Monday, September 08, 2008

Breaking News from 2005

The Leafs need to change the culture in their locker room.

That's the latest story line from the media horde that covers the Leafs:

Vesa Toskala tells the National Post that he's "not surprised" at the changes in the room.

Ken Campbell of the Hockey News goes public with a very revealing, albeit five or six year-old quote from Bryan McCabe ("in one ear and out the other...”)

Ron Wilson says the Leafs have lacked leadership in the room for the last three seasons.

David Shoalts asks a few Leafs to comment on Wilson's lack of leadership allegations and offers this tidbit to close out his piece:

When former GM John Ferguson let both Roberts and Nieuwendyk leave as free agents, the team's leadership suffered. Four years later, the Leafs are still looking for a solution.
This is all great to know, but here's my (rhetorical) question to the army of journalists that cover the Leafs:

Where the hell have you been for the past three seasons and why is this only making the news now?

Seriously, can someone get Ken Campbell to tell us why he waited five+ years to report that juicy McCabe quote? Or perhaps Dreger can explain why his inside sources didn't tell him about the desperate need for change down at the ACC (apparently they were too busy telling Dreger that a Tucker buy-out wouldn't make sense and that Ron Wilson wasn't coming to Toronto).

Isn't the fact that the locker room was a country club (Or is it a lack of leadership? Or bad apples?) the type of information that trained professionals with primary sources and locker room access are paid to gather and report on?

In the end, it all comes down to access and favour.

If a sports repoter tells us what's really going on, he or she will lose access. And if they lose access, they won't be able to collect all those great stories that they can't tell us about.


  1. To be honest I've never thought of the Leafs dressing room as a country club. It's actually more like a pillow fort.

    Ohh, pillow fort...

  2. Have you seen how expensive Leafs tickets are? The public doesn't need to know about the bad locker room.

    Oh man, there's no california rolls left at the concession stands I had to settle for caviar.

  3. You're asking the right question, but you already know the answer. It's not worth it for these guys to expose this sort of stuff when its going on. All that does is make their own job tougher, since players won't want to talk anymore. Much easier to bury a guy on his way out the door.

    I know several folks in the Ottawa media and you'd be amazed the sort of things they know but never report.

  4. Down is absolutely right. Journalists protect players and coaches FAR more often than they throw them under the bus... because it's a quid pro quo relationship to begin with. Start revealing every juicy detail you hear, and suddenly you start to hear a lot less.

    McCabe was a valuable asset for Cambell while he was a Leaf. Not so much as a Panther, thus the quote comes out in 2008 and not 2005.

    But really, the quote wasn't THAT scandalous. Sounded like he was just telling Jackman not to let criticism affect his confidence. We have to remember how much criticism a guy like McCabe hears every single day of his life.

  5. Anonymous11:29 am

    Great post.

    I have been wondering the same thing for some time, the symbiotic relationship with reporters is one reason. Similar things happen with political reporters but it isnt as frequent since there is more competition, and competition for readers.

    Nonetheless, the culture needed changing, thats clear and has been stated by many. Nobody has said what was wrong with the previous culture and what the evidence for it was.

    On one level guess it doesn't matter, they are changing it. However, it would might actually prevent some of the fans from howling if there was more and better information.

    For example, a hypothetical scenario is that Tucker was undermining Sundin (just speculation), not listening, telling him to f'off in front of the rookies etc. How much support would there have been for keeping the guy who "bled blue and white". None.

    It isnt Fletchers style, it isnt Sundin's style to talk about these things. But someone will talk, too bad it took three years. Of course who knows who was saying what to Peddie or Tannenbaum and if that tied JFJ's hands (dont worry JFJ got what he deserved).

    The big point is they are changing things. Florida now has to deal with McCabe and his attitude as does Tucker's team. Wellwood seems to recognize the need for self change in Vancouver, being on the bibble will do that. That Tucker, McCabe or Raycroft will be that introspective I doubt.