It's six games, not six years. Let's try to relax
Let me get this straight.
Brian Burke is hired on a six-year contract to change the temperature of the Maple Leafs and now, six games – six games! – into his run, there are big black headlines saying he is staying calm and sticking the course and wondering whether the team will hit the reset button or the panic button.
Let’s review here: This is six games into the season for a tream that was lousy last year and may have improved marginally in the off-season. Who was under any kind of illusion that things were going to be great right from the start?
The whole point of a six-year contract, one would think, is to take into account that rebuilding to the desired point will be a long and drawn-out process. It might happen quickly, but that’s not the way to budget. Yet six games in, people are shooting flares into the sky and carrying on like it’s the end of the world?
Let us further surmise that the Leafs don’t beat the Rangers this Saturday night. They might, but let us say they don’t. That would be seven winless games to start the season. The team then has a full week off, before it starts up again in Vancouver on Oct. 24.
My god, if people are wringing hands and the newspapers have about 30 pages of woe-is-me stuff at this point, what will everyone do for the next eight or nine days?
How about this: How about everyone calm down and recognize that progress will come, sooner or later, in short steps and there’s no sense in getting all crazed about it at this point.
This lack of calm common sense brings to mind the 1993 Blue Jays, who were merely the World Series defending champion that year in spring training. This was a veteran-heavy team with a number of new faces that pretty much couldn’t have cared less about wins and losses in spring training. But the Jays lost three consecutive exhibition games in an 11-19 spring and I remember getting a call from a radio station in Toronto asking me to go on the air and talk about “what’s wrong with the Blue Jays.’’ Nothing, of course, was wrong. It was just people going off the deep end.
Kind of like the way a lot of people are going about the Leafs these days. And they weren't even good last season.
And in other news, Ernie Els had a good idea the other day at the Presidents Cup.
When this event reconvenes at Royal Melbourne in 2011, it will be held much later in the year. The last time it was held at Royal Melbourne, in 1998, it was played in mid-December.
Whenever it is played, there will be a large gap between the end of the FedEx Cup (or whatever ends the PGA Tour’s real season then) and the Presidents Cup. Els suggested the International team assemble for a couple of days during that gap, play some alternate-shot golf and sort of see which their best teams are.
Mike Weir, who is as fed up with losing (0-4-1 in five Cups despite his own 13-9-2 record) as anyone, seconded the idea.
“I think Ernie’s got something there. I would be in favour of that,’’ Weir said. “We’ve got to turn this thing around and maybe that kind of session will get us better prepared for playing team games.’’
One thing for sure: These guys can certainly afford to assemble anywhere for a couple of days and Greg Norman, who surely will be the International captain in his home country, has his own jet to round up strays. There are some pretty good players getting waxed every other year and clearly the time is long overdue to radically change the way they approach this event.