We’ve written a couple of times this week about Tim Leiweke and the bold statements he’s made in his first few days as president and CEO of MLSE, the parent company of the Toronto Maple Leafs. (See: “New Leafs prez has Stanley Cup parade-route planned” and “Leiweke wants to be a ‘hero’ in Toronto”.)
Well, today it was the media’s opportunity to respond to those statements, and at least one columnist, Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star, wasn’t impressed.
It’s laughable stuff for alert Toronto sports fans, who probably thought they’d experienced the living pinnacle in human hubris and ego when they lived through four years of Brian Burke. A little more than two weeks’ worth of Leiweke suggests that, in the cultivation of executive arrogance, the new guy in town is intent on scaling new heights.
Safe to say we can put Feschuk in the same camp as 94-year-old former Leaf Wally Stanowski, who said of Leiweke’s plans to rid the ACC hallways of pictures of the team’s more glorious past: “You want my opinion on it? Well, I think he’s lost his brain. You can’t bury the past.”
While Sportsnet’s Michael Grange didn’t exactly rip Leiweke, he did suggest the new MLSE boss was taking a risk by being so audacious.
There is no clear evidence that making those kinds of statements leads to those kinds of results. The biggest challenge MLSE faces is that all three of its teams play in leagues where spending on players is tightly controlled.
At the end of the day, the Leafs aren’t going to win a Stanley Cup unless they get the players to do it. So perhaps all this talk about Leiweke is a product of the summer, when there are no games to watch. But all of the above is just another element to add to the narrative of the richest team in the league that hasn’t won it all since 1967.
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.