Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Furious Outrage And Passionate Indignation

I haven't written many angry posts this year. I've tried not to. I wrote a bunch last year and I found they're not as fun for me to read afterwards, but blurr once said that he liked me better when I was angry, and ironically that made me feel happy. So be forewarned Maple Leafs Lovers, I'm getting really angry, and any minute now I'm gonna start writing. Okay?

I'M ANGRY!!!!!!1

You know who doesn't want to be a Leafs fan right now? Everybody. But like some sort of horrible swarm of infatuated flying magnetic monkey-sheep, many of us cling misguidedly to an optimistic outcome of a love that will last forever. Loyalty can be forever but blood pressure has a lethal limit, y'know. Sometimes forever means you're dead now. Nobody wants to be associated with a loser. Nobody wants to be laughed at derisively. Derisive is a beautiful word and it sounds poetic but it's actually a horrible experience, especially when it comes from people who don't watch hockey and think Tie Domi still plays for the Leafs. Does any of this make sense? Maybe let's take a pause from being angry for a second.

What's in the paper, I wonder? Main section is kinda depressing... Hey, let's check the Burke's Thought of the Day. There it is, right above the Family Circus cartoon and below my horoscope.

"Our fans have to understand I'm as frustrated as they are. Way more so."

Wrong. Complete factual error. Not possible.

In all due respect, Mr. Burke, you're only just beginning to get frustrated with this team. You weren't here for Maurice/JFJ. You were winning Stanley Cups and rubbing shoulders with Hollywood fashionistas in sunny California. Of course you're disappointed with ToskaLMFAO but we're still sorry over Raycrap. I remember a year when we had a coach named Murphy AND a defenceman named Murphy and I hated them both. Did you know Dougie was high-sticked on that play? And did you know that there's a scar that won't heal, and a score that can't be settled until Toronto finally wins the Stanley Cup? It takes intense discipline to cultivate frustration of this magnitude without setting fire to things. This isn't Montreal. This is Frustration Nation.

Anyways, just a week ago, Mr. Burke, didn't you say something like:

"If you took out the first seven games, it's been a successful season, but you can't do that... We dug a deep hole. We worked very, very hard (to get out of it). I'm proud of that."

I'm not saying that I think these statements are necessarily hypocritical and contradictory, but they come off like hot air and hollow proclamations. I want names. Who are we proud of? Who are we frustrated with? And most importantly - WHAT are we going to do about it? And then my last question is, why didn't we do it sooner?

Let's survey the damage:

A .424 winning percentage after 46 games, 14th in the East, 28th in the NHL. 0-7-1 to begin the season. Surrendered the first goal 33 times in 46 games. Tied for 27th in 1st-period goals-for, while having the highest total of 1st-period goals-against. Outscored in the 1st-period 47-28. An OT/shoot-out record of 1 win and 9 losses. The worst goals-against average in the league. Outscored 7-0 in 4-on-4 situations. The worst penalty-kill in the league, possibly the worst ever seen - just 68.3%. (The 1979-80 Los Angeles Kings have the NHL's worst recorded penalty-kill at 67.7%) Mindboggling.

Wilson's status as head coach?

"100 per cent safe."

An 0-7-1 start to the season, scoring the first goal only 13 times in 46 games, and being outscored in the 1st-period by a nearly 2 to 1 margin, indicates a team that is either completely unmotivated or completely ill-prepared.

"100 per cent safe."

Outscored 7-0 in 4-on-4 situations, and a 1-9 record in extra-time indicates a total absence of any team chemistry within the group, or confidence as a whole.

"100 per cent safe."

The worst penalty-kill in the league, and easily the worst in 2 decades (seriously). Says Leafs assistant coach, Tim Hunter:

"It’s not one guy. It’s not the goalie. It’s not the defencemen. It’s not the forwards. It’s everybody... If you don’t have guys willing to compete it doesn’t matter."

"Not willing to compete" is a puzzling way of describing "everybody" on the roster. Why can't the coaches get the players to "compete" the way they're supposed to? What happens when the team loses total confidence in the penalty-kill? How wise is it to be playing aggressive and on the edge when powerplay goals against come at a 30% clip? I'm askin' you, Tomas Kaberle:

"We can’t take penalties, if we can’t kill them.”

You got it, Kabby, except that it doesn't seem like a very truculent attitude, though it is entirely reasonable. Unfortunately, it seems this Leafs team is either unwilling, or more likely, entirely unable to carry out the coach's directions, and the coach is therefore unable to execute the strategy that the GM had designed for the team to specifically follow.This image above is what Truculence looks like. This is Fedotenko taking a blatant boarding penalty on Ian White for retaliation against a hit on a Pittsburgh player, shortly after taking a commanding 3-goal lead in the 3rd-period. The Penguins then easily killed off the Leafs' powerplay. The message sent by the Fedotenko hit far outweighed any momentum gained from the unsuccessful man-advantage. That's the way it's supposed to work, but the Leafs' weapons of security and justice have been systematically disabled and disarmed, leaving them vulnerable and impotent.

"100 per cent safe."

The last word in this angry post goes to MLSE president, Richard Peddie, probably the only time I'll ever quote him, ever:

"We understand the fan unrest. It also says they really care."

So there you go - it's okay to be angry. Go for it. Our unrest will be a measure of our love.


kidkawartha said...

You got to get it out or it will destroy you, I always say. Nice work, General.
Also, ToskaLMFAO is SO much better than a simple ToskaLOL.

general borschevsky said...

Cheers, kidk! Wise words. It's been a tough season for the ever-hopeful Leafs fan.

Anonymous said...

It's been rough. Even for a guy who lives off of ranting every whivch way.

It's going to get better. I f---ing hope it does.

general borschevsky said...

Hey Kavel! I don't think things are going to get much better this year. I'm surprised actually at the patience and restraint of the Leafs fans who still care. We'll be back in the playoff picture eventually, but it's been a long, long wait.


looshV said...

Thank you for having a good rant post, man I needed that. It's really discouraging right now. The Marlies sure are feeling Tlusty's departure let me tell you, but I understand part of this process is a lot of painful losing to get the desired personnel filling the ranks. RW's constant line changes is what's driving me nuts, how can any chemistry be developed when no one knows what their role is? I also really don't like how RW uses the fourth line like some trip to the Gulag for "underachievers".

general borschevsky said...

Hi looshV! Great input. In regards to team chemistry, it's the 4-on-4 situation that raises my eyebrows. The Leafs haven't scored a single goal 4-on-4 while allowing 7. The Leafs don't have 2 forwards who can, with increased open-ice space, create and execute scoring opportunities.

Not 2 players on this team when given the extra space can jive well enough together to be dangerous or effective. No wonder the overtime record is 1 and 9.