Sports Thoughts from the Great White North
              Call me negative, call me cynical, call me a piece of s**t. I may be all of the above, but I'm also a realist; and along with that a long suffering Leafs fan whose favorite team has been plunged in the purgatory of mediocrity for years.

            You'd think from the buzz they are receiving about their current hot streak that they are a lock for Lord Stanley, well Leafs fans I wouldn't buy those finals tickets yet.

            I know what you're thinking; this guy is a bitter man who hates to see his teams do well. Well, in the case of the Leafs your right. Every time I start to get excited about that team, they seem to plummet back to their old ways, and inevitably end up fighting for their playoff lives.

            And I don't think this is any different, which is why I have my reservations about anointing them the next great Leafs team. Yes, they are getting great goaltending from Toskala, who finally seems to have a grasp on the #1 job. Yes, they are finally buying into Maurice's defence first mentality, even the pylonesque (word? It is now) McCabe. Heck even Jason Blake has decided to start scoring some goals.

            But the underlying issues still remain: They don't have a solid core of young impact players, they are not that deep, and if Mats or Antropov go down for a long period of time, they don't have the point producers to pick up the slack. Add in the fact that as soon as this team drops a few games in a row, the pressure again will be huge, with fans calling for the heads of Fergie and management respectively.

            I thought last year they need to do something drastic, they needed to blow this team up, start over, rebuild, whatever...just do something. They didn't, and I figured after this years horrendous start that maybe they'd actually pull the trigger. It looked like Fergie was out the door, with the president Peddie basically saying that hiring him might have been a mistake.

            But then in typical Leafs yo-yo fashion, they started playing well, real well, and Fergie was safe....for now. So the saga continues, as long as the Leafs keep playing like this no one will be going anywhere, and the rebuilding process that should happen never will, because well frankly that's not MLSE's mandate. They want to make money, and unfortunately when that is your goal, a good hockey team takes the back seat.

            Ask yourself this Leafs fans: Would you rather have a team fighting every year for the 7th or 8th playoff spot? Or would you like to see them blow it up and rebuild, be bad for a few years, then be a perennial playoff contender?

            I know which one I would choose, but hey, I'm just a bitter piece of s**t.


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