Getting Wobbly Early
Well, it appears the scenario is set.
If John Ferguson's Leafs get off to a weak start, or have a very bad patch anywhere between October and February, it appears the non-winners who run MLSE are going to hand the keys to the kingdom to Scotty Bowman.
The story refuses to die, the suits haven't hired John Muckler or Harry Sinden to a "senior consultant" job and Bowman continues to leave the door open, saying one thing to some people and another thing to others.
Now, in today's Globe and Mail, he says he'd be open to something "big."
That's probably not the Florida Panthers job, so we can assume it's the Leafs and that the negotiating message is "Show Me the Money." And be prepared to let a living hockey legend have all the power.
It sure doesn't sound like "no," does it?
Interestingly, while MLSE board members continue to undermine Ferguson by allowing this silliness to go on - Richard Peddie et al could kill the story in a heartbeat, but won't - they still may be the ones to balk at giving Bowman all the power.
Money they're willing to waste. They've got lots of it, particularly now that the cap world doesn't force them to spend to their ability.
But authority they jealously guard, having traditionally been unwilling to let various hockey people make important decisions without first getting the okay from people who don't know anything about the sport, namely the board members.
Bowman's a super savvy hockey man, and he wouldn't take the job and be beholden to such people. He's 74 years old with a brilliant record as a coach, but not nearly one so glittery as an adminstrator, depending on how you assess how much he had to do with the decision making process in Detroit under GM Ken Holland. He has been slipping slowly into retirement, but then again, perhaps like Marv Levy he's got the bug again.
The Leafs tried something like this once with Punch Imlach, and it turned out to be a total and complete disaster. Then again, the most influential MLSE suits believe Leaf history began with Nikolai Borschevsky's goal on Tim Cheveldae, so the past has limited impact on them.
Thus this peculiar, destructive dance continues, putting the Leaf organization in a wobbly, unsettled state heading into training camp.
Nope, just can't understand why this team can't win a Stanley Cup. . .