Sunday, January 22, 2006

Regime Change

By The Meatriarchy

The timing of the upcoming election today (Monday) with the general consensus that the Liberals and Paul Martin will be booted from office (unless the polls are wrong) seems somewhat coincidental what with the Leafs in free fall right now.

How? Well consider that Damian Cox surfaced yesterday to invoke his oft repeated mantra that Pat Quinn should be fired.

For those that don't live in Toronto Cox is a hockey columnist for the Toronto Star and sometimes co-host of The Fan590's evening drive show with Bob McCowan. Damian is an odd choice for a columnist to cover the Leafs considering that he hates the team, hates the coach, hates their management, holds Leaf fans in thinly disguised contempt, and generally seems to dislike the game itself.

Yet is he a very talented writer - his book '67 which he co-wrote with former Leaf GM Gord Stellick is excellent and should be read by any hockey fan. But I digress.

Cox has never ever had a good word to say about Pat Quinn and the latest loss by the Leafs (without their leading goal scorer and leading point getter and top defenseman) has given him ample opportunity to stoke the "Quinn must go" fires.

Tomorrow night, quite clearly, is the most important regular-season game of Quinn's coaching career in Toronto. He doesn't necessarily have to win, although with teams possessing a greater organizational thirst for victory, that would surely be the case. (emphasis mine).

Get the dig? The Leafs as an organization are not committed to winning. If they were they would fire Quinn. So come this evening if the Leafs lose tonight and Quinn isn't fired the organization isn't committed to winning.

But Quinn's Leafs must compete ferociously and must give the high-flying Senators a serious game, a game that cannot be anything like last night's.

So if the team doesn't compete, again a sign that Quinn must go.

The Leafs, however, are that flawed in terms of talent and heart. Their solid first half, which attracted many compliments from here and everywhere despite lousy defensive stats, now seems a mirage based mostly on playing a lot more home games than road contests.

Teams are supposed to have better home records than road records Damian.

I'm surprised that he hasn't mentioned that the ownership is more interested in making money than winning. Wait, I spoke to soon Damian is back today with another delightful column where he touches on his other favorite sore spots with the team. The afore mentioned profit motive and the fact that every player doesn't come out and speak to reporters after a game:

The worst part is these players actually seem to think they're being clever. One or two are assigned the chore of attracting a mob of print and electronic reporters, and that diversion allows a handful of players to slap on their overcoats and bolt for the nearest exit.

Ok here's a newsflash to every one in the sports media. Fans (like me) don't care about what the players say after a game. You know why? Because they don't say anything. Nothing. Their quotes are as meaningless as the platitudes mouthed by politicians during debates but just not as cleverly scripted. Why do you think that I as a reader of your paper or consumer of any other medium is anxious to hear the nonsense these guys say? I just want them to show up and play and entertain me during the process. Stop whining about it. Its getting old. No, it got old ten years ago.

And no column by Damian would be complete without genuflection at the altar of his favorite GM Lou Lamoriello:

So here's an interesting question. If Lou Lamoriello were running the Leafs, what would he do?

It's a relevant question, if only because the New Jersey GM watched as his team tumbled out of the top eight in the Eastern Conference in the fall and then boldly reorganized his roster, partly by choice and partly by the choices of others.

Lamoriello gets a free pass in the Toronto media for some reason. And here is a guy that completely screwed up this year. He overpaid for Mogilny and yet the Leafs are supposedly the bad guys for letting him go. He was forced to cut salary not jsut because of poor performance but because he had gone over the cap. What kind of smart GM does that?

If Lamoriello was in charge of fixing the Leafs, you can suppose unproductive or one-dimensional veterans like Jason Allison, Jeff O'Neill, Domi, Nik Antropov, Alexander Khavanov and Aki Berg might find themselves in the same situation as players like McGillis and Mogilny.

Berg has played much better since his first horrible month and Jason Allison is currently centering what is arguably the best line on the team. If we want to start talking about under performing assets what about Mats Sundin? He has been AWOL since returning from injury. But Mats comes out and meets reporters after every game so I guess that makes everything ok.

And Jason Allison isn't exactly the best guy in the world defensively but he is second overall on the team in scoring. Letting him go would be the equivalent of dumping Scott Gomez who is New Jersey's second leading scorer but also is in the negative on the +/- side. Please.

So we come to tonight's game with a Red and a Blue team facing off in Ottawa with another Red and Blue team facing off across the country. By the time the polls close and the results start coming in it will be 10:00 here in Ontario. We won't know if we have a new Prime Minister till probably midnight. But considering the last three performances by the Leafs we may have another man behind the bench by that time.

Mr. Cox will be happy. In a way I am hoping he gets a little good news tonight. Because the other Red Team which his paper has so enthusiastically supported for the past 13 years is going down in flames.

Boy will he be grumpy tomorrow.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. "...with another Red and Blue team facing off across the country."

    When I first read this I thought you were talking about the Flames and the Oilers for a second.

  3. "Damian is an odd choice for a columnist to cover the Leafs considering that he hates the team, hates the coach, hates their management, holds Leaf fans in thinly disguised contempt, and generally seems to dislike the game itself."

    I think Mr. Cox (am I allowed to call him Mr? Is it too much of a stretch) was put on this planet to hate everything and everything, except maybe himself. He is one miserable guy.

    As for Quinn, I am mixed as to whether he deserved to be fired. Not all the problems are his. He can't help the injuries. But many of the veteren forwards are underachieving (Sundin and O'Neill to start with) so maybe he has some blame for that considering he is thought to be a veteren friendly coach. The on thing that I hate, and it was clearly evident on Saturday, is he rarely has someone position in front of the opponents goal. There was never anyone there on Saturday and Hasek is one of those goalies that you can fluster if you get traffic in front of him. If Chris Neil can get 12 goals standing in front of the net certainly one of the bigger Leaf forwards can get a handful too. For that matter put Belak there and have him battle with Chara. Those two big guys are going to block a lot of what Hasek can see.

  4. O'Neill should be on waivers, a la Mogilny

  5. Sundin will be flattened if he attempts to crosscheck Chara tonight

  6. Domi goes to the net, gets a rebound, and scores a goal. See, it's not that hard.

  7. I don't bother to read Cox. He wants fighting to be completely eliminated. I like fighting. It's part of the entertainment.

  8. Let's all just hope the injury is not a threat to the future. I was very worried when I saw a "red shadow" under the player; nobody wants to see another player injured. While hearing of a concussion isn't good news, it was certainly better than the worst fears had imagined.

  9. have to disagree with the comment about the quality of cox' writing...he is not the best sports writer since milt, he is not even the best sports writer at the star today.....sorry to opine this, but that honor goes to someone who is clearly part time in the sports section...rosie dimanno...her thoughts, opinions are delivered with a well written intellectual gusto in a clear manner....not the daily rantings of a MALCONTENT who seemingly has to PROVE his rather weak opinions. then of course is his painfully self evident WORD FILLER CRAP that need not have been written in the first place....." if mccabe misses 4 more games then his injury will be more serious than we have been told"....NO! REALLY? YA GOTTA BE SHITTIN ME! I find most of his articles as relevant and valid as that media reporter guy chris somebody, the don cherry basher...If they have nothing to say, end their columns and put in more advertising....