Maple Leafs Twenty Questions: Funsize Edition

All-time world champion non sequitur (in that, in addition to being unrelated to the topic, it “follows” nothing):  My Dad, who seems to be working hard to secure a position as worldwide press agent for HiR:tb, tells me that there’s an army of people out there reading the blog and enjoying what I write.  That’s terrific to hear – and I’d love it, if you’re one of those folks, if you’d leave a comment on the site so I can prove to my wife that all this time spent tippy-tapping away on the keyboard is worthwhile in somebody’s opinion.

PPP has sought some help answering a series of five questions directed his way by certain mischievous Oiler fans. Here are the five questions, with my proposed answers.

1. What is the consensus amongst Leaf fans about the Sundin situation?

Divided. Those who advocate staying the course worry that Sundin’s return would provide little benefit (as far as team success) and delay or derail entirely the development of young forwards gobbling up prime minutes in important situations. Those who don’t see the team obtaining a top five draft pick anyway want him back to teach the youngsters the way. Those who are cannibals think he looks delicious.

2. What is the worst deal in the past 5 years that the Leafs have done? What has been the best?

The worst on-ice deal has to be Red Light Raycroft. Colorado Avalanche fans (both of them) are by now learning that with “Razor” (cough) in net, the “scoring area” now includes all four corners of the rink, most washrooms on the mezzanine level of the arena, and a substantial portion of the state of Colorado. There are no guarantees that Tuuka Rask (who the Leafs traded to get Raycrap) will ever be Martin Brodeur v. 2.0, but that deal perfectly symbolizes the ineptness of the JFJ management regime: JFJ evidently failed to foresee that Ed Belfour would age, because he failed to have a suitable successor ready to take over from within the organization; he then badly overpaid for Raycrap (both by way of trade and by way of mammoth contract), a goalie whose “talent” he over-estimated; to fix his own mistakes in that regard, the Leafs were then required to trade for Vesa Toskala. The best deal may well be Cliff’s most recent Risebrough: a 2nd-rounder for Mikhail Grabovski.

3. How does it feel knowing that the last Stanley Cup that the Leafs won was when there were 6 teams in the league?

How did it feel when Chris Pronger and his wife basically hocked a loogie on the statue of Gretz out front of the Rexall Place/Skyreach Centre/Edmonton Coliseum/Northlands Coliseum? How did it feel when Roli the Goalie got steamrollered in Game 1 of the ‘06 Final, following which the Oil coughed up a three-goal lead and went on to lose the series in 7 games? That’s gotta hurt. Anyway, take those feelings, transplant them on a fan base that actually keeps coming to the games when the team doesn’t have a freakish run of success, and you get the idea. Laugh it up out there, Oiler fans – at least our team never lost the Cup to a bunch of itinerant hillbillies.

4. Rumor has it that Cliff Fletcher is 612 years old. Is this a concern for Leafs fans?

It is true that Cliff Fletcher is so old, he was once a contestant on a game show where the big prize was “fire”. Nevertheless, the front office is one place where the “wily veteran with a track record of success” is much preferred over the “promising but unproven talent”: see the entry in Failopedia for “Ferguson, John Jr.”. By the way, hope that Steve Tambellini thing works out for you guys. Really.

5. Do you hold out hope for Brian Burke coming to town?

I personally want Brian Burke to come town about as much as Kevin Lowe would like to carpool with the guy. Burke’s record – both as it relates to the draft and his ability to assemble a well-rounded team (or even one NHL calibre starting goalie) is doubtful, as I’m sure the seven time Stanley Cup Champion Vancouver Canucks would agree. His record with the Ducks raises questions about his ability to manage the cap, though Niedermayer and Selanne have to bear some of the blame for that. It would, however, be fun to watch Burkie berate the local mittenstringers like a drill sergeant with PMS on a daily basis. Put me down for “meh.”