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70's Leafs - What would have been without Ballard?

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Old
07-16-2011, 01:10 AM
  #1
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70's Leafs - What would have been without Ballard?

Twitter convo kinda got me interested in this what-if scenario.

Had the Leafs had a management that was a halfway decent person unlike Harold Ballard do you think they could have become a championship team? Sorry if this has been asked before just when you look back at all the names they had back in the 70s and 80s it seems like they could have won at least one. Granted I seriously doubt they could go up against the Oilers or Islanders dynasty but to the hockey history buffs here do you think the Leafs of old could've been a serious competitor if Ballard hadn't screwed the pooch on the players he had?

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07-16-2011, 12:20 PM
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Kyle McMahon
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The assemblage of players they had was never good enough that a championship was a realistic expectation. I'm not really sure who all these "names" were. Sittler, Salming, and McDonald give you a good foundation, but there was little else to write home about on those 70's teams, which were pretty much average. By the 80's, the cupboard was almost completely bare.

Pretty much any less-than-great team might have been better under different management. Ballard was obviously a very detrimental figure, but there's really nothing to suggest the Leafs would have all of a sudden been contenders if he were removed during the period in question.

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07-16-2011, 02:07 PM
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No, they simply didnt have the wheels' to get them there. Its' hard to say what "might have been" had Stafford Smythe not died, Ballard acquiring control of the Leafs & MLG's (while behind bars of course). Imlachs' firing earlier, and the last cup win in 67 that many argue was accomplished despite his iron fisted rule was one thing, but really, the franchise began to deteriorate when Conn Smythe left, creation of the draft, the team running on fumes, the old guard simply fading away into retirement. The completely dysfunctional transition from Armstrong to Keon post expansion & the latters shabby treatment by the organization, the Mahovolich trade etc etc etc was all pretty hard to stomach let alone fathom for generations of fans, many, myself included, drifting away altogether throughout the 70's & 80's. Pretty sad really.

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07-16-2011, 06:15 PM
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No, they simply didnt have the wheels' to get them there. Its' hard to say what "might have been" had Stafford Smythe not died, Ballard acquiring control of the Leafs & MLG's (while behind bars of course). Imlachs' firing earlier, and the last cup win in 67 that many argue was accomplished despite his iron fisted rule was one thing, but really, the franchise began to deteriorate when Conn Smythe left, creation of the draft, the team running on fumes, the old guard simply fading away into retirement. The completely dysfunctional transition from Armstrong to Keon post expansion & the latters shabby treatment by the organization, the Mahovolich trade etc etc etc was all pretty hard to stomach let alone fathom for generations of fans, many, myself included, drifting away altogether throughout the 70's & 80's. Pretty sad really.
The Maple Leafs of all the O6 teams made the worst transition from the sponsorship era to the draft era. By the time Harold Ballard took over there was little depth with no extra future draft picks in the bank.

Given what they had their record thru the 1970's was better than expected. You referred to the Keon fiasco which denied the team a veteran presence who knew the basics of winning. But the major loss to the WHA was Bernie Parent who resurfaced with the Flyers. If the Leafs had better goaltending in the 1970's, which Parent would have provided they may have been contenders.

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07-16-2011, 06:29 PM
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Maybe this question needs to be expanded a bit to include (and apologies to the OP I'm not trying to hijack the thread ), or maybe reworded-what is it about Toronto that even post Ballard it seems to have had different levels of dysfunction? I am aware of the 90's and the Conference Finals, but Toronto seems to be the only team that (and I may be wrong) has NEVER gone the "tear it down, build through the draft to build a strong foundation" strategy-it's just always seemed to me, even post Ballard, that whoever was in charge, there has never been a full rebuild-I'd have to say Burke is the closest any Toronto GM has done(and please leave out "hard to build without draft picks"-yes he screwed up on the Kessel trade, we get the point).

Before lockout, okay they could spend their way and buy up talent to make playoffs (though never built solid foundation ala Detroit), but after lockout, were they really that clueless?

Perhaps as alluded, just like the post O6 era, they really had a hard time transitioning to the Post Lockout era?

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07-16-2011, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Tinalera View Post
Maybe this question needs to be expanded a bit to include (and apologies to the OP I'm not trying to hijack the thread ), or maybe reworded-what is it about Toronto that even post Ballard it seems to have had different levels of dysfunction? I am aware of the 90's and the Conference Finals, but Toronto seems to be the only team that (and I may be wrong) has NEVER gone the "tear it down, build through the draft to build a strong foundation" strategy-it's just always seemed to me, even post Ballard, that whoever was in charge, there has never been a full rebuild-I'd have to say Burke is the closest any Toronto GM has done(and please leave out "hard to build without draft picks"-yes he screwed up on the Kessel trade, we get the point).

Before lockout, okay they could spend their way and buy up talent to make playoffs (though never built solid foundation ala Detroit), but after lockout, were they really that clueless?

Perhaps as alluded, just like the post O6 era, they really had a hard time transitioning to the Post Lockout era?
The Leafs were rebuilding in the 1980s, it was just not done very well.

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07-16-2011, 08:05 PM
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It is unlikely that one or two players would get them to unseat the Habs back then. I don't even think they'd have been at the Bruins level. It hurt them a bit to let go of Dave Keon though in 1975. Bernie Parent's departure proved to be costly too. We know it was Ballard that drove Keon out but I'm not sure how much involvement he had on Parent.

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07-16-2011, 09:55 PM
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It is unlikely that one or two players would get them to unseat the Habs back then. I don't even think they'd have been at the Bruins level. It hurt them a bit to let go of Dave Keon though in 1975. Bernie Parent's departure proved to be costly too. We know it was Ballard that drove Keon out but I'm not sure how much involvement he had on Parent.
Ballard did the same to Parent over money.

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07-16-2011, 09:57 PM
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It is unlikely that one or two players would get them to unseat the Habs back then. I don't even think they'd have been at the Bruins level. It hurt them a bit to let go of Dave Keon though in 1975. Bernie Parent's departure proved to be costly too. We know it was Ballard that drove Keon out but I'm not sure how much involvement he had on Parent.
Me neither, but at the end of the 71-72 season he didnt have a Contract, becoming the first NHL'er to sign with the WHA, the Miami (great handle huh?) Screaming Eagles who quickly became the Philadelphia Blazers. He only played 2 seasons in Toronto, splitting games with his childhood hero, Jacques Plante, who did much to improve Parents' game. Ron Low & Gord McRae replaced Parent, Plante moving on after the 72-73 season.

Parents NHL rights were traded to Philly for Doug Favell who had performed extremely well for the Flyers & who had previously shared duties with Parent;, who signed with the Flyers & returned to the NHL from the WHA. Favell was the workhorse in Toronto for a couple of years with various backups while his former team & playing partner went on to win a couple of Stanley Cups. Former Marlie Mike Palmateer arrived in 76 bringing some stability, albeit of the Showboat variety, but stability none the less, with a decent run against the up&coming Islanders for a couple of seasons & that was about it for the decade, Ballard just warming up for Act2 & the 80's, ushering in that decade with the return of Hockey Neanderthal Man George "Punch" Imlach.

The best description of the Leafs in the 70's Ive read is in Ken Dryden's "The Game", a Toronto boy who would know a thing or three about it, and something about "how sad it was to be playing in the once proud Maple Leaf Gardens against an earnest but very pedestrian team" being run by a Buffoon or something to that effect, though Im sure Ken wouldnt have used that term. Dryden himself, along with Cheevers & countless others who went on to HHOF careers was at one time either under Contract to or available to the Leafs in the 60's. The last Leaf to win the Calder was Brit Selby (63?), before him Kent Douglas, and before Douglas, Dave Keon. Talented & creative players were eaten alive in Toronto, from the aforementioned to Carl Brewer, Mahovolich, Mike Walton, Sittler etc etc..... This is what happens when the owner of a team insists on interfering with mgmnt, being a bigger star than the players, the building, the game itself. I shudder to think what mightve become of the franchise had the guy lived another couple of decades.


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07-16-2011, 10:20 PM
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Me neither, but at the end of the 71-72 season he didnt have a Contract, becoming the first NHL'er to sign with the WHA, the Miami (great handle huh?) Screaming Eagles who quickly became the Philadelphia Blazers. He only played 2 seasons in Toronto, splitting games with his childhood hero, Jacques Plante, who did much to improve Parents' game. Ron Low & Gord McRae replaced Parent, Plante moving on after the 72-73 season.

Parents NHL rights were traded to Philly for Doug Favell who had performed extremely well for the Flyers & who had previously shared duties with Parent;, who signed with the Flyers & returned to the NHL from the WHA. Favell was the workhorse in Toronto for a couple of years with various backups while his former team & playing partner went on to win a couple of Stanley Cups. Former Marlie Mike Palmateer arrived in 76 bringing some stability, albeit of the Showboat variety, but stability none the less, with a decent run against the up&coming Islanders for a couple of seasons & that was about it for the decade, Ballard just warming up for Act2 & the 80's, ushering in that decade with the return of Hockey Neanderthal George "Punch" Imlach.

The best description of the Leafs in the 70's is Ken Dryden's passages' in his book "The Game", something about "how sad it was to be playing in the once proud Maple Leaf Gardens against an earnest but very pedestrian team" being run by a Buffoon or something to that effect, though Im sure Kenny wouldnt have used that term. Dryden himself, along with Cheevers & countless others who went on to HHOF careers was at one time either under Contract to or available to the Leafs in the 60's. The last Leaf to win the Calder was Brit Selby, before him Kent Douglas, and before Douglas, Dave Keon. Talented & creative players were eaten alive in Toronto, from the aforementioned to Carl Brewer, Mike Walton & beyond.
No matter how one looks at the Leafs, no matter what angle, its an enigma wrapped in a puzzle: Toronto strikes me as the only team, O6 or otherwise, to have management as seemingly inept as it was, yet have the success of sellouts/or near sellouts every dang game. Financially currently one of, if not THE, most successful team in the league. One has to wonder (and this is not meant as a slam)but at one point do we look away from Ballard and hold the fans feet to the fire a bit, saying "Ballard was bad, no question, yet you continued to sell out the gardens every game, despite how he treated his players and you the fans-why did you do that?" The fans kept selling out and paying for such a mediocre product-there never has been (and even still today) no motivation whatsoever to change what seems to be a winning (financially anyway) formula.

Cup? Who cares about a cup when you've got a sellout every night? (That seemed to be the mindset anyway).

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07-16-2011, 11:08 PM
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Cup? Who cares about a cup when you've got a sellout every night? (That seemed to be the mindset anyway).
Actually TL, I can tell you that on an anecdotal level through the 70's Ballard honestly did think he knew better than his management & besides, if they disagreed, theres the door. My team. My way or the highway. He seriously expected to win the Stanley Cup every fall, or at the very least, go deep. It wasnt until about the 79-82 seasons when it really started to unwind with Imlach's return, the Lanny MacDonald trade, Sittler cutting the 'C' off of his jersey, Imlach having another heart attack, 20 something Stellick replacing him, the hiring & firing of numerous coaches & GM's thereafter that it really went crazy. The Leafs were competitive through the 70's, just a few players short & God Love Red Kelly but a brilliant Coach & GM away from being very dangerous.

By the time of the Imlach Episode however, many fans had in fact had enough, myself included, but there was just enough of the old mystique & great memories to draw you back to the Gardens for a game from time-time. Vaive, Leeman & others were talented players, fun to watch win lose or draw. Really, it wasnt until Ballard was Dead & Buried & Stavro's, Fletcher, Quinn et al got their hands on the reins that things got semi-righted as you know. By that time however, and due to the teams limited success over the past 20yrs, the last decade again utterly pathetic & forgettable, many a fan has given up the ghost. To me as well as many others, the loss of the Gardens was a seminal moment. Its no longer a matter of fan support, hasnt been for 10yrs. MLSE is a machine. It caters to a corporate audience. Whole other animal & level than anywhere else.

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07-16-2011, 11:29 PM
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Counterpoint

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Actually TL, I can tell you that on an anecdotal level through the 70's Ballard honestly did think he knew better than his management & besides, if they disagreed, theres the door. My team. My way or the highway. He seriously expected to win the Stanley Cup every fall, or at the very least, go deep. It wasnt until about the 79-82 seasons when it really started to unwind with Imlach's return, the Lanny MacDonald trade, Sittler cutting the 'C' off of his jersey, Imlach having another heart attack, 20 something Stellick replacing him, the hiring & firing of numerous coaches & GM's thereafter that it really went crazy. The Leafs were competitive through the 70's, just a few players short & God Love Red Kelly but a brilliant Coach & GM away from being very dangerous.

By the time of the Imlach Episode however, many fans had in fact had enough, myself included, but there was just enough of the old mystique & great memories to draw you back to the Gardens for a game from time-time. Vaive, Leeman & others were talented players, fun to watch win lose or draw. Really, it wasnt until Ballard was Dead & Buried & Stavro's, Fletcher, Quinn et al got their hands on the reins that things got semi-righted as you know. By that time however, and due to the teams limited success over the past 20yrs, the last decade again utterly pathetic & forgettable, many a fan has given up the ghost. To me as well as many others, the loss of the Gardens was a seminal moment. Its no longer a matter of fan support, hasnt been for 10yrs. MLSE is a machine. It caters to a corporate audience. Whole other animal & level than anywhere else.
Your analysis is right on but there is the counterpoint question.

Which brilliant coach or GM would agree to work under the circumstances that existed starting with the 1967 expansion?

Old Leafs no longer fit the description and outsiders would not see the job as a career opportunity unless solid guarantees were in place.

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07-17-2011, 12:21 AM
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Your analysis is right on but there is the counterpoint question.

Which brilliant coach or GM would agree to work under the circumstances that existed starting with the 1967 expansion?

Old Leafs no longer fit the description and outsiders would not see the job as a career opportunity unless solid guarantees were in place.
And of course, therein lay the problem. Yes they had a really decent core to build around, no one in management capable of executing due to the running interference. One couldnt help but feel so sorry for Gregory, Kelley, Roger Neilson, Hell, I even wound up liking & sympathizing with Wildman from the old Eastern League John Brophy for what he was being put through. Imagine; toiling in the minors as a player, coach & executive, you finally get a call from the "Bigs", only problem is Harold Ballards on the other end of the line. Poor olde Johnny. We hardly knew ye'..... happily, he never did go on that 3 province, 4 state murder spree he looked more than capable of committing pretty much every night I saw him standing behind the Leafs bench. Returned to Hampton Roads & self respect.


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07-17-2011, 12:48 AM
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We'll never know. Many here are just stating what we know, but we
don't. We'll never know what kind of management we could have had.
Maybe those cores, could have been augmented. Proper people drafted, players being shown respect, along with their GM and coach.
Those last aspects I mentioned are close to being guaranteed. It
had to better than Pal Hal.

We could have saved some lives too.

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07-17-2011, 01:13 AM
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We'll never know. Many here are just stating what we know, but we don't. We'll never know what kind of management we could have had. Maybe those cores, could have been augmented. Proper people drafted, players being shown respect, along with their GM and coach. Those last aspects I mentioned are close to being guaranteed. It had to be better than Pal Hal.

We could have saved some lives too.
Very true. I played minor hockey with the older brother of one of those of whom you speak.... That the franchise & Gardens should have been so cursed through the mans rein of error & terror is just beyond comprehension. Beyond appalling.

It was rumored that Bert Olmstead was in line to take over from Coach John McLellan in the early 70's, something that unfortunately never transpired. I always thought that he'd have been able to have done wonders with the talent the Leafs had. One of the few people in hockey that Ballard respected. Given the authority & autonomy...... but really, lets face it, you could have pulled Sam Pollock out of Montreal and Ballard wouldve second guessed him & messed even that up.


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07-17-2011, 03:58 AM
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Pretty cool topic. Haven't thought of this before but honestly, when did the Leafs actually go through a rebuilding period in the last 30 years? I suppose it's a factor of the media scrutiny that prevents Toronto GMs from biting the bullet and setting up a legitimate 5 year plan. Burke seems to at least understand the importance of this.

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07-17-2011, 06:29 AM
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The best description of the Leafs in the 70's Ive read is in Ken Dryden's "The Game", a Toronto boy who would know a thing or three about it, and something about "how sad it was to be playing in the once proud Maple Leaf Gardens against an earnest but very pedestrian team" being run by a Buffoon or something to that effect, though Im sure Ken wouldnt have used that term. Dryden himself, along with Cheevers & countless others who went on to HHOF careers was at one time either under Contract to or available to the Leafs in the 60's. The last Leaf to win the Calder was Brit Selby (63?), before him Kent Douglas, and before Douglas, Dave Keon. Talented & creative players were eaten alive in Toronto, from the aforementioned to Carl Brewer, Mahovolich, Mike Walton, Sittler etc etc..... This is what happens when the owner of a team insists on interfering with mgmnt, being a bigger star than the players, the building, the game itself. I shudder to think what mightve become of the franchise had the guy lived another couple of decades.
Dryden's scathing account--The rivalry with the Leafs? What rivalry? The Leafs killed it long ago--is what came to my mind, too, when I saw this post. Later, of course, Dryden went to work for the Leafs, and I thought he either admired a huge challenge or was into doing charity work, perhaps both.

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07-17-2011, 07:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pyrophorus View Post
We'll never know. Many here are just stating what we know, but we
don't. We'll never know what kind of management we could have had.
Maybe those cores, could have been augmented. Proper people drafted, players being shown respect, along with their GM and coach.
Those last aspects I mentioned are close to being guaranteed. It
had to better than Pal Hal.

We could have saved some lives too.
What did Ballard do? I read his wiki article. I saw the fraud case and everyrhing, read that he was not liked and feuds occured all the time. But what do you mean by "lives could be saved". Really don't know.

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07-17-2011, 08:03 AM
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Ballard was one of those owners that never really got aclimated to the expansion. He didn't know how to adjust to the new, more dynamic game.

He single handedly destroyed Keons career...because he could.

He was totally against foreign players. If not for him being in prison at the time, Salming would have NEVER been a Leaf.

He is the reason I am not a Leaf fan (Toronto is my hometown)

The Leafs seemed to do enough to make the playoffs every so often and to be honest, Ballard ALWAYS seemed to get the spotlight turned onto him ...and that Yolanda ..oh..that Yolanda...

The fact that the Leafs always sell out is the reason for no motivation to build a winning team. After Ballard and even now, the current owners are in it, not to win, but just to make sure all seats are filled. If they build a winning team, that just means more profits are eaten away and not a very large ROI coming back. How it is now is very comfortable...a club that plays....very branded name..why try when right now, you do almost nothing and the club makes money. It's purely business.

I am almost hoping Hamilton or a team close by gets a team.. they will lose the monopoly and begin to struggle if they keep this poor play up.

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07-17-2011, 09:22 AM
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What did Ballard do? I read his wiki article. I saw the fraud case and everyrhing, read that he was not liked and feuds occured all the time. But what do you mean by "lives could be saved". Really don't know.
Probably referring to the child abuse scandal at MLG?

With regards to the Leafs, I think the organization just got unlucky with owners, maybe because the team is so valuable it attracts people and groups for the wrong reason. Ballard was a disaster, but it's not like Stavros or the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan would ever be confused with Mike Illitch or George Steinbrenner either.

A complete rebuild in Toronto I think is all but impossible, the approach is always neither here nor there. Burke himself seems somewhat undecided. I think the media and fan hype makes it hard to quietly construct a championship team, there's always a temptation to think "we are the Toronto Maple Leafs" and think success is around the corner. I think in such an environment it's more difficult than anywhere else to know when to blow it up or when to add just a few key pieces, because everything is distorted.

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07-17-2011, 11:33 AM
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What did Ballard do? I read his wiki article. I saw the fraud case and everyrhing, read that he was not liked and feuds occured all the time. But what do you mean by "lives could be saved". Really don't know.
Pyrophorus is referring to the sexual abuse scandal that broke in the late 90's. Dozens of by then grown men coming forward who had suffered at the hands of a few employees' at Maple Leaf Gardens from the mid-60's through the 70's & early 80's under Ballards watch. One of the victims committed suicide. Ken Dryden was President of the Leafs at the time the story broke which was more than fortuitous, as it really took a class act to have the intelligence, savvy & sensitivity to handle it openly & honestly. He apparently did much in providing apologies, financial compensation and solace, closure for the victims & family of the deceased.

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Ballard was a disaster, but it's not like Stavros or the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan would ever be confused with Mike Illitch or George Steinbrenner either.
Very true. Dave Keon was invited back for numerous events after Ballard's death, during the Stavro's & OTPP reigns, refusing only until recently, having watched from afar for years & coming to the conclusion, as many have & do, that they were "no different than Ballard, so why should I?". I rather doubt that he's changed his mind much about that, but for the sake of fraternity, might as well bury the hatchet. Not getting any younger. Tick tock. But still, he'll be far from a "regular" visitor to the ACC or participant in Leaf events anytime soon.


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07-17-2011, 12:54 PM
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Pretty cool topic. Haven't thought of this before but honestly, when did the Leafs actually go through a rebuilding period in the last 30 years? I suppose it's a factor of the media scrutiny that prevents Toronto GMs from biting the bullet and setting up a legitimate 5 year plan. Burke seems to at least understand the importance of this.
Yeah, but even Burke has made some dumbell trades. Losing out on the Seguin/Hall sweepstakes in favour of one dimensional Kessel. Signing Tim "don't pat me on the back I'm injury prone" Connolly. Winning a ton of games at the end of the 2008 and 2009 seasons when they were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs hurt too. In 2009 they literally got themselves out of a lottery spot by winning the final game of the season. This literally is the reason they drafted Kadri and not Schenn. Would anyone take Kadri over Schenn? Me neither.

Toronto is always not good enough to make the playoffs but not terrible enough (Pittsburgh, Edmonton, Chicago) to rebuild and get the high end draft picks to build around. Two of those three teams have won Cups in the last three years. Edmonton looks destined to win also. Toronto? Well, they signed Matthew Lombardi.....................

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07-17-2011, 03:02 PM
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I think Burke was guilty of reading his own press clippings when he arrived in Toronto. I think if it had been most other teams, he'd have started a proper rebuild. But the Toronto media worshipped and portrayed him as some sort of God that would have the Leafs sipping champagne in the very near future. The stroking of Burke's ego led him to believe that "I'm Brian Burke, and damn it, I can turn this also-ran into a champion with just a couple of my patented genius moves!"

Three years later, and the Leafs are pretty much where they were when he arrived, spinning their wheels. Burke has tweaked and tinkered, and made a couple of high profile trades, but Kessel and Phaneuf are complimentary players, not the foundation for championships. When questioned on why a team that was only missing the playoffs by a few points has been turned into a doormat by Burke, as opposed to improving like he and everyone just assumed, he likes to spin things with non-sensical comments like "We're building this the right way, finishing 7th or 8th and losing in the playoffs is stupid". Really? I think that's better than finishing 12th or 13th, and I think most Leaf fans would agree.

The "we don't believe in offer sheets" stance is just another sign that Burke has pretty much become a stubborn, irrelevent dinosaur by this point.

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07-17-2011, 07:09 PM
  #24
arrbez
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveat View Post
The fact that the Leafs always sell out is the reason for no motivation to build a winning team. After Ballard and even now, the current owners are in it, not to win, but just to make sure all seats are filled. If they build a winning team, that just means more profits are eaten away and not a very large ROI coming back. How it is now is very comfortable...a club that plays....very branded name..why try when right now, you do almost nothing and the club makes money. It's purely business.
Eh, I don't really get this line of thinking. The Leafs have never been a team that you could accuse of being cheap in the post-Ballard years (like Chicago was with Wirtz, for instance). They're always in the top-half of the league in salary, and they may spend more than any other team in terms of non-cap assets (scouting, management, coaching, etc). If the owners wanted nothing but profit, they could ice 22 warm bodies and just stay above the cap floor. And they certainly wouldn't throw around the kind of money they do at veteran non-player personnel (Burke, Nonis, Dudley, Allaire, Wilson, etc). If a team wants to save money, promoting management and coaches from the AHL or junior is a good start.

The truth is, nothing makes money like a deep playoff run. Not only the 10+ home games that they sell at exorbitant prices, but the boatloads of merchandise they sell as well.

I have never for a second believed that Leafs ownership doesn't want to win. I have believed on many occasions that they were bumbling idiots, but that's a different story.

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07-17-2011, 07:46 PM
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Toronto is always not good enough to make the playoffs but not terrible enough (Pittsburgh, Edmonton, Chicago) to rebuild and get the high end draft picks to build around. Two of those three teams have won Cups in the last three years. Edmonton looks destined to win also.
We'll see with Edmonton, but there's another side to that coin as well.


Columbus:
- eleven top-10 picks in twelve year franchise history
- This includes four top-5 picks
- Results: one playoff appearance ending in a sweep

Atlantapeg:
-10 top-10 picks in 13 year franchise history
-These picks include: 1st, 1st, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th overall
- Results: one playoff appearance ending in a sweep

Florida is another team that has had their shot at many a blue chip prospect with little on-ice return.

It's not always a guarantee, and you can't control how good a draft is. Luck has a lot to do with it in some cases. On top of doing things "the right way", Pittsburgh got pretty damn lucky to win that first overall pick in the Crosby lottery, and that their 2nd overall the season before happened to be in a draft with just two monumental can't-miss talents and not a whole lot else. A bad bounce of the ping pong ball either year, and it's hard to say that's a Cup-winning team in 2008.

Being completely terrible can work out beautifully, but it can also result in just being a poor team forever.


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