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February 6, 2011

Toronto Maple Leafs Must Make Changes To Win Fans Back

The Toronto Maple Leafs are ending the season on an extremely sour note. After a huge amount of pressure from the media, angry fans and frustrated players, the team played to a 3-1 loss last night that was indicative of the season they had. To add insult to injury, the Leafs, who were playing at home, played before a house full of Habs fans. There was no question who the fans were pulling for.

Of course there are other teams that did not make the playoffs. But the Leafs are one of the teams that really did not have much of a reason for not playing better this season. Teams like the Oilers that had their line up crippled with injuries fought like the devil to win games. Nashville, a team that no one expected to see post season found a way to win. The Leafs had their chances but something just did not click. I remember the preseason games and the way that the Leafs looked unprepared or uninterested and I thought, “Oh boy, here we go again”.

A few years ago when it looked like Canada would lose some NHL teams the Leafs were not on that list. They had the money to sustain their team and acquire talented players and pay them high salaries. However the Leafs went out and got mediocre guys and paid them top dollar.

Interviews with Leaf management, owners and players display little more than anger and a lack of faith. No one associated with the organization seems to be happy or even glad to be involved in hockey. Captain Mats Sundin has a questionable future with retirement and free agency be two other options he has instead of remaining a Leaf. Other players that did not produce this year run the risk of being traded or having their contract bought out. As for Paul Maurice, who knows what will happen with him. First a new general manager must be put in place since Fletcher made clear when he took over mid season, that he was not interested in keeping the job.

As the leagues’ most valuable team, financially, the Toronto Maple Leafs need to find a way to win back fans and put a decent team on the ice. The idea that Leaf owners are more interested in making money instead of having a winning team is one that they can not argue with at this point. Being ranked number one in Forbes magazine and not making the playoffs is not doing anything to show that the owners really care about the team or winning games. The summer needs to be one of complete and total change and the players that come back have to have good attitudes about the team and hockey in general.

As for Sundin, the Leafs should get his status as soon as possible. Although Toronto, as bitter as it is about not making the playoffs for a third straight season, may seem like a bleak place to play hockey next year, Sundin may be up for at least one more season. I doubt he wants to end his NHL career or his long running stint as Leaf captain with the season that just ended.

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1 Comment(s)

  1. untreatable | Apr 28, 2008 | Reply

    I think the fans of the Leafs need to hold some blame. Win, lose or draw they pack the arena every single time. Maybe if management believed that the win/loss record had a direct impact on the number of seats sold they would actually try to put forth a winning team.

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