On the Maple Leafs, Redskins and rebuilding
Tonight the Caps take on the Maple Leafs, and I’ve been thinking a lot lately of the parallels between the Leafs and our own local football team. Both squads have extremely rabid fanbases and huge media conglomerates that hang on every word they say. Both have a rich, proud history and have also failed spectacularly in recent years despite massive investments in time and money.
See, I think the average fan is pretty smart (for the most part). We can accept a rebuilding job, and we can accept painful years if there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and something that looks like a plan. For all the heat the Caps took in light of the Jaromir Jagr situation, they were smart enough to get out of it, trade him and other older players for 75 cents on the dollar, and blow the whole thing apart. That’s what I admired so much about the Caps rebuilding job. What we as fans can’t accept is an organization having a mandate to rebuild (like the post-John Ferguson, Jr. Leafs and last year’s 4-12 Redskins) and then trying to do the whole thing half-assed, while grabbing high-priced, older players (like Donovan McNabb) failing to trade away players that no longer fit your plans (like Tomas Kaberle) and trading away valuable assets (like draft picks).
It’s difficult to watch your team bottom out. But it’s excruciating to watch a team that’s mediocre, because they’re not good enough to compete for championships, and not bad enough to get high draft picks. This is the issue both franchises face. And now, they’ve both taken their mandates for rebuilding, and the chance they had to sell their fans on it, and thrown it all away. How can the Redskins talk about rebuilding now after (yet another) off-season of trading away picks for a quick fix? Similarly, how can the Leafs sell their fans on rebuilding after trading away so much for Phil Kessel (and not getting anyone to set him up)?
The worst thing is, both teams will go through this again over the summer. Redskins fans will get their hopes up at whatever washed-up free agent they manage to overpay, and Leafs fans will watch the Bruins collect another top-5 pick. I fear it will continue as long as we as fans continue to support mediocrity with our time and wallets.
| December 6, 2010; 3:45 PM ET
Categories: Capitals, Redskins, Ryan Cooper | Tags: Capitals, Redskins, Ryan Cooper
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Posted by: jcurrin | December 7, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse