In baseball, the Yankees generally are perceived as an Evil Empire because they’re based in New York, are filthy rich and win too much. The damned Yankees are too bloody successful — on and off the field.
In hockey, the Maple Leafs generally are perceived as an Evil Empire because they’re based in Toronto and are filthy rich. But they certainly don’t win too much. They’re a complete joke, actually. They’re less respectable and even bigger screwups than, say, George W. Bush.
The circus in Toronto should have dropped a few bodies from the trapezes long ago, years ago, but steadfastly deemed it unnecessary. See, nothing at all was wrong with the bottom line. The chaps in charge have been making money. Lots of it. They make more money than any franchise in the NHL. Why add unnecessary expenses? Why pay brilliant hockey man Scott Bowman megabucks to run the show when you’re already obligated to pay a guaranteed contract to, er, John Ferguson Jr.? Why cut your profit?
Yes, go ahead and laugh at the Leafs. They’re more hilarious than Chris Rock and Jay Leno combined. Ha ha ha. They’re so funny.
Presumably, they’ll succumb to pressures and finally make a change or two. Regardless, though, they’ll keep selling out, game after game after game, and you can’t buy a ticket to see any of their smelly performances, and you’ll continue to laugh and laugh at them, and they’ll be laughing, too — all the way to the bank.
•Does the mass media in Toronto overdo it when it comes to Leafs coverage?
Probably. Here’s what Yahoo’s NHL editor, Ross McKeon, thinks: “It doesn’t seem like there are a lot of checks and balances in Toronto when it comes to portraying what is fact, fiction or gross exaggeration.”
Jamie Baker, a former Leaf player (1996 to 1998) and now a radio analyst for the San Jose Sharks, said Toronto media types lack perspective. He said ex-Leafs captain Wendel Clark told him: “You’re always going to be better than you are or worse than you are (in Toronto), but you’re never going to be what you are. They’re going to build you up and knock you down.”
•Regardless of his fate, Leafs coach Paul Maurice has handled himself well, likely because he had media experience between coaching jobs.
“I see Maurice’s response after games, and I can’t believe how professional he is,” Sharks coach Ron Wilson told McKeon. “He’s like a White House spokesman. I suppose when he’s done, that’s where he can get a job.”
In three-plus decades as a columnist and broadcaster, Marty York has built a network of solid contacts and a renowned reputation for his hard-hitting, groundbreaking style. The tradition continues in Metro Sports.