The Welcome Whirl
Even in a multi-channel, multi-platform sports media world in which pretty much everything and anything is possible for the viewing public, it's striking how much oxygen the Summer Olympics take up.
For the two weeks in which the London Olympics have been ongoing, the rest of the sports landscape has been lost in a whirl, submerged by the steady drumbeat of stories and information emanating from the British capital. Here in the GTA, the voices of other sports and other leagues are barely heard. The CFL is barely noticed. Ditto for the Canadian Open golf. The Rogers Cup tennis is struggling to be noticed.
If there's a good side to this, it's that we haven't had to listen to the predictable propaganda coming out of the NHL collective bargaining negotiations. The NHL-NHLPA blather is lost out there in the non-Olympic atmosphere and frankly, given that they're not going to be playing hockey quite probably until December, its a nice break that would only be better if it could last longer.
The other good side to the Olympics in this neck of the woods is that we haven't had to listen, at least not to the same extent, to the usual whining and moaning about the Maple Leafs and what they have and haven't done. GM Brian Burke has added three forwards- James Van Riemsdyk, Leo Komarov and Jay McClement - so far this summer, and drafted and signed a top defence prospect, Morgan Rielly.
Still, you hear the lament of "why haven't the Leafs done anything?" Well, if you accept the premise that adding three forwards is nothing even though JVR may be an impact forward, then you have to at least look around the NHL and acknowledge that few teams have done a great deal.
Yes, the Rangers added Rick Nash, Minny signed both Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, and Carolina traded for Jordan Staal, although the price paid - Brandon Sutter, a good prospect and a high first round pick - was substantial.
Otherwise, unless you consider Jiri Hudler to Calgary or Mike Ribeiro to Washington moves of the earthshaking variety, the vast majority of teams have either done no more than the Leafs or less. That makes sense in this environment, for with the terms of the next CBA yet to be established, making big, expensive moves could end up being very problematic.
Sadly, many in Toronto see only the Leafs, what Burke does and doesn't do, and not the larger context. So the whining and moaning is sure to emerge soon. If only the Olympics could go on for another month.