Saturday, June 23, 2007

Toronto's Least-Favourite Lawyer?

According to his official biography:
  • He played four professional seasons at the American Hockey League level with the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators organizations.
  • He was an assistant captain of the 1992 Fredericton Canadiens that won the AHL regular season championship, and was named the team’s “unsung hero” in consecutive years (1991, 1992).
  • He played his college hockey at Providence College where he served as an assistant captain, was an Academic All-American and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Business Administration in 1989
  • He graduated Cum Laude with the degree of juris doctor from the Suffolk University Law School and was admitted to the Massachusetts State Bar in 1996.

The NHL playoffs are over.

The Stanley Cup has convincingly been won.

Sidney Crosby has been anointed.

And for me, this is the time of year when the real hockey season starts.

The jockeying, maneuvering, trading. The bidding, negotiating, signing and lamenting....

The high hopes and the big ones that get away.

And, best of all, the inevitable recriminations.

Now of course I don't really know if he is actually Toronto's least favourite lawyer. My hunch however, is that if polls were conducted, JFJ's approval ratings might look a lot like GWB's.

(In fact, as underachieving sons of very famous fathers, Jr. and W. might indeed have quite a bit to talk about...)

This, of course, is the make it or break it year for Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager, John Ferguson Jr.

And today, on NHL draft day, the Toronto media is already piling on.

As an example, see this from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun:

Learning to lie is part of being an NHL general manager. Doing it for public consumption at a time when your credibility is in disrepute is a questionable practice at best. Ferguson's job as general manager is to make the Leafs better, today and tomorrow.

But his dubious management of the salary cap, his constant parting with draft picks -- three first-round picks and three second-round picks in four years -- with only two goalies (only one can play at once) and a highly doubtful $2-million winger to show for it -- isn't exactly awe inspiring.

But honestly, we've come to expect nothing more than uninspired choices from a general manager who manages like his contract has run out, when only his credibility has.

The Toronto Star's Damien Cox follows suit:

If there is architectural brilliance here, it is truly elusive.

Instead, Ferguson has created the perception that he has abandoned a long-term vision in favour of taking a stab at some degree of short-term success.

His employers have dangled the possibility of a contract extension in front of him, maybe gone as far as to guarantee it to him, but have yet to actually offer him a new contract.

So blame Ferguson, if you want, for throwing the future out the window here.

But blame the laughable leaders of MLSE even more for putting its hockey manager in a completely untenable position, essentially forcing him to sacrifice everything to take a run at eighth place in the Eastern Conference next season.

Sounds like it might be a long season for Toronto's least favourite lawyer.

Or perhaps, might it be over for him by the All-Star break...?

Let the games begin.

- Garry J. Wise, Toronto
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