June 21, 2007

Toronto Maple Leaf's Fans are the Worst Fans Ever!!

And yes, that is the official title of my blog and a plain fact!

So the next question is: Where's the proof? History continues to prove me right and so does the logic of Leaf fans.

One only has to look the Ballard years. Fans supported the team despite having Harold Ballard blatantly use the fans' loyalty of the team to line his own pocketbook. It was beyond obvious the only thing Ballard cared about was money and the team's on-ice performance was less than thrilling. But still, fans showed up to games to cheer on a team that was systemically built to lose as long as they made Ballard money. Fans with some common sense would have stopped showing up and essentially forced Ballard's hand to invest in the team. However, that didn't take place and the Leafs stunk and watched their Stanly Cup drought being intentionally extended.

Even after Ballard passed away and new owners - Steve Stavros as the majority owner - took control, the team still didn't truly have any reason to push themselves and didn't. With Cliff Fletcher behind the GM wheel the team performed much better but wasn't ever built to be a real competitor. While they had a couple good seasons ('93 and '94), the team was really only built to be conceived as a competitor. And this tradition continued under the helm of Pat Quinn and still continues under John Ferguson Jr.. The Leafs have consistently championed mediocre and past-prime players as their saviours in moves that are arguably more about PR than they are about building a real competitor. Especially in the several years leading up to the 2005 lockout was this often talked about and seemingly blatant to all except Maple Leaf fans. Since the lockout questionable moves are still abundant with over-priced signings of certain defencemen and forwards that make continues to make them older and slower in faster and younger NHL. Yet, while there has been more questioning by fans about some recent signings, the demand for tickets is still present.

Even looking at the recent NHL final which a Canadian team was playing, a large number of Leaf fans refused to cheer them on because they are considered 'rivals'. However, from personal experience, I get blasted by Leaf fans that I know because I have questioned whether or not I would support the Leafs (I am a Montreal Canadiens fan) if they were in the finals. In my eyes, this makes them hypocrites.

The most recent barrage I have been seeing a lot of has been the attack on the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan, the current majority owners of the Maple Leafs. There has been a lot of criticism that the OTPP is only concerned with money and that they won't spend the cash to bring in top players. With the NHL now under a salary-cap system, the only way this argument would hold weight is if the OTPP wasn't spending at the upper limit of the cap and had a payroll somewhere near the minimum limit. Under the cap the system the owners can only spend so much before they would be forced to dump players to get them under the limit but at the same time each team has to guarantee they would spend a minimum amount. In the two seasons since the cap was instated the Leafs have always been near the top end which means they are spending as much as they can to field a team. The only other way for the OTPP to make more money other than spend under the limit is to field the most competitive team they could so they could make extra revenue from playoff games. Therefore, the argument that the OTPP is only interested in money and that is some sort of basis for the team doing poorly is baseless. This is the logic of Leaf fans. Not only do they refuse to acknowledge that they screwed themselves over in the Ballard era but they then try to wrongly accuse the current owners of doing what Ballard had done to them.

I will admit some blame does lie in the hands of the OTPP. They did hire John Ferguson Jr. and by many accounts he has done a poor job of managing the Leafs. If the OTPP were a bit brighter in this regard they would can Ferguson and find a much better GM with a greater hockey mind. A move similar to the one they made with Toronto Raptors when they hired Bryan Colangelo.

I'm sure much of this rant - that's what this is - will be chalked up to my devotion to the Montreal Canadiens. However, I'm pretty sure that I have a lot more basis for this rant than any Maple Leaf fan has for supporting an organization that abused their loyalty and their continued inane reasons of blame.

Quotes from people smarter than me...

"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich" ~ JFK

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. " ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. " ~ Benjamin Franklin

"First it is necessary to stand on your own two feet. But the minute a man finds himself in that position, the next thing he should do is reach out his arms. " ~ Kristin Hunter

"When you're a mayor and you have a problem you blame the provincial government. If you are provincial government and you have a problem you blame the federal government. We don't blame the Queen any more, so once in a while we might blame the Americans." ~ Jean Chretien

"Which is ideology? Which not? You shall know them by their assertion of truth, their contempt for considered reflection, and their fear of debate." ~ John Ralston Saul

"It is undoubtedly easier to believe in absolutes, follow blindly, mouth received wisdom. But that is self-betrayal." ~ John Ralston Saul

"Everybody dies, Tracey. Someone's carrying a bullet for you right now, doesn't even know it. The trick is to die of old age before it finds you." ~ Cpt. Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly, Episode 12)