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It’s official…

Posted by on January 22, 2008

…JFJ has been fired! The new interm GM will be Cliff Fletcher. Bringing back old faces but when he left in 1997 the Leafs were at least rebuilt and playoff contenders. Must be a good sign.

Imagine my surprise and delight when I come home for lunch and find out this.

At the same time, I do feel bad for JFJ. All this speculation for months and not being allowed to do the things he wanted because a board of directors would veto it. Being told that Peddie shouldn’t have hired him…it was a mistake. Not very fair. Can’t Peddie read because everyone else and their dog knows Peddie should be fired or step down or whatever because he is the biggest mistake. What does a Board of Directors (who run the Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan) know about hockey. Not very much and it’s shows. Maybe Cliff will be able to get some smart trades before the deadline and in the free agency market this summer and the draft but we’ll just have to wait and see. I do hope that JFJ gets a job elsewhere because being a rookie GM in TO is hard and no one should do it. It wasn’t exactly fair to him. He made some smart moves and some bold ones that did & did not pane out. It was just magnified because he’s in TO.

The one thing Fletch did that was very smart was to demand autonomy to make choices. To have full reign over the daily interactions of the team. Good for him. At least he’ll reinforce that and won’t get thrown and bossed around like a rag doll.

Although, I want to argue one small point that Peddie said in the news release or whatever. And I quote Cliff Fletcher is the ideal person to lay the groundwork of positive change for the Leafs,” said Peddie. “As all of our general managers have had, he will have the autonomy and responsibility for all hockey decisions with a focus on establishing a foundation from which the next general manager can build. He will guide us through the upcoming trade deadline and toward the draft and free agent signing period.”

Bull shit. Plain and simple. Ever since they fired Quinn, there hasn’t been autonomy for the GM. That is making JFJ look bad and everyone knows that wasn’t the case. Peddie is trying to act like it’s not his fault and that his shit doesn’t stick…however, all the real Leaf and hockey fans know the difference.

Now the only question lies in what will become of Paul Maurice. ?!?! Will he be fired as well. Hopefully they’ll let him ride out the season, unless of course they are bringing back Pat Burns! haha  He’d make a great GM for the Leafs next season….but man, I’d love to see him back. His health is good so he should do it. He’s awesome but again, that’s besides the point.  There was a meeting with CEO and Peddie this am during practise (that they pulled him out of for a few) so hopefully it was just to inform him of the changes and whatnot. Paul’s style of coaching doesn’t fit overly well with the Leafs as he is a defensive specialist and likes finesse and all that but he just doesn’t have the players to make the Leafs elite. Again, not his problem. He can only work with what’s given. But we’ll just have to sit back and give a sigh of relief here in “Leaf land.”

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