The Toronto Maple Leafs, in their infinite institutional wisdom, have decided that uncertainty is a bad thing. So, they have made a bold statement by keeping Cliff fletcher on for one more full season as “interim general manager.” The statement is this: we don’t want any more uncertainty…so we have decided to let everyone know, definitively, that the uncertainty will last for another 12 months. Now that we have that all cleared up, we can get on with losing a lot of hockey games, and getting ourselves a nice high draft pick to present to our new GM next summer as a welcoming gift.
Mind you, it is also a bad thing to do the exact opposite of what you said you were going to do.
-A new GM will be in place in time for the draft… er, uh, no.
-Paul Maurice’s future as coach will be decided by the new GM…then they fired Maurice.
-The new coach will be hired by the new GM…then they hired Ron Wilson.
-Whatever happens Cliff Fletcher will not be the GM of the Leafs next season…
The thing is, all of these decisions, taken on their own are perfectly reasonable. Even firing Maurice when they said they wouldn’t, was a classy move that allowed Maurice to start looking for a new gig once it became clear that he wasn’t going to be the man in Toronto. And Cliff fletcher is pretty decent as short-term caretakers go.
But when Leafs brass so clearly doesn’t know which end is up, they should stop making definitive pronouncements in public. I spoke to Richard Peddie just two months ago, and practically everything he said then about the Leafs’ off-season plans has now turned 180-degrees.
But this is emblematic of the problems I described in the magazine in April. Management is so desperate to appear to be doing something, they’re liable to do anything. they’re running scared right now, not because they don’t want to win, but because they do not know how.