Friday, July 10, 2009

Leafs, Tampering and a Modest Proposal

In 1986, the Detroit Red Wings were so bad they might as well have played in boots.

Coach Harry Neale got the team off to a 8-23-4 record before being fired. His replacement Brad Park was even worse, going 9-34-2 the rest of the way.

At the end of the '86 season, Red Wings GM Jim Devellano knew he had to make a change behind the bench and offered the coaching job to Jacques Demers.

There was one problem though, Demers was under contract to the St. Louis Blues.

Oh, and Devellano decided he'd phone Demers each and every week to check on Demers on-going contract negotiations with St. Louis. Those phone records ended up on the front page of the Detroit News.

You can't get a more clear cut case of tampering.

The Blues filed a grievance with the NHL and the league found in the Blues' favour.

The Red Wings punishment? They had to play one exhibition game against the Blues each year for 3 years in a city of St. Louis' choosing with the gate receipts going to the Blues.

A few weeks back, Ron Wilson mentioned that the Leafs might possibly be considering maybe offering the Sedins a UFA contract. It was 30 seconds of inconsequential media blather.

The Vancouver media (but notably, not the Canucks) cried foul, charging the Leafs with tampering.

Clearly, there's very little to these charges from Canucks fans and the media chorus, but I think MLSE should offer to meet Vancouver half-way.

Here's my proposal:

I think the Leafs should offer to play Vancouver in an exhibition match in the city of Vancouver's choosing once a year for the next three years. Doesn't matter where the game takes place - Seattle, Kansas City or Manch Picchu - those three games would be a great chance for Leaf fans to come out and see their favourite team play and to turn the games into a "home" game for the Blue and White.

Vancouver gets some additional gate revenue, Leaf fans get to cheer on their favourite team and hockey fans everywhere get to put an end to the whining.

Seems to me, this is a punishment that fits the crime.


  1. "those three games would be a great chance for Leaf fans to come out and see their favourite team play and to turn the games into a "home" game for the Blue and White."
    Sounds like we should just hold them in GM place then. The bonus would be that the three of four thousand Canucks fans in existence would get to see a real hockey team as well.

  2. Paul Steckley2:48 p.m.

    Or MLSE could just send a box of pacifiers and Pablum to each member of the Vancouver media. A well fed baby with its mouth full usually doesn't cry.

  3. That's a terrific idea, MF37.

  4. Just send tickets to a Leafs preseason game for three years to the 15 year old kid that started the whole thing. It was only an attention getting device by someone who wants to grow up to be a lawyer or a politician. Well, he's got the right mentality for the job...

  5. Anonymous2:06 p.m.

    The Canucks have spanked the Leafs consistently for so many years now it has become boring and predictable and if the Maple Leafs are deemed "a real team", I will stick to the fake leaf beating team that we have.