Is he good or som'n?

  11. I think it would be more fair if the Leafs only had to forfeit any game where Frogren actually had an impact on the outcome. By my count that's 4.

  12. Think of a better punishment. As a Leaf fan, I would love it if they took away all their points to get Tavares in the draft.

    Besides, signing Frogren is punishment enough and yet another idiotic move that Burke is in the process of undoing.

  13. As a Sens fan I disagree.

    Surely Eugene MElnyk telling people to blow themselves us is FAR WORSE.

    We retroactively forfeit all 82 games this year and forgeit all 82 next year too.

    You can't win THIS Battle of Ontario!

  14. It'll be painful to sacrifice all these games that Frogren played. Extremely painful. In the end though it's only fair. We wouldn't want other teams criticizing the League for favouring the Leafs.

    I can't think of a greater punishment than seeing Tavares, and being reminded of our folly everytime he plays. For Shame!!

  15. absolutely agree, bettman should make an example of and throw the book @ the leafs, with finishing in last place and a higher chance in the lottery, the punishment should be well received.

  16. wow, tongue in cheek never felt so flagrantly self-interested...