Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Roll call of the apologists

It has been a busy few days for the owners, General Managers and coaches of the majority of those Canadian teams that didn't make the playoffs for 2012.  What with all the so sorry's  and promises to be much much better this time next year.


The walk of shame began in Montreal at then end of March, when Geoff Molson, bade au revoir to Pierre Gauthier and  offered up his regrets to the fans of Les Canadiens. If you listen carefully out of Montreal, you can probably hear the revving of the engine of the autobus that was about to run over Randy Cunneyworth for the final time.

You know that things are terribly wrong in Montreal when even Don Cherry is feeling sorry for the state of hockey in the land of the Rocker.

Globe and Mail-- Who's in better shape: The Habs for Leafs?
Globe and Mail-- The woeful state of the Leafs and Habs
Globe and Mail-- Don't expect a magical turnaround in Montreal
Globe and Mail-- Canadiens fire Gauthier, begin search for new GM Fixing Habs will take time 'Merci beaucoup a nos fans' Old guard returning to run Habs? New GM will face monumental task What makes a brilliant GM? Searching for a saviour
Toronto Star-- Montreal Canadiens glory days are gone, likely for good
Montreal Gazette-- Molson casts net to win back fans
Montreal Gazette-- Gauthier's firing caps a season to forget

Mr. Molson's version of I'm Sorry, was just the first of the roll call of the apologists, a process that went into full flight with the end of the regular season over the weekend and the sudden realization in many Canadian cities that hey, there's no hockey game tonight.

The Leafs of course being the biggest market and with it the biggest disappointment  felt the need to set the record straight (though surely the locals have seen it all by now) so ownership dispatched an apology in the local papers and posted same to its website, while General Manager Brian Burke delivered the address to Leaf Nation.

His address a mixture of regret and bombast, all of it combined into a nice bit of truculence to those who might suggest that the Leafs follow the lessons of those that have skated before them (hello Pittsburgh), a suggestion that was met with a blast of that old Burkian Bombast.

Toronto Star-- Apologetic Brian Burke says Maple Leafs will 'retool' for next year
Toronto Star-- Maple Leafs say sorry
Toronto Sun-- Burke sounds like a broken record
Toronto Sun-- Earth to Burke you have little to trade
Toronto Sun-- Apologies don't cut it, fans want wins
Toronto Sun-- Impatient Burke will stick to Leafs plan
Toronto Sun-- Leafs sorry for 2011-12 collapse
National Post-- Leafs lacked confidence, Randy Carlyle says
National Post-- Leafs GM Brian Burke: 'Pittsburgh model, my ass'
National Post-- Leafs GM Burke apologizes to fans, but won't change his focus
National Post-- Raptors did it, Canucks did it, and now Leafs: Apologizing to fans
National Post-- Leafs can only be patient with Brian Burke for so long
Globe and Mail-- Defiant Burke says Leafs 'going in the right direction'
Globe and Mail-- Leafs ownership aplogizes to fans for 'unacceptable' end to season
Globe and Mail-- Leafs get their end of season report cards
Globe and Mail-- Leafs try to take lessons from lost season
Globe and Mail-- Maple Leafs should apologize to the CBC too
Globe and Mail-- Brian Burke says Leafs fans deserve better

Next up on the apology stage, the Calgary Flames a team that was just horrendous down the stretch, suddenly it seems coming to the realization that they may have to trade or at least ask if they can trade Jarome Iginla, in the hopes we imagine that others will shower them with prospects and talent.

Jay Feaster took the questions, well kind of sort of, for the Flames, outlining the organizations disappointment at not making the playoffs, whatever blue print they had in place apparently not quite working to plan.

Calgary Sun-- Flames' direction needs to change
Calgary Sun-- Passionate Sutter hopes to return
Calgary Sun-- Feaster mum on Iginla
Calgary Sun-- 'Sorry' state of Flames
Calgary Sun-- Flames anticipate summer of change
Calgary Sun-- Flames need to start rebuilding
Calgary Herald-- Frustrated Flames will aim higher next NHL season A final farewell? Rebuild or reload, Sutter wants to guide Flames again The cure for stopping the insanity: Out with the old, in with the new Feaster takes the blame
National Post-- Flames captain Jarome Iginla: 'I don't know what next year holds'
Globe and Mail-- Calgary Flames at a crossroads
Globe and Mail-- Iginla edging closer to doorway out of Calgary
Globe and Mail-- Questions dog Flames into off-season

Moving North, Edmonton too wants to say sorry, the young stars just not quite ready to lead the Oilers back to the promised land of Stanley Cup playoff dates into May and June.

Of course, not much was said about the idea of letting one of those blue chip stars play the bulk of the season in an injured state only sending him to surgery when the last week of the season arrived.  Not exactly the kind of thing that management may find useful when trying to lure even more players to Edmonton,  the expression "we'll look after you" kind of has a different meaning in Northern Alberta apparently.

However, for the Oilers lady luck just keeps a shining, even in a year where they failed to make the playoffs, the Oil can tell their fans that better days are ahead, perhaps as soon as the day of the NHL draft, once again the Oilers hold the first pick overall, third year in a row they have held that spot.

Third time is the charm perhaps in Edmonton, maybe next year they won't even be in the running for the lottery ball drop.

Edmonton Journal-- Oilers coach says he's part of the solution
Edmonton Journal-- Many questions to ponder as Oilers miss another post-season
Edmonton Journal-- Oilers blue line needs glaring
Edmonton Journal-- Oilers Nail No. 1 pick for third straight year
Edmonton Journal-- Draft lottery becoming old hat for Tanbellini
Edmonton Sun-- Oilers kids impatient for turnaround
Edmonton Sun-- Oilers pack it up
Edmonton Sun-- Oilers have a ball
Edmonton Sun-- Prominent Oilers get boot from 'Da Boss'
Edmonton Sun-- Oilers' Renney welcomes scrutiny
Edmonton Sun-- Renney stuck to his principles
Edmonton Sun-- Oilers need to get it right Playoff berth next season vital to Oilers Oilers near bottom in bang for player buck

Even Winnipeg offered up regrets, though we're pretty sure the locals in River City weren't really all that worried about the state of the Jets.  After seeking to return to the NHL ever since the Jets became Coyotes, 2011-12 was  year where the locals were just  thankful to be back in the league this year.

Indeed, the love affair between team and fan base can't get any clearer than in the thoughts of Jets co-owner David Thomson, who recently shared his impressions of the Jets and Winnipeg with the Winnipeg Free Press.

So smitten with their newly adopted team, that the team didn't even qualify for any form of equalization payments from the league, (something we imagine they dipped into rather frequently when they were known as the Thrashers and lived in Georgia) such was the strength of the Box office, television revenue and sales of all things with Jets on them.

They packed the MTS to watch an entertaining team on the ice and if only a bit of finish could have been applied to a number of key games down the stretch the Jets would have been playoff bound, perhaps even as high as a top seed in the pecking order thanks to the seeding system in place.

Still, the honeymoon year will continue into the off season, hopeful for a strong September camp and a improving status on the standings page in the next year.  The Jets know the changes they need to make, where to tweak the lineup, considering the success they've had in all facets of their development in just one year, the fans probably think they're in pretty good hands in the front office.

Winnipeg Free Press-- No quick fixes in the future
Winnipeg Free Press-- Jets GM short on drama and intrigue in media address
Winnipeg Free Press-- Chevy open to draft manoeuvres
Winnipeg Free Press-- Honeymoon over: Phase II begins
Winnipeg Free Press-- Noel raises the bar for 2012-13 season
Winnipeg Sun-- Jets final thoughts on season
Winnipeg Sun-- Jets GM cool with coach Claude
Winnipeg Sun-- Chevaldayoff optimistic, realistic about Jets' future
Winnipeg Sun-- Real test for Jets GM comes now
Winnipeg Sun-- Plenty of prospects for Jets to pursue
Winnipeg Sun-- Jets definitely in need of change Jets GM promises fans 'unwavering commitment'
Globe and Mail-- Jets ready to celebrate 'restored legacy'
Globe and Mail-- Jets know more is expected
National Post-- Winnipeg's reputation with NHL players improving

Steady improvement on the ice, probably means that next season won't be one for apologies in Winnipeg,  however, we're not so sure that the same players won't be back on the same stage elsewhere at the end of next year.

All these apologies caught the eye of the Globe and Mail Editorial group, who collectively have called for an end to the whimpering and the start of some winning on the ice from Montreal to Calgary, Toronto to Edmonton.

Meanwhile in Ottawa and Vancouver, there was no need for any mea culpas, they were far too busy printing up Stanley Cup Playoff tickets.

The only apology being, that they don't have enough to meet demand we imagine.

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