Friday, April 13, 2007

Open Letter to Leafs Fans

I've been getting lots of hits lately from people who are looking for the advert/letter that the Leafs put in the Toronto Sun earlier this week. Luckily, the folks over at Torontoist have a scan and a full copy of the text.

You can read the whole thing, along with Torontoists commentary, here.

Here's what the actual ad said:

Thank you for your unwavering support during the 2006-07 season.

We are disappointed that we didn't achieve our primary goal of advancing to the playoffs and competing for the Stanley Cup. It has been an exciting season, with several teams in an unprecedented battle for the few final playoff spots. You were with us every step of the way.

Leafs fans are the greatest fans in hockey. We share your disappointment. However, we accomplished much along the way that puts us in a great position moving forward to pick up those few points in the standings needed to reach that next level.

This season provided exciting win streaks that resulted from outstanding team play in the face of injury and adversity; the further development of our young players; memorable tributes to Leafs legends Borje Salming, Red Kelly, and Hap Day; and the reunion of the 1967 Stanley Cup Champions.

Preparations for next season are already underway. We know we will be better next year as so many of our younger players will have gained from the experience. Every member of our staff will work diligently in the weeks and months ahead to continue to move the team forward toward the ultimate goal of bringing the Cup back to Toronto.

If I was the Leafs communications director, I don't know that this is the route I would have gone. A badly written letter in one of the Toronto dailies? Really? This is the best they could do?


  1. this was john ferguson writing this himself.
    you can tell, his prose is almost unmistakable. (available at blog)
    even if his prose is weak i would rather hear jfj speak directly to fans than a professional writer. i think its very obvious how much he cares about this team so i would give him an A for effort.

  2. Who cares about this apology. Will MLSE be returning any money they've hustled from these fans for so many years?

    Preparations are underway. What a joke.

    Over the last week, I've been reading commentary talking about how the Leafs' PK struggled without Peca in the lineup. How they had injury troubles. I even read Howard Berger's baffling assessment that Sundin was the problem, and recommended getting rid of him (what changed in a week. Toronto missed the playoffs...and suddenly, it's, 'trade Sundin'. Trade our best player - great idea, Howard).

    The fact is, the Leafs are a playoff team. They have extremely deep defense now, shockingly. They can lose TWO of their regulars, and still have Woz and Kronwall, guys with NHL experience, to insert into the lineup without resorting to Belak.

    Their forwards can score on all lines. They had the most double-digit scorers in the league. And these youngsters, like Steen, Stajan, Ponikarovsky, Wellwood, and others are just going to get better.

    But the fact is, Toronto has the worst goalie in the league. Insert any goalie from any current playoff team not named Tampa Bay, and Toronto is the 4th seed in the East.

    Raycroft is a joke of a goalie. He let down the team ALL SEASON. It doesn't matter how many fluffy articles I read in January discussing how strong he looked in net - those were nothing but puff pieces written for Raycroft himself to read, so maybe he would start playing like the goalie everybody hoped he would be.

    Who cares about the PK? Who cares if Sundin has a winger? None of those things matter if EVERY SINGLE GAME I hear the Leafs' colour man struggle to explain why Raycroft let in such a bad goal. "Just a hard shot, there." "Screened." "Incredible move!" Blah, blah. It's never Raycroft's fault.

    And worse, I read that Maurice intends to play Raycroft 65-70 games next year.

    We have no reason whatsover to imagine the team will be any better as long as Raycroft is in net. Talking about any other perceived fault on the team is like wondering why your car won't start, because it has no engine. "Well, I have these great tires - nice wing I put on the back...why won't it go?"

    The Leafs need hard, unemotional decisonmaking to turn this around. Raycroft has to go, and damn the cost. The experiment is a failure; it cost us Rask and a full season. Don't make it two.

    Sundin must be offered a lower contract so they have money to get a new goalie, and forward depth. The risk of ruffling Sundin's pride must be taken. Offer him 4 million per year. If he won't take it, pick up his extention and trade him. A salary that large cannot be accomodated.

    Trade Raycroft to anyone who will take him. It doesn't matter what they get back. Then acquire a new goalie, anybody.

    This has to be done, and the thing is, it just won't. Sundin will get his 5.5 or so per year. Raycroft will stay. Ian White and all the other young RFA's will be given 2 million salaries, and Ferguson will be left with about 1.5 million to add another retread for up front.

    And Toronto will be a .500 team, again.

    Yes, this is a rant. I'm seriously questioning why I am wasting any time following this hopeless team.

    MLSE should pull a Coleangelo. Offer Regier 5 million a year to GM the Leafs. Seeya Fergie. Nothing personal, you just stink. Or offer that cash to Lamouriello. Who else is a big name? Sutter? Holland?


    Damn it all.

  3. Luke - Thanks for the comment. I really doubt that JFJ wrote the advert. Either way, I'd much rather he spend his time fixing the team than writing copy apologizing for his mistakes.

    You can give him strong marks for caring, but he still gets a failing mark for his work on-ice (where it really matters).

    Wardo - Welcome back! Haven't heard from you in a dog's age.

    Looking at your comment, I guess you've been bottling it all up. The best thing the Leafs could have done was blown this team up coming out of the lockout; second best thing would have been to sell of their vets at the last two trading deadlines. Instead, the get stuck in the middle - not good enough to win, not bad enough to get proper help from the draft.

    The only answer: JFJ's gotta go.

  4. Anonymous4:01 pm

    It's been repeated ad nauseam but still rings true every time I hear it, or repeat it. How pathetic is the Leaf management team when they think the "next level" is squeaking into the playoffs as the eight seed? There is only one level in the NHL for an established franchise and that level is winning the Cup year after year. Anything else, including the thrilling runs to the semifinals under Burns and Quinn, is a failure, pure and simple.

    JFJ and MLSE: save me the apologies and promises and show me some results. Give me my Cup parade down Yonge. I, and every other loyal Leaf fan, deserve nothing less.