Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Rewarding Mediocrity

JFJ went before the MLSE board today and, according to Sportsnet, he will be back as Leafs GM for the 2007-2008 season.

Middling indecisiveness is exactly what's wrong with JFJ's tenure as a GM and, with this decision, it's clear that this malaise permeates right through the entire hockey organization.

This non-decision by the Board is a perfect example of why the hockey side of MLSE will continue to flounder and the team will continue to flirt with 10th place for the foreseeable future.

Hey, MLSE Board: if JFJ's your GM of choice, give him a new contract, get out of his way and let him build his team. If you don't think he's capable of building a cup contender, put a bullet in him and strike up a search committee.

JFJ's sins are legion and his successes are few and far between.

He's all about building talent from within, except for when he's trading picks and prospects for very limited returns. He has a strong eye for fourth line recovery projects and a blind eye for top-line talent.

JFJ may have his plan but, more importantly, the MLSE board clearly has no spine.


  1. Apparently a 2 to 3 year extension is in the works so that JFJ can put the finishing touches on the plan he presented.

    The ONLY good thing is that the board has allowed for continuity. Of course they gave it to the wrong guy...sigh.

  2. It doesn't sting as much if you realize that JFJ isn't going to win anything, but he will be responsible for laying the ground work.

  3. Ninja - I could handle the not winning if he were maximizing assets. Unfortunately, to paraphrase This is Spinal Tap, he's just treading water in a sea of mediocrity.

  4. Anonymous5:06 pm

    I think you're right on with your assessment, Mike. Even the sharpest GM in the game (which definitely isn't Ferguson) would have trouble operating under MLSE and a series of 1 year contracts. How can you commit to a long-term plan when your future is short-term?

    I don't like to cut Ferguson any slack but I can understand how difficult it must be for him to put his plan into place when he may never see it to its fruition and he's not being given a vote of confidence by his employers.

    It's been discussed in great detail on this blog that Ferguson won't make the hard decision to tear up the present team to build a better team for the future. How can he, though, when the Board won't commit to a long-term future with him? So long as the Pension Fund retains control over the team, it will never progress beyond middling, because their managing style dictates that type of result.

    As you said, decide if Ferguson is your guy or not. If he is, give him a few years to build up from within, if that is his plan, and see what happens. If he isn't, get rid of him and replace him with someone in which you have that level of confidence.

    The time to make this decision is now. Sundin will retire in the next few years. As mediocre as this team is right now, can you imagine what it will be like without their only true gamebreaker?

  5. mf, there is no arguing with you on that point. assets are not being maximized. but at the same time, institutional assets that weren't present a few years ago are still appreciating and adding value to the team. If anything JFJ is installing the the infrastructure for a team's hockey operations to function at a high level. And I suspect MLSE knows this; pay the young GM to set up shop, then bring in the big gun to make a run. I'd be very surprised to see JFJ last beyond 08-09 season.

  6. Anonymous12:59 pm

    The reason the Leafs keep giving JFJ one year contracts is they are looking for that Bryan Colangelo type of GM but no one will work for MLSE on the hockey side cuz 1: they will not give him control and 2: Money making comes before winning on the Hockey side.