Schism

    11

    In October 2008, a reporter set the Barilkosphere into a tizzy with a certain writing. The intention was simple, a deliberately cruel finger pointing at Leafs Nation.

    The backlash was tremendous, and it inspired Pension Plan Puppets to trigger a massive response to the piece. It shows the unifying force behind the internet, allowing fans the opportunity to voice dissent.

    The reporter once again – almost like clockwork – threw another pot shot at fans recently, the only whipping boy seemingly left in Leafs Nation (and something I will address next week).

    My response on The Hockey News blog site was below, also discussed – ironically – by Prime Time Sports on the FAN590 at the time.

    I’ve felt depressed having it sitting on a hard drive instead of published, so I thank Alec and the MLHS crew to house this piece. Please forgive the reproduction, but there is an obvious rift among fans, mainstream media, heck even among bloggers.

    Can’t we all just get along?

    Thanx, Alec.

    *********
    ARTIST: TOOL
    Song Title: Schism
    Album: Lateralus
    note** lyrics are in bold here on in and copyright of TOOL

    I know the pieces fit cuz I watched them fall away

    Howard Berger might be a bit of a narcissist.

    Howard faced the challenge of coming up with content for a much larger audience to digest much faster than that, with much greater competition. Somewhere along the lines he discovered that the Leafs audience would listen to just about anything and respond generally the same way. A way which is, to say the least, not generally very nice or intelligent.

    1967!

    Mildewed and smoldering. Fundamental differing.

    Arguably the worst team in the National Hockey League since the lockout continues to be the most lucrative commodity on skates.

    Once again, proof that there’s nothing like a two-game winning streak.
    That’s if you’re the Maple Leafs, of course.
    This, needless to say, is part of the problem Ron Wilson faces as coach of the team. The Leafs knocked off Boston and Ottawa in succession last week, two solid victories over divisional opponents, and already there’s talk all around that the club is clearly either improved or improving.

    If the Leafs are this lucrative then anything relating to them is equally so. The competition among media outlets in this city must be something to behold. I only post about once a week in this blog, partially because I have little to say, but mostly because there’s already so many great sources covering pretty much the same subjects, a small few of which can be seen at the right of this screen.

    Rebuild!
    Tank!
    Bring back Mats!
    Go for the Playoffs!

    Pure intention juxtaposed will set two lovers souls in motion

    For whatever it’s worth, the Maple Leafs have probably been the NHL’s surprise team of the first three weeks. And given what he is extracting from his players almost every night, Ron Wilson might be the best coach in the league to this point.

    Never mind sending Luke Schenn back to junior. Right now, he is top three among NHL rookies and a legitimate Calder Trophy candidate

    In a carefully crafted effort, the Maple Leafs have hyped and boosted rookie Luke Schenn in virtually every public forum during the first two-plus weeks of the season – building an aura around their top draft pick from last summer, and making it sound entirely logical to keep the 18-year-old defenseman in the NHL. But, history has long shown that what the Leafs say doesn’t necessarily dovetail with the premium course of action… and this could be another example.

    Five things to actually like about the Leafs: 1. Everything about Niklas Hagman; 2. Ron Wilson not accepting the status quo; 3. Andrew Raycroft in a Colorado uniform; 4. Nikolai Kulemin’s hands; 5. Vesa Toskala, until the shootout starts

    Disintegrating as it goes testing our communication

    OK Leaf Nation, It’s time. It’s time we unite and demand that Roger’s fire Howard Berger. His latest blog is repugnant. It is time we demand better.

    The light that fueled our fire then has burned a hole between us so

    “Leafs Win Stanley Cup” – circa 1967
    ‘Maple Leafs ‘Premiere Franchise’ according to ownership”
    “Leafs sign Allison, Lindros after lockout”
    “Leafs trade Tukka Rask for Andrew Raycroft”
    “Maple Leafs trade a 1st and 2nd for Vesa Toskala and Mark Bell”

    TANK!

    “Toronto buys out Tucker, Raycroft, place Wellwood on waivers”
    “Leafs get ‘Finger’ed; Jeff who?”
    “Who in the world is Jonas Frogren?”
    “Cliff Fletcher sends prospect, pick to Habs for project, Mikhail Grabovski”

    TANK!

    “I think this situation can be resolved amicably, and there is plenty of time for that to happen,” Healy told me in a phone conversation. “The Leafs have a summer to look at all the options and come up with a solution that is viable to both sides. They do not have the right to destroy Bryan McCabe’s career

    “Leafs trade away Bryan McCabe to Florida for Mike Van Ryn”

    Fickle Leafs Myth

    We cannot see to reach an end crippling our communication.

    Answering Questions

    Questions Answered

    “Leafs miss playoffs”
    “Leafs to miss playoffs three seasons in a row for first time in history”

    I know the pieces fit cuz I watched them tumble down

    For the first time in Leafs’ history, eliminated from the playoffs for a third consecutive season. It’d be tempting to say the team has hit rock bottom, but it’s not clear they’re done digging.

    Prior to watching the Maple Leafs during their nine-game exhibition schedule, I had been slightly wavering about where they could fit among the NHL’s bottom- feeders this season. But, there is no longer any question.

    Hold onto your hats, Leafs Nation. For the first time in 24 years, the Blue & White will be looking up at the rest of the league when the regular season ends on Apr. 12th. Not since 1984-85 have the Leafs finished dead-last in the NHL, but the plan by management this summer to scale back in the interests of ultimately moving forward will bear spectacular results.

    And, nothing could be more beneficial for the long-term welfare of the franchise.

    Wilson isn’t learning how to coach. He knows how to do that. But he must learn how to deal better with the daily grind that is the local media.

    The Maple Leafs have played 256 regular-season games since the NHL returned from the lockout in 2005, and it’s difficult to remember any that approached last night’s match at the Prudential Center for sheer excitement. The Leafs beat New Jersey, 6-5… in a shootout, no less. Most memorable games occur during the playoffs, and the Leafs haven’t been in the Stanley Cup tournament since 2004. Neither have they played in regular-season games that are thrilling and meaningful because most of their best efforts have come after realistic playoff hopes expired. This game, being so early in the current season, had both elements.

    OK Leaf Nation, It’s time. It’s time we unite and demand that Roger’s fire Howard Berger. His latest blog is repugnant. It is time we demand better.

    41 YEARS!

    No fault, none to blame it doesn’t mean I don’t desire to

    Separating doctrine from reality, of course, has forever been a challenge in the Kool-Aid capital of the hockey universe, where 90% of the media and 98% of the fan-base swallows anything the Maple Leafs propagate.

    But two games in an 82-game slate don’t prove much, and Wilson’s dilemma, just as it was for Pat Quinn and Paul Maurice and those that came before, is that the city is as easily satisfied as the players. The bar has been set so low by decades without a championship that minor accomplishments are viewed as major ones. HNIC, desperate for the Leafs to do well to enhance it’s ratings and with a strong pro-Toronto lean, wildly exaggerates the most meagre positive notes and treats every single member of the team like a star. On last week’s show, one analyst suggested Mike Van Ryn was a “great” NHL defenceman.

    None of the other five Canadian teams are viewed through the same rose-colored prism as the Leafs by HNIC. That’s how players like Darcy Tucker managed to become marquee names.

    Point the finger, blame the other, watch the temple topple over.

    This is either an effort to keep the tax people at bay, or to avoid laughing out loud at the sheep that form the lifeblood of the company.

    Yes, that is YOU, Leafs Nation.

    An insatiable willingness to accept whatever garbage is tossed your way each year lines the pockets of the executives you purportedly “hate”

    Some won’t like this blog posting, and will say its the usual negative, glass-half-empty approach. This team was not expected to do well, and some will suggest three wins in eight games to start the season is evidence of a team that is over-achieving.

    Lets see what Howie has to say about Leafs fans and how much they are to blame for the team being worth so much! How dare they be loyal to the ne’er-do-wells at MLSE. I mean it’s not like they’ve ever “won” anything… if we ignore their Eastern Division title with the Raptors, their North Eastern division crown with the Marlies, or their divisional titles with the Leafs that is… but nothing that matters since they don’t begin with Stanley. (Not winning = suckage)

    To bring the pieces back together, rediscover communication

    Yesterday, continuing a long-standing trend, another Toronto reporter took his shot at Leaf fans. This time it was Howard Berger calling us “losers” (screenshot: one two) but we’ve seem the same cookie-cutter article before from virtually everyone who covers the team.

    Quite frankly, we’ve had enough.

    The poetry that comes from the squaring off between,

    That the team is willing to burn a year of his entry level contract, needless to say, just demonstrates that the Leaf organization still doesn’t understand the managing the payroll in a salary cap era is crucial.

    Knowledgeable? Where do I start? The celebration is already underway over the three-out-of-four games streak in October that may ultimately lift the team into its habitual 11th or 12th-place roosting in the Eastern Conference. What more could any devoted fan wish for?

    Non-Leafs fans: Leafs stink! 1967! 41 years!

    A Nation Divided – a Schism

    Some expect a tank; believing this squad has been set up to do just that. And their damn happy about it, too.

    Others persist toward a youth-oriented rebuild, knowing the elapsed timeframe will be onerous, long and repetitive before we see any distinct results.

    Yet, others are adamant the Buds have a legitimate shot at making the playoffs.

    Meanwhile, mediaspeak bleats on about the way the Leafs are being (mis)managed, devoid of a ‘winning’ mentality, illusionary in their injury updates, and butting heads with a strong-willed coach, all the while telling the fans how dumb they are for following such a shambles of an organization.

    Imagine a cross section of these three sitting beside each other at a game this season. The Tanker cheers when a goal is scored against Toronto, much to the chagrin of the die-hards, with the rebuilders emulating – albeit with less enthusiasm – knowing that losing is the best (?? – questionable) way to ensure high draft picks, but at the same time feeling pangs of guilt for cheering against ‘their team.’ The die-hard wishing the team overachieves, cheers for the goal the Leafs score, along with many of the other fan faithful in attendance giving the tankers and fence-sitters fits about how they ‘don’t get the big picture.’

    Well, which is it? Where is the identity of Leafs Nation as this process gets under way? Where’s the unity?

    Maybe the cheesy Leafs slogan is right after all…perhaps, the ‘Passion that Unites Us All’ is not as far-fetched as it seems.

    But don’t be too mad at Howard. He’s come to a pretty big revelation for himself, and the way that we will view future media coverage in this city (countdown to a Cathal Kelly meltdown? Anyone? How about Dave Shoalts?). But Howard, don’t take a vacation. Don’t carry on. Just move on. There’s no shame in not being able to handle the spotlight, but once you’ve become the king with no clothes you need to realize when your time is up.

    I’m not sure if after posting what essentially amounts to hate speech in a company website Howard will still actually have a job in the coming days. If he still does it will just prove to be symptomatic of a media with a complete lack of respect for the majority of Leafs fans. If he still does I will only feel sorrier for the man. The irony that he mentions ivory towers in his first sentence shouldn’t be lost.

    And the circling is worth it.
    Finding beauty in the dissonance.

    For Richard Peddie the concept of a winning organization at Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) goes beyond game action – that to be a winner on the ice, on the court and on the pitch, one must be a winner off it as well. Peddie’s company vision is clear – WIN

    But isn’t it about time Leaf fans and local media started looking at their hockey team realistically, rather than believing in the latest two-game win streak?

    TANK!
    REBUILD!
    Fire Berger!
    Fire Cox!
    Fire Peddie

    The owners of the Toronto Maple Leafs say they would rather the team be competitive long term than win a Stanley Cup now and be lousy in the following years.

    “From an ownership level we look at the long term,” said Larry Tanenbaum, co-owner of the hockey club and chairman of the board of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. “We want to be absolutely competitive, super competitive each and every year

    There was a time that the pieces fit, but I watched them fall away.

    The hype machine appears to be out in full force for Nikolai Kulemin, a Russian-born forward that has been promised a roster spot with the Maple Leafs in 2008-09, even though he hasn’t played a minute of hockey in North America.

    According to initial buzz, including speaking to people in the know, it’s looking like Nik Kulemin the 6-1, 200-pound left-winger could vie for the Calder Trophy as a Rookie of the Year candidate.
    When was the last time anyone in Toronto – or the rest of the NHL – heard that!

    Mildewed and smoldering, strangled by our coveting

    Face it… you just can’t control yourselves. And, the folks on Bay Street love you for it… so much so, that they refused to budget for playoff dates next spring at the ACC. I mean, why go down the same path of futility for a fourth consecutive year?

    Leafs Nation Podcast
    Leafs Nation Magazine
    Wilson miffed at Leafs Nation attention

    Never mind sending Luke Schenn back to junior. Right now, he is top three among NHL rookies and a legitimate Calder Trophy candidate.

    I’ve done the math enough to know the dangers of our second guessing

    If you were to ask Ken Holland, GM of the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings, to identify the quality his scouts look for when it comes to the annual entry draft, his answer would be succinct.
    “Skill,” he’d say, just as he’s said it many times before.
    Nine teams followed that mantra when it came to making selections with the top 10 picks of the NHL entry draft on Friday night.
    One did not.
    That team would be your Maple Leafs. While other clubs went for mobile, puck-moving blueliners, slick pivots or speed merchants, the Leafs aggressively moved up in the draft from the seventh to fifth slot to snag Luke Schenn, regarded as a stay-at-home, shut down style defenceman.

    Um, duh? No friggin kidding that’s what they look for, genius… Did you really have to ask an NHL GM that? But, did you even ask that question? Because it doesn’t seem likely by the tone of the sentence. Sounds like you assumed both the question and answer.
    But wait, folks, there’s more:
    ‘Nine teams followed that mantra when it came to making selections with the top 10 picks of the NHL entry draft on Friday night.
    One did not.
    That team would be your Maple Leafs.’
    That’s just amazing insight from a journalist, isn’t it? Simple, to the point. Every team in the top 10 made the ‘right choice’, going after his definition of ‘skill’, while the Leafs didn’t, according to a hypothetical, imaginary, made up question, answered by himself, ala Kreskin, with the ability to read into the mind of the GM of the Red Wings.
    Thanks for the insight.

    Luke Schenn will be staying with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
    The 18-year-old defenceman was told by Leafs’ head coach Ron Wilson before practice on Monday that he will be staying in Toronto for the foreseeable future.

    This is simple: Luke Schenn is the second best defenceman on the Maple Leafs, probably the best in his own end. Which means he isn’t going anywhere … Schenn and fellow rookie Jonas Frogren have inherited the No. 1 defence position on the Leafs’ improving penalty kill

    1967 + 41 = a lot of disgruntled fans

    Read my lips: “Custodian of the Keys”

    Doomed to crumble unless we grow, and strengthen our communication.

    TANK
    REBUILD
    Kool Aid
    Delusions!

    Cold silence has a tendency to atrophy any
    Sense of compassion

    [p.s. You’re the very best, most devoted fans in the world… don’t change a thing].

    Between supposed lovers ….

    June 7, 2009 – Leafs Nation and Tank Nation bury hatchet
    October 1, 2009 – Newly formed optimism as Leafs/Tank Nation exchange vows in fandom marriage

    Between supposed brothers ….

    July 1, 2010 - Leafs sign … bolster revamped roster of youth and stars.

    July 2012 – LEAFS WIN FIRST CUP SINCE 1967!!!!

    A story 45 years in the making.