Did you know that the Toronto Maple Leafs draw high ratings on television? Well, if you didn’t, there’s likely a Toronto media member nearby to remind you. They’d also tell you that the reason Hockey Night in Canada likes to feature the Leafs on national coverage is because they bring in more TV dollars than any other team. Yes, well done Toronto. You’re the biggest city in Canada with the largest population, and it shows. You also love your hockey team, and considering their track record lately, that would make you quite loyal. So kudos!
I think that Maple Leafs’ fans definitely deserve a lot better than the product they’re getting on the ice. The Leafs charge some of the highest ticket prices in the league, not to mention the expensive concessions, and merchandise. Fans make a considerable financial investment and all they get in return are losing seasons and disappointment. Yes, they deserve more.
Did you know that the Edmonton Oilers haven’t made the playoffs in nine seasons? That’s the longest current streak in the NHL. Did you know they also have high ticket prices, and charge a lot for merchandise and concessions? Did you know that the ineptitude of their management breeds constant losing, despite having three first overall picks since 2010?
I don’t currently live in Toronto or Edmonton, so there’s no hometown bias to be had here. But the notion that one team “deserved” to win the draft lottery over another is absurd. The Leafs made trades that prevented them from high draft picks. The Oilers had high draft picks and actually used them. And guess what? Both teams suck. Both teams seem incapable of making the playoffs. Connor McDavid cheered for the Maple Leafs as a boy. He would love to play there. That’s nice, but it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t make Toronto more deserving of drafting him. I don’t feel sorry for the Maple Leafs, because they’re a team who can spend to the cap every season, have more money than they can count, yet the media crucifies their players for every mistake and management make questionable decisions to cut corners rather than properly rebuild.
Now granted, Edmonton hasn’t done any better in building their team, but in terms of the draft lottery, what difference does it make? There was no fix. It was completely random. If anything, the last place the NHL would want the face of their league to be is in a small Canadian city, on a team with a rich owner that doesn’t need saving. So sorry, no conspiracy theories here. Of course the Leafs wanted McDavid. So did the Buffalo Sabres, who traded half their team to be as bad as possible. And I certainly feel bad for Sabres fans. But why are the Leafs the team that got “robbed” in the draft lottery? Oh that’s right, because they are Toronto, the self-proclaimed center of the hockey universe.
So what is the Eastern-based media saying? Read it all here: [Sportsnet] and [Edmonton Journal]. But now that the lottery is over, the attention shifts to who will coach the Leafs next. Maybe Todd McLellan, now that he and Sharks have parted ways. [Yahoo]. I’d imagine many teams will be in the running for his services. [Broad Street Hockey], [NBC] and [SF Gate]
And in other news…
Don’t worry about the Sabres, they’ll be okay. [The Hockey News]
Gary Bettman wants more teams to be like the Jets. [Globe Hockey]
Dustin Byfuglien really needs to stop doing stuff like this. [Hockey Feed]
Steve Ott is on the ice for a purpose. [Star Tribune]
Unlike Andrew Hammond, Devan Dubnyk is still good. [CBC]
What’s the deal with Jared Cowen? [Ottawa Sun]
Bob Nicholson is now the CEO of the Edmonton Oilers. [Copper N Blue]
What is with the fans in the playoffs this year? [CBS Sports]
And finally, according to Wayne Gretzky, it’s Mario, Crosby and McDavid in a league of their own. [Journal Hockey]