Thursday, March 06, 2008

Competing Interests?

Ack! Yesterday my blog entry was remarkably similar to Damien Cox's entry at the Spin. I'm not sure I'm down with this particular piece of synchronicity.

But Cox's column, Paul's comments on my blog entry and Paul Hunter's item in Today's Star all raise an interesting point: at what point does the organization put long-term interests ahead of the short-term W and L columns?

Now, before the tank brigade arrives (and while the rest of us wait for Darren Dreger to finish sounding out these multi-syllabic words) let me be clear: I'm not talking about anyone throwing games; I am not suggesting any player give anything less than 100%; I am not recommending a coach, player or anyone at MLSE take any action that brings the integrity of the team, league or sport into question (like, I don't know, the LA Kings recalling and actually playing Dan Cloutier).

I'm just wondering at what point Fletcher or someone at MLSE clues in and says it's time for Tlusty and Williams to have a regular shift, in all three periods and in all game situations. It's time to see Stralman on the PP, PK and ES. It's time to shut down the injured and infirm and to recall Earl. It's time for Toskala to take a well deserved night off and for Raycroft to see if he can keep his save percentage close to the .800s (or maybe even higher).

And while I'm completely and thoroughly convinced this club can't and won't make the playoffs, the last time the Leafs changed-up the goalies and gave the kids a chance, the team went 10 and 2 down the stretch.

As a Leaf fan, it sure would be nice to see the kids play so we can get a sense of what the future might hold. It would be great to get injured players off the ice and start getting them ready to play next year when it actually matters, and it sure wouldn't hurt to have a better shot in the draft lottery this summer.

4 comments:

  1. We're all playing from the same playbook. The last three games look pretty bad in terms of TOI for the kids.

    Good point about that 10-0-2 run that the Leafs went on with the kids and backup goalies. Maybe Pogge is the answer ;)

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  2. Paul Steckley4:00 pm

    Throwing a young goalie in when he's not developmentally ready would be the Leaf way. Let's hope MLSE recognizes the sarcastic spirit behind that suggestion and keeps him with the Marlies.

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  3. leafer876:55 pm

    Alec Branscombe of Hockeybuzz wrote a blog about this back on March 1 that was a good read. too lazy to find the link.

    but what 10-2 run are you talking about?

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  4. leafer87 - I was off by one, it wasn't 10-2 it was 9-2-2.

    During Pat Quinn's final season, Belfour couldn't play, Allison broke his hand, Lindros was out with a wrist injury and the team went with the kids. After losing back to back games against the Habs, the Leafs went 8-1-2 before being eliminated, and finished the year 9-2-2 in their last 13 games.

    They missed the playoffs by a point (maybe 2), Quinn was fired, and the next move they made was dealing Rask for Raycroft...

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