Toronto Maple Leafs fans agree with much that appeared here following their fifth straight loss Saturday night. They seem to have the team's predicament in good perspective. A sampling of those emails received follow with my comments in italics.
IT'S ALL ABOUT TORONTO
I believe the problem has to do with economics. The Leafs sell out every home game, get a ton of money from sales of anything with their logo, have millions from television revenue and no doubt get some generous tax breaks from the government. No wonder they are worth upwards of $400 million. What incentive can there be for management to make them a winner?
Ownership feels pressure to produce a winner because a) they're huge Maple Leaf fans themselves; b) they're used to achieving success or they wouldn't have risen to that status; and c) they want to be liked and not hated around Toronto.
I just hope the organization doesn't make the dreadful mistake of letting coach Paul Maurice go.
Do you actually think the Leafs are the Yankees of hockey? Try the Montreal Canadiens, they are the only thing close.
We'll give you that one in terms of titles won: Canadiens champs 24 times, Yankees with 26 and Leafs with 13 Cups. But Toronto has more of a countrywide following in Canada than Montreal.
You compare the Leafs to the Yankees, ignoring the fact that the Yankees win championships regularly. Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment makes millions off the backs of slavishly devoted fans and has been able to do it without putting a quality product on the ice. Leaf fans deserve better, but they keep drinking the Kool-Aid.
Paul Maurice and John Ferguson Jr. MUST go.
Duck Lake, Ontario
Your comments about the Toronto Maple Leafs are dead on. In addition, the contracts for veterans Bryan McCabe, Darcy Tucker, Pavel Kubina, Hal Gill and, to a degree, Jason Blake have crippled the payroll not only for this season but for the next 3-4 years.
LEGACE LEAVES LEGACY IN HOCKEYTOWN
Manny Legace had some good regular-season stats in his tour with the Red Wings, but tanked in the playoffs and gave up soft goals at the wrong time. The Red Wings hierarchy was under the gun after being a very heavy favorite and you know of the past misfortunes of Tim Cheveldae, Curtis Joseph, Chris Osgood and Legace. Management does not have much patience with goalies who falter, especially in the playoffs where everyone is expected to lift their game by leaps and bounds. The Wings are better off with Dominik Hasek and Osgood now, but good luck to Legace.
Sterling Heights, Mich.
I always thought Manny Legace got the shaft after the playoffs, where the entire Red Wings team forgot to score goals. He put in his time behind Dominik Hasek and Curtis Joseph and he should have been the No. 1 goalie. Osgood's resurgence puzzles and amazes me. Good for him. At least Legace is on an appreciative team now. I'm glad he's getting his due.
Ann Arbor, Mich.
Detroit still loves Manny Legace, just like we still loved Chris Osgood. Legace deserved a chance to be a starting goalie on a regular basis, and he got his chance and is running with it. I know I speak for a lot of Detroiters when I say we wish him well, and are happy to see him thrive against everyone except the Wings.
Royal Oak, Mich.
Watching Canada win the World Junior Championships for a fourth year in a row, I was wondering if right-hand catching goalies have an advantage or disadvantage in comparison to left-handers?
Moncton, New Brunswick
Talking to skaters about that, most say there is no advantage. Some say it looks odd, the glove being on the opposite side, but it doesn't affect what they're trying to do.
Any word on whether Peter Forsberg is coming back? He still has the talent to be one the premier players in league. What teams would be in the running for him if he does come back?
New York, N.Y.
Forsberg was awaiting medical clearance to return to skating. He's still bothered by ankle and/or foot soreness. In terms of which teams are in the running? Any team that is contending, but Forsberg is going to pick the one he thinks has the best chance for the Cup.
Detroit defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom was the best Red Wings player in the first half of the season, and I believe he is the best player in the league this year. He was a plus-34 in the first half. The next best defenseman was a plus-18.Lidstrom also was leading all defensemen in scoring. He plays against every other team's best forwards and dominates both ends.
Clinton Township, Mich.
Do you think the Chicago Blackhawks will overcome the injury to Jonathon Toews and make it to the playoffs?
I don't think it depends on Toews because I don't think the Blackhawks have enough depth to reach 95 points, which is what it's going to take in the West. They are vastly improved and on the right track, though.
I'm getting tired of Thomas Vanek getting criticized because of his salary. Every time anyone wants to complain about Vanek's production vs. his salary they ought to retract Vanek's name and insert a particularly knuckleheaded Edmonton GM named Kevin Lowe. After all, he was the person who drove Vanek's salary to its current level even after being told his attempts would fail.
Miller Place, N.Y.
Once again the Florida Panthers are down and out. No surprise. I place blame on Jacques Martin for not making any moves. I think it's a huge mistake to have him try to do both jobs as GM and coach. I'd like to see a trade of Tomas Vokoun to Ottawa for Ray Emery and maybe a second-round pick?
You've just eliminated yourself from GM consideration. I'm sure the Senators would do a deal like that in a heartbeat. And it wouldn't improve the Panthers one bit, unless you consider the benefits of having your enforcer play in goal.