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Friday, December 3, 2010

Bruins fans Love the Leafs

We've passed the quarter mark of the season and Bruins fans are getting increasingly excited about a potential lottery pick coming their way again in the Phil Kessel trade. Leaf fans are fuming and want heads to roll. During last nights thrashing by the Oilers, chants of "fire Wilson" could be heard.

Most of those chants were of course in the upper level.Those in the platinum seats are either at the bar closing up million dollar deals while others are in their seats typing away on their Blackberrys and wonder what would happen if the gadget makers company CEO Jim Balsillie owned the team. Showing discontent is not their style.

But the die hard rank and file fans have had enough. Some are even suggesting that the Leafs blow it all up (what little there is to blow up) and trade Phil Kessel and get at least a first round pick back for him. Not a great return since they gave up potentially 2 lottery picks and a high second rounder. But there are many in Leafs Nation that are ready to do it and build the team properly.

There are those that are calling for a top 6 forward. But don't the Leafs have plenty of them? The fact of the matter is, the Leafs need a top 3 forward not top 6. And maybe they need 2 of them. Think about this: When the Leafs finally do have a first round pick in 2012, Kessel will have 2 years remaining on his deal and become an unrestricted free agent. And my guess is that at that time, he will walk. Not how you build a team, and definitely not the coaches fault.

It's my opinion that Burke will not fire Ron Wilson. At least not during the season. He knows one thing for sure: The product on the ice was his doing, not his coaches. The likes of legends Toe Blake, Scotty Bowman or Al Arbour wouldn't be able to work miracles with the team Burke put on the ice. He knows it, and he knows that is his doing and not Wilson's.

So just how bad is the situation in Toronto? They are on pace to finish with 68 points. Last season, they finished with 74. Phil Kessel is on pace to finish with 30 goals. That because of a strong start as so did the Leafs. But consider this, he scored a total of only 3 in the month of November in which he played 13 games. The defence has scored a whopping 3 goals. The power play and the penalty  kill are almost non existent on the road. They average 1.60 goals per game on the road.

The stats go on and on. Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment CEO Richard Peddie retires at the end of this year. He wont make a change. And of course, a replacement has to be found. Burke won't fire his coach, but will make a trade. How much that helps will remain to be seen.

The dagger may come in the Leafs front office if, in Minnesota in June 2011, Peter Chiarelli steps up to the podium with Tyler Seguin on one side and Jared Knight on the other and calls out the name of either Sean Couturier, Adam Larsson, Ryan Nugent - Hopkins or Gabriel Landeskog. For Bruins fans, the only greater pleasure would come if the annual draft showcase were held in Toronto.

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