Can't think it's much fun to wake up as part of the Toronto management team today.
Ouch. With new ownership taking over this summer, suddenly another non-playoff campaign could start to make folks squirm.
The key to making good decisions over the next 24 hours or so, however, lies in understanding all is not lost even if a playoff position may not be in the cards.
This is an improved team that has a good, if not great, group of young players and prospects.
That doesn't change if the playoffs aren't realized. Or, at least, it doesn't have to change.
Cooler heads need to prevail in Leafland going toward's Monday's trade deadline, although it seems likely there may be several moves afoot by Brian Burke and his braintrust. The club may shift into sell mode, depending on what's being offered. While trading this summer's first round pick was a very real possibility two weeks ago, it would now be a very dangerous move considering it may become a lottery pick over the final weeks of the season.
It certainly can't be moved for short-term help. It makes no sense, for example, to move it for a goalie who might help you for a year or two.
As part of a Rick Nash deal? Maybe, if only because Nash is 27 and under contract for another six years.
Beyond that pick, if the Leafs are going to move Luke Schenn or Clarke MacArthur or Nik Kulemin, they can only do it for young players either currently playing in the league or about to play. Not for second round picks. Maybe for first rounders.
It can't be an Alexei Ponikarovsky-for-Luca Caputi deal, a proven NHLer for a minor-league who may or may not graduate to the NHL.
Now a thought on the coach.
Ron Wilson is probably still a good NHL coach. Just not in Toronto.
When he was hired after stints in small hockey markets like Anaheim, Washington and San Jose, a big question was how he would handle the media pressure in Toronto.
Well, over four years, the answer is not well. He has his good days, like a week ago in Vancouver when he held court and was funny, entertaining and informative.
But most of the time the Toronto media just bugs him, and that has become part of the agenda for the hockey club.
When Wilson talked after last night's loss to Washington about how all the trade speculation around the deadline was affecting his young team, that's just setting up an easy excuse for a player to grab on to.
Wilson feels the media heat and is bugged by it. So he assumes everyone else is.
Now it's part of the Leaf team mindset, as if 29 other NHL clubs aren't facing the very same rumours and very same trade deadline.
Its like Wilson talking last week and this week about how tired his team is. After a while, its a self-fulfilling prophesy. The Leafs looked tired against the Caps on Saturday night, so much so that team officials were shocked by the perceived lack of effort.
The coach says the team is tired and bothered by outside distractions. And just like that, that's how they play.