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11-23-2012, 06:53 AM
Leaf Opinionist
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Canada/Africa
Posts: 3,450
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Thanks for the response Chuck.
Try not to assume I'm a Burke hater. In fact, I think he's doing a good job with the re-structuring, and I've been called a homer at least as much as I've been called a hater for my own articles regarding Burke. Cant please everyone, I guess...

Regarding your second point, I absolutely disagree with you. Historically this may have been so, because you had just 2 teams getting all the HNIC love once upon a time; MTL and TOR. English speaking Canada embraced the Leafs coast to coast as a result. Things are different now, and the emergence of other teams ie. OTT mean that monopoly in terms of TV time is not a certainty. NHL TV packages make the competition for attention outside of your local market even tougher. If the quality of the product slips, or gets surpassed by other sports and entertainment products, that core group of corporate sponsors may realize a shrinking TV audience doesnt represent the best bang for their buck, especially if the demographic demonstrates a significant shift in interest.

Hockey as a whole doesn't have the same impact on Canadian society as it once did. Minor hockey enrolment is down, and the fan base isnt really expanding. Fan interest in sports as a whole is diversifying to reflect a more multicultural society and as a result, increased interest in Basketball, Soccer, and baseball represents shrinking market opportunity for the Leafs. If the product stinks in comparison to other local products, it isn't a stretch to assume people will find other, less frustrating means of entertainment.

Despite Burke's work with the club at various levels, the product has not improved since 2008. All those wonderful and "fantastic youth" acquisitions do not equate to a team that can compete over sustained periods at this point, some 4 and a half years later. Try to remember the rest of the league has also acquired its share of "fantastic youth" as well, and are in fact, widening the gap in terms of overall talent, in many cases.

Ultimately, the only way to preserve both fan and corporate interest for the Maple Leafs is to play better hockey. All the rationale and in depth analyses of Burke's impact on the organization means precious little if they don't ice a better product. If we want to pretend the new owners at MLSE aren't deliberating this very point then that's a personal choice. Rhyming off the names of our prospects ad nauseum won't retain fan interest, especially given the propensity for youth in Toronto to fold like a cheap suit, historically speaking. Most of the Leafs' best prospects (Schenn being the latest victim) ultimately collapse under the enormous weight of fan/media expectations and/or premature exposure. I wouldn't count on the kids being the catalyst to turn it around in Toronto; the primary reason I supported Burke's decision to deal picks for Kessel. Seguin in a Leaf jersey is not the same Seguin you see today, having benefitted from playing on a deep, balanced Bruins team.

Re your fifth point, I don't know what you're getting at there. I see the organization as a more healthier one today, but I see a changing demographic, and local pro sports clubs also becoming healthier/more prominent as well. If the fan base shrinks, corporate sponsors may invest less in the Leafs and more in other areas where fan interest is growing. Again, your best defense is to improve the product. It's pretty simple.

Last edited by Durkin67: 11-23-2012 at 06:59 AM.
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