As the Leafs stumble through the first quarter of the season, fans have become more hysterical than ever. It's a combination of high expectations and frustration over waiting for this team to begin to compete again. I would guess that once again many fans over-rated the offseason moves made by Burke. He signed a number of unproven college free agents, an untested Swedish rookie goalie and some big tough bodies for the defense and 4th line. But the core of the team remained the same. I understand it has been 30 games since Jason Blake has scored an even strength goal and 25 games for Matt Stajan. Both are top 6 forwards on this team.
I've gathered some consensus opinions of Leaf fans based on call-in shows and blog posts. Not all the opinions are logical but arm chair GMs are never accountable:
- As fans realize the Leafs will finish near the bottom of the standings, the overwhelming consensus is that the Phil Kessel trade was a huge mistake. They are convinced of that without knowing what players Boston eventually select with those draft picks.
- Most fans would be glad to see Blake, Wallin and Stajan gone tomorrow. Some would throw in Ponikarovski, Stempniak, Mayers with them. Actually many of these players become free agents at the end of the season. Most will not be resigned. However, some players may finish the season with the Marlies when players Stalberg, Hanson, Tlusty and Bozak show they are ready for the NHL.
- Many fans believe Luke Schenn should be benched or sent to the minors. Some have already written him off at the age of 20. A little bit of impatience is showing here. How many second year players don't struggle at some point?
- Ron Wilson should be fired. I guess because he can't turn Blake and Stajan into 40 goal scorers.
- Brian Burke is incompetent because he hasn't been able to turn around the team in 12 months at the job.
- All will be forgiven if the Leafs can ring off 5 straight wins.