You could practically hear the snickering when new MLSE president Tim Leiweke proclaimed earlier this week that he’d already planned the parade route for when the Toronto Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup.
It was a bold statement made even bolder by the fact the Leafs haven’t even been to the Cup final, let alone won it, since 1967, which just so happened to be the last year the NHL was comprised of only six teams.
Leiweke’s confidence also conjured up memories of another MLSE executive who once talked a big game.
Remember this? “The guy that turns this team around and wins a championship here, they’re going to name schools after him.”
That was Brian Burke back in 2008 when he was hired as the Leafs’ president and general manager.
Burke, of course, no longer has that job. But that hasn’t stopped Leiweke from making similar statements.
“The idea of winning is very intriguing because whoever does do that here is going to be a hero,” he said in an interview with the Toronto Star.
Granted, we’re not sure if anyone would actually consider Leiweke a “hero” if the Leafs (or the Raptors, or Toronto FC) won it all, especially given his role is more to do with business than player personnel.
But we suppose if it’s true that winning starts at the top, Leiweke will deserve credit, as he received in Los Angeles when the Kings won the Cup in 2012.
PS — Leiweke also said if James Reimer is anything like Jonathan Bernier, the Leafs “have the best tandem of goalkeepers in the NHL.” Which is another pretty bold statement considering those two goalies have combined to start just seven playoff games in their entire careers.
The Los Angeles Kings may owe Mike Richards money until 2031 (seriously), but in settling his grievance, the team and player more or less get to turn the page.
Not before Kings GM Dean Lombardi shares his sometimes startling perspective, though.
Lombardi has a tendency to be candid, especially in the press release-heavy world of sports management. Even by his standards, his account of Richards’ “destructive sprial” is a staggering read from the Los Angeles Times’ Lisa Dillman.
“Without a doubt, the realization of what happened to Mike Richards is the most traumatic episode of my career,” Lombardi said in a written summation he provided to the Los Angeles Times. “At times, I think that I will never recover from it. It is difficult to trust anyone right now – and you begin to question whether you can trust your own judgment. The only thing I can think of that would be worse would be suspecting your wife of cheating on you for five years and then finding out in fact it was true.”
Lombardi provides plenty of eyebrow-raising statements to Dillman, including:
- He believed he “found his own Derek Jeter” in Richards, a player who “at one time symbolized everything that was special about the sport.”
- Lombardi remarked that “his production dropped 50 percent and the certain ‘it’ factor he had was vaporizing in front of me daily.”
- The Kings GM believes that he was “played” by Richards.
Again, it’s a powerful read that you should soak in yourself, even if you’re unhappy with the way the Kings handled the situation.
Maybe the most pressing of many lingering questions is: will we get to hear Richards’ side of the story?
Despite owning two Stanley Cup rings, there are a healthy number of people who aren’t wild about Jonathan Quick.
Those people might feel validated through the Los Angeles Kings’ first two games, as he followed a rough loss to the San Jose Sharks with a true stinker against the Arizona Coyotes on Friday.
Sometimes a goalie has a bad night stats-wise, yet his team is as much to blame as anything else. You can probably pin this one on Quick, who allowed four goals on just 14 shots through the first two periods.
Things died down in the final frame, but let’s face it; slowing things down is absolutely the Coyotes’ design with a 4-1 lead (which ultimately resulted in a 4-1 win).
A soft 1-0 goal turned out to be a sign of things to come:
Many expected the Kings to roar into this second game after laying an egg in their opener. Instead, the Coyotes exploited Quick’s struggles for a confidence-booster, which included key prospect Max Domi scoring a goal and an assist.
It’s worth mentioning that Mike Smith looked downright fantastic at times, only drawing more attention to Quick’s struggles.
After a troubled summer and a failed 2014-15 season, Los Angeles was likely eager to start things off the right way.
Instead, they instead will likely focus on the fact that they merely dropped two (ugly) games.