The Leafs are preaching accessibility this year. And blogs.
Longtime broadcaster Joe Bowen has a blog. Former Sun columnist Mike Ulmer, too. Even John Ferguson Jr. And get this -- the latter blog is not bad at all, and as these house-organ offerings go pretty glowing.
Ferguson has never been good at articulating the vision thing. But even if this is not my full definition of a blog -- there are no links or comments, just to name a couple essentials on that list -- it was actually helpful to call it up and read JFJ's attempt to "explain our thinking" on the Leafs' latest round of cuts, especially 2006 first-rounder Jiri Tlusty:
Our first-rounder from last year Jiri Tlusty really impressed us. We were confident when we drafted him, but for him to come into an NHL camp and play the way he did was a real boost. He has good offensive skills, he plays with purpose, he blocks shots. Hockey people said he was a terrific all-around player and that’s exactly what we saw.
We are still considering the best place for Jiri to play this season. He can play junior in Sault Ste. Marie or with the Marlies. It’s probably rarer for a player to play in the AHL as an 18-year-old than it is in NHL. We have been talking to the people in the Soo who are very anxious to have him. Craig Hartsburg, the coach of the Canadian National Team coaches in the Soo. Wherever he plays he’ll develop well.
Other stuff gleaned from JFJ concerns Robbie Earl (not ready for the NHL) and Kris Newbury ("made an improved commitment ... to be in the best possible condition").
This is not exactly hard-hitting stuff, but it is an "improved commitment", and actually Ferguson has been posting more regularly than the other two I mentioned (which means that he is fulfilling another essential of blogdom -- post often). It'll be interesting to see how it goes through the season, when the inevitable tempests arise.
With the season started next week, the NHL preview bloggers' roundtable debuts on Monday, running three parts. John Ferguson Jr., the invitation to join is in the e-mail.
Related: After a fine rookie season, A Foot in the Crease is back with their weekly Leafs/NHL podcasts. Check 'em out.