Thursday, May 08, 2008

Blind faith

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special “Hey” goes out to Hazel Mae if she is checking in.

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced that they had relieved coach Paul Maurice of his duties – that was about the only tangible thing members of Leaf Nation took away from yesterday’s press conference. “Interim” GM Cliff Fletcher waxed on about a new era – new management, a new coach and some new players – but those in attendance, and members of the Nation are left to speculate about what it all means.

As things stand now, the NHL’s flagship franchise is without a “permanent” GM, a head coach and a Captain, as Mats Sundin has yet to make a decision on his future. While some have been quick to point to this very fact as proof positive about how dysfunctional the organization is – some, yours truly included, are wondering if this is the beginning of the gutting process before Brian Burke comes to Toronto after the 2008/09 season.

The Maple Leafs have asked the Vancouver Canucks for permission to speak to recently fired GM Dave Nonis – while the naysayers point to Nonis’ less that stellar performance in Vancouver; some of the more astute members of the Toronto media have not overlooked the fact that Brian Burke’s best friend in hockey is…you guessed it Dave Nonis.

What better way to convince Burke not to sign an extension with Anaheim, than to sign his closest confidant to a position in the organization – say, Asst. GM to Cliff Fletcher (with the understanding that he would be defacto GM until Burke comes on the scene) – to start the rebuilding process prior to his arrival.

After publicly stating that he would remain in Anaheim for the 2008/09 season, Burke has yet to sign the extension offered by Ducks ownership a couple of months back. Burke has rarely pulled any punches when asked about his feelings – it wouldn’t be a reach to speculate that Burke’s refusal to sign an extension is his way of publicly showing his displeasure that the Ducks changed their public stance of not preventing him from seeking other opportunities.

IF the Maple Leafs sign Dave Nonis, it would be a clear message to Burke that the organization is indeed willing to wait until the 2009/10 season. It would also force the Ducks hand with respect to their contractual obligations towards Burke – why would they want to retain a GM, albeit a great GM, when his head is likely a few thousand miles away.

Granted, this is all conjecture and a giant leap of faith (hope) – but that is pretty much what Leaf Nation is resigned to these days.

In the world of baseball – Toronto native Joey Votto hit three home runs and drove in four to lead the Cincinnati Reds to a 9-0 pounding of the Chicago Cubs.

The total is looking very good this week (so far) after a 3-0 night on Tuesday – didn’t I tell you about A.J. Burnett? Today’s suggestions:

Minnesota over Chicago – upset special. White Sox starter John Danks hasn’t been very effective against the Twins; at least Kevin Slowey has one good start against the White Sox. Lay $100 on the Twins + $140.

Arizona over Philadelphia – Brandon Webb goes for the Dbacks against tough guy Brett Myers – take Webb to punch Myers out. Lay $100 on the Dbacks - $155.

Seattle over Texas – Felix Hernandez goes for the Mariners – enough said. Lay $100 on Seattle - $175.

That’s it for today gang – if you are a member of Leaf Nation, keep the faith…Burke is coming.

Hazel, here’s hoping things are groovy in your world.

I’m Out!


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