Tuesday, May 13, 2008

New Leafs Managment, Same Boneheaded Mistakes

Hey, good news Leafs fans. Your minor league affiliate, the Toronto Marlies, just capped an improbable comeback in the North Division Final, beating the Syracuse Crunch 4 games to 3 after being down 3 games to 1.

Is that really good news?

Is it?

Surely this bodes well for the Leafs future, right?

Only good things can come from young future #1 netminder Justin Pogge racking up important playoff minutes, right?

Ha ha, nice try.

Somehow, some way the Leafs organization has managed to screw things up in what seemed to be a great situation.

Let's flashback to last season in the AHL. The Hamilton Bulldogs, the affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens, realized that they were going to make the playoffs, and have a somewhat decent shot. They also saw that their future #1 netminder Carey Price's season was over in the WHL. They put two-and-two together, and made him the starter for the Bulldogs. They put the success of their AHL team behind the experience and progress of who was to be the future of the organization. They did the right thing, and even won on top of that.

Fast-forward to before the playoffs began in the AHL this season. The Marlies, finishing first in their division, and second in the western conference, realized that they have a decent shot at winninng it all. They had their meetings, talked to members of the Leafs head brass about what to do, and came to a conclusion. They were going to start Scott Clemmensen. He is going to give them the best shot to "win."

Woah, woah, woah, woah, woah.


Is the AHL really about winning? Far from it. It's a developmental league for the NHL and players who will someday play in the NHL. Is Scott Clemmensen going to play in the NHL again? Maybe a few games here and there, maybe a back-up spot somewhere. Is Justin Pogge going to play in the NHL? He is going to be the Leafs #1 starter one day!

I really hope you're seeing the point I am making here, or else you may be just as slow as the Leafs management, and if you are, I apologize.

What really boggles my mind is that Justin Pogge even had a good season. It's not like they're throwing some stiff in there, it's Justin freakin' Pogge! He had a 2.34 goals against and .908 save percentage in 41 games, not too shabby! He really, really should be starting in this year's Calder Cup playoffs, and if the Leafs organization had any kind of sense in them whatsoever, they would realize that winning is always put behind the progress of prospects in the AHL. Always.

So Leafs fans, if you see Scott Clemmensen hoisting the Calder Cup on the news next month, think twice before getting excited. Maybe the Leafs should have thought twice about the future of their goaltending. They would have seen that it doesn't include the likes of Scott Clemmensen.