All is Quiet in the Centre of the Hockey World

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All is Quiet in the Centre of the Hockey World

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house. Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. And many major Toronto sports organizations would like to keep it that way.

Have you noticed how little talk there is about the Maple Leafs in Toronto? Yes, I am asking you a serious question. The Maple Leafs have been virtually under the radar as they go through their latest rebuilding project. Pretty tough to do in Canada’s biggest media market. That’s what happens when there is a baseball team in town that broke a 23-year playoff drought and was one hit away from a shot at the World Series. Hardly anyone pays attention. But even with the baseball season over it has been rather quiet for the Maple Leafs to this point.

The Blue Jays themselves are not making a whole lot of noise this off-season. Aside from Josh Donaldson winning the American League Most Valuable Player award and the naming of a new President and a new General Manager, not a peep. Basically, the team will go into Spring Training next February with virtually the same line up in 2015. There have been cries about the Blue Jays not making improvements to the pitching staff (see Price was Not Worth the Price) but the level of outrage is as high as complaining about finding a strand of hair in your restaurant meal.

The Raptors are carrying on what they have been doing the last two years. But they too have gone about their business which may seem boring to those who cover the team. But as long as the team keeps winning they will continue to operate that way.

Perhaps the only way to succeed in a crazy sports town is to hopefully be ignored. Not completely mind you, but at a level where if you lose a few games in a row it does not cause an uproar. Usually, when you have a Maple Leafs team that is sitting last in the division with a sub-500 record there are  calls for a coaching change or a player to be traded. Right now the only controversial thing coming out of the Maple Leafs organization is whether the team will change their logo.

Hype is great but sometimes it brings with it attention and expectations that are unnecessary. Frankly, world domination can’t be achieved when there are a lot of people trying to catch a glimpse of every move you make. There will be fans who follow a team no matter how well or how badly they do. But nobody ever got things done if everyone kept an eye on them. Let’s see how well the Habs are doing. Their fans always whine about being ignored by the Toronto media. So let’s give them what they want. They will rue the day that they did.

Also see:

The Leafs Got Babcock… Now What?
Only Losers Look for Someone to Blame
Are You Really a Habs Fan? Or Do You Just Hate the Leafs?

Price Was Not Worth the Price

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Price was not Worth the Price

The Boston Red Sox have found their ace and the Toronto Blue Jays are back on the market looking for theirs. David Price decided to sign on with the Red Sox this week almost a year since their former ace Jon Lester went to the Chicago Cubs as a free agent.

Seeing Price go to a division rival may seem like a big blow to the Blue Jays but really it is not. Price had not been at his best when it matters the most, in the playoffs. Had he won all of his starts and be as dominant as he was in the regular season, plus if Alex Anthopoulos was still the General Manager, I don’t think the Blue Jays would hesitate in making Price an offer. But unless he continues to pitch out of the bullpen in the postseason, I’m not sure he was worth breaking the bank over.

There is a reason why there was so much attention paid towards Marco Estrada. Unlike Price, Estrada has pitched well in the playoffs and nearly lifted the Blue Jays to a come-from-behind series victory over the Kansas City Royals in the American League Championship Series. Estrada may be a .500 pitcher and at best a number three starter in the rotation but his performance in the playoffs was why he scored big in free agency. JA Happ is another pitcher that is cut from the same cloth. If he gets 2 or 3 postseason wins, no one will question his signing.

Clayton Kershaw is another star pitcher who has floundered in the playoffs. It may not seem fair but athletes are judged when it matters most. Dan Marino, Charles Barkley, Eric Lindros, all three have had great careers in their respective sports but I would bet all would trade in their accolades for a championship ring.

I’m sure Price will do well for the Red Sox. I don’t think his first impression in Boston will not be like the one he had in Toronto. Regardless, it will be interesting to see if Boston makes the playoffs in 2016. Then we’ll see if Price was worth the money.