Friday, February 02, 2007

False Dichotomies

As the trade deadline approaches, the dominant media frame is clearly this:

i) the Leafs have to qualify for the post-season if JFJ is going to hold on to his job
ii) given the injuries plaguing the team, in order to make the playoffs, JFJ may have to be a buyer at the trade deadline.

This results in simple "buyer v. seller" media coverage rather than addressing some of the bigger questions about the future of the Maple Leafs.

I’d like to take a step back from this media frame and ask a few questions:

  1. Does anyone have a quote from anyone senior at MLSE or any other source indicating that JFJ needs to hit the post-season to keep his job?
  2. The Leafs are facing a Herculean task to qualify for the post-season looking at picking up at least 18 wins in the remaining 30 games. Any probability experts out there who want to calculate what odds are longer: the Leafs making the post-season or their scouts drafting an impact player from the soft-middle ground the Leafs seem to permanently inhabit (not good enough to threaten the post-season, not bad enough to draft high).
  3. Shouldn’t continued employment as the GM be contingent on achieving the best possible end for the organization?
  4. Why does the media have to deal in these false dichotomies…there’s more than two ways forward for this team (hint: they’re playing great hockey without Tucker...)
  5. Speaking of which, when it comes to dealing with Tucker’s impending UFA status, can’t JFJ figure out how to do what St.Louis and Pittsburgh did last year with Weight and Recchi respectively. Trade him to a contender with an implicit/informal agreement that he’ll re-sign back with the Leafs in the off-season. Get something for him now and get him signed up long-term in the summer.

Funny how a little win streak can change the way you look at things.

Does anyone really think the best thing for Leaf fans is to keep the bulk of this team together for next year?

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