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The Leafs had a “heart-to-heart” meeting after last night’s loss, presumably to check they had them

Mar 21, 2012, 12:22 PM EDT

Randy Carlyle Leafs

Fresh off a 5-2 loss to the New York Islanders — which came fresh off an 8-0 loss to the Boston Bruins — the Toronto Maple Leafs held a closed-door meeting that goalie James Reimer called a “heart-to-heart.”

While players took the opportunity to air their grievances (before competing in the feats of strength) head coach Randy Carlyle stayed mostly out of this hearty affair.

Mostly.

“It wasn’t my message, I was listening to what they had to say,” Carlyle told the Toronto Sun. “I didn’t deliver any message, I was kind of asking the questions and I wanted to hear how they felt about what was going on.”

The answers Carlyle got weren’t especially original. The standard “gripping the sticks too hard” quote was issued (by defenseman John-Michael Liles) and the consensus seemed to be the Leafs lack confidence.

That confidence bit isn’t especially surprising. The Leafs are 3-6-1 in 10 games under Carlyle…and were 1-8-1 in the final 10 games of the Ron Wilson regime. It’s a slight uptick in victories, though two of them came against Eastern Conference bottom-feeders in Montreal and Tampa Bay — so there’s no real reason for the group to have much faith in itself. The Leafs seem no better under Carlyle than they did under Wilson, which has raised a lot of questions about how good the team really is.

Or, how bad the team actually is.

PHT Related

Apparently Phil Kessel is the Maple Leafs’ big problem

Morning Skate: Yup, Leafs fans were chanting “Fire Burke” last night

  1. govtminion - Mar 21, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    You know, the sad part is that every year it looks like the Leafs have turned a corner and are going to be competitive at last… and every year we get proven wrong. No matter who’s on the roster, who’s in net, who’s coaching, the same results happen. It makes you start looking at the GM, doesn’t it? After all, he’s the only consistent piece to the yearly morass.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Mar 21, 2012 at 3:01 PM

      ….except the GM isn’t the only constant, this pattern has existed under more than one GM. This team has basically been irrelevant since Stavros stepped down as the owner of MLSE. Perhaps the problem is with an owner whose goal is to make as much money as possible rather than to win a certain number of playoff games.

      • govtminion - Mar 21, 2012 at 3:15 PM

        Well, you do have a very good point there. It’s hard to argue with the analysis of the ownership. After all, it took Jeremy Jacobs a major turnaround in how he did business before the Bruins started back to respectability, and (not meaning to make light of it) it took Bill Wirtz’ passing away to breathe new life into the Blackhawks. Both teams have fresh Cup banners to show for it. Could such a thing happen in Toronto?

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Mar 21, 2012 at 3:23 PM

        If Bell and Rogers want to step up and clean house from the very top down I’d be all for it.

  2. habsman - Mar 21, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    The clandestine way in which Burke came to Toronto should have been a hint as to what kind of GM the Leafs were getting. It was obvious he was collecting a pay cheque from the Ducks while negotiating with Toronto. His long time assistant Nonnis was sent in to occupy the chair and hire Wilson prior to Burkes arrival. Yes, I believe Burke was responsible for Wilsons hire while he was working for Aneheim. Uppon arrival, he was caught cheating and fined for tampering with the Sedins who were under contract with Vancouver. His decision to trade two firsts and a second round pick for the one dimensional Kessel not only hurt their rebuild, it set up a divisional foe for long term success. He drafted Schenn and Kadri when he could have had Karlson and Eberly. He has overpaid for FA’s to the point that he cannot get rid of them. The Leaf defense is the third highest paid in the league. And instead of trying to get help at the trade deadline, he was busy complaining about media reporting. I hope the Leafs fire this jerk before he decides to make any more trades with Boston.

  3. bcisleman - Mar 21, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    In some ways, the loss last night was worse than the Boston loss. Back in the day, even the dynasty era Isles turned in the odd stinker. Next game, however, their blood was up and they would take it out on their opponent.

    I fully expected the Isles would be walking into a buzz saw last night, but, apart from the clownish antics of Rosehill going after Streit at the end of the second, there was nothing.

    The hiring of Burke goes to a cultural problem that Jimmy Devellano highlighted at the end of his The Road to Hockeyville autobiography. It really is a must read if you want to understand being a GM in the NHL.

    The reason Burke was hired is the very same reason that the Leafs have not come close to a Cup since 1967–not coincidentally about the same time that the NHL expanded and going deep became a much harder task.

    Toronto’s fans and management have been much too impatient. They look for shortcuts and there are none. Building a Cup winner requires slow patient development.

    Burke came in as the great hero who had snagged both Sedins for Vancouver and a Cup in Anaheim. What was missed was that he used assets others had acquired to get the second Sedin and to make the deals that helped put Anaheim over the top. Also, there was already a pretty good core of players in Anaheim BEFORE he took over.

    Burke is no genius and the Kessel trade took away the one chance Toronto had at a rapid rebuild. Add Seguin, Hamilton, and Knight to Kadri, Schenn and others and you have a pretty slid core to build around. Kessel is a nice player, but he is more an extra piece that a contender needing more offense adds. He is not a player to rebuild around.

    Leafs will go nowhere with Burke as GM. They need to fire him and bring in someone committed to rebuilding through the draft.

    As to Kessel, the new GM should work on an extension with him ASAP. If he will not extend past 2014–I think his deal ends then–he should be shopped.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Mar 21, 2012 at 3:03 PM

      It’s interesting how you fault Burke for not adding Seguin et. al. to Kadri and Schenn while that clown above you faults him for drafting those two guys in the first place.

      • habsman - Mar 21, 2012 at 3:48 PM

        No debating the facts eh? Just name calling.

        Here’s hoping Burkie has another 20 years as Leaf GM. Just keep him from trading with the Bruins.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Mar 21, 2012 at 4:00 PM

        If there’s no consensus as to what makes Burke so terrible then how do you expect me to debate?

      • habsman - Mar 21, 2012 at 5:44 PM

        Don’t quite understand. If there was a consensus, obviously there is no debate?

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Mar 21, 2012 at 9:02 PM

        I don’t have to explain this but I will: Burke being a terrible GM is one side of the argument. I’ll obviously take the other side until Burke trades Kessel and Gardiner for DiPietro. But your side needs coherence before we have the same debate we have every time we find each other on this board.

      • habsman - Mar 21, 2012 at 9:38 PM

        Burke sucks. Coherent enough?

        But look on the bright side, you still have the Bruins to root for.

        Must be nice to have two teams.

  4. swizzler16 - Mar 21, 2012 at 4:32 PM

    Great Seinfeld reference, I could see Burke walking into the room acting like Frank Costanza, “I got a lot of problems with you people! And now, you’re gonna hear about it.”

    It’s a shame your allusion to Festivus was overlooked by most

  5. crazemastercraze - Mar 21, 2012 at 7:15 PM

    i wonder how many times Liles said “obviously” during the meeting……

  6. lolnowhy - Mar 21, 2012 at 9:56 PM

    here’s what the Leafs need to do:

    tank the rest of the season to ensure a top 5 draft pick

    then, trade Phil Kessel back to the Bruins for a box of Eggo’s and Tuukka Rask’s toenail clippings. then he can be the waterboy in Boston and watch as Seguin puts up more points on the second line, and when the Bruins win the cup again, the entire team can be put on a horse carriage and driven through town, only there will be no horses, it will only be Kessel hauling the entire team with his bare feet in that great June Boston heat.

    that will be a much better use of 5 million dollars

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