Columnist: Leiweke’s bravado ‘laughable stuff’

18 Comments

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.