Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I Got Sixteen Days, Got a Bible and a Rosary

Three quick(ish) points today:

1. The Interim-GM Title: Why all the confusion?

Is anyone else really sick and tired of the media’s hang-up on Fletcher’s interim title?

Was there this much hand-wringing and bloviating (Hockey News I’m looking at you!) when Flyer’s Interim-GM Paul Holmgren signed Mike Knuble and Sami Kapanen to contract extensions? Were the columnists in Philly and at the National outlets worried about the impact of trading Peter Forsberg?

To keep it more local, did Feschuk or Smith have an aneurysm when Embry dealt Jalen Rose, a 2006 first-round pick and an undisclosed amount of cash for Antonio Davis? Or when Embry unloaded Aaron Williams for a second round pick?

Was anyone concerned that the incoming President and GM of the Raptors or the Flyers might not approved of these decisions that were made by their interim predecessors?

I thought not.

So why all the concern about Fletcher? Why all the columns about the "circus" down at MLSE?

Not that the media would ever lower themselves to read a blog (they’re far more interested in telling people what Leaf fans think than they are in engaging in any sort of dialogue with said fan base) but if any of them should happen to swing by this lowly spot, I’ll make it easy:

Like Embry and Holmgren, Cliff Fletcher is an interim GM. Fletcher has a 19th month contract with MLSE. Until the organization is able to hire the President/GM of their choice to run my beloved Toronto Maple Leafs, Fletcher is the GM and has the power and authority to make whatever moves he sees fit to improve this club.

It’s not complicated…

2. Twenty-seven days or less...

The biggest hockey decisions facing the Leafs will be over and done with in less than a month, twenty seven days at the outside to be precise.

June 15 to June 30: Window for buy-outs
June 20: Pavel Kubina’s trade window opens
June 20-21: Amateur Draft
June 25: Deadline to tender qualifying offer to RFAs
June 26: Negotiations with other teams’ RFAs permitted
June 30: Setting of Salary Cap upper and lower limits
July 1: Free agency begins for RFAs and UFAs (the heavies will be gone by July 7)

When you consider that Fletcher first contacted Wilson on May 27 and it took just under two weeks to get Wilson’s name on a contract, even if the Leafs started negotiations with a GM yesterday the earliest they could likely sign a contract is June 23 - two-days after the entry draft.

And if they did hire a new GM in that time frame, he would have all of two days to issue offers to the Leafs' RFAs, a week to conclude any buy-outs, and eight days to prep for the UFA/RFA silly-season.

Media hand-wringing aside, one look at the calendar - and the reality of the time involved in executive recruitment – makes it pretty clear that Fletcher and his team will be the ones driving the bus through the most important part of the off-season.

3. MLSE low-balled Wilson and other great media insights

I Love that MLSE is putting their news conferences up on the Leafs web-site. The sooner they can figure out a way to disintermediate the media the better.

For those of you who would rather hear from Wilson and Fletcher first hand (instead of say, hearing their comments, answers and thoughts through media filters that brought us such great insights as the Avery cancer slur, the MLSE low-balling Wilson with a $600K contract offer, and Mats signing with Montreal) the media conference is available in three parts at the Leafs web site.

On Tuesday night I was chatting with one of the reporters who covered the event and he said Wilson spoke for 3+ hours and was very accommodating with the media. He also said Wilson was an astounding story teller…we’ll see if that relationship is as cozy when the Leafs have dropped seven in a row next February and the high water mark of media analysis is Simmons wondering what ever happened to Walt McKechnie…


  1. great examples with Holmgren and is pretty amazing how only the Leafs situation is labelled a "circus"...typical, I guess...

    and I guess when Berger reported the Leafs offered Wilson $600 K, he forgot the 1 million in front of it. idiot.

    keep doin what you're doin, bra.

  2. Anonymous2:29 pm

    Working Class Howard was just too shocked so he assumed the $1. was a typo.