This is Ian Turnbull as a New Haven Nighthawk, about 1982. He would be just shy of 30 with his NHL career over. Turnbull twice scored 20 goals in a season and was an electrifying talent but I don’t see him mentioned much anymore. He was drafted by the Leafs during a nice stretch of summers where they picked some beauties. From 1970 through 1973, the Leafs drafted the following players in the top 25: Darryl Sittler and Erroll Thompson (1970), Rick Kehoe (1971), Lanny MacDonald and Ian Turnbull (1973). That’s a very nice cluster and they really should have won but they never did raise the Stanley.
Back in those days the media coverage was slanted toward the Montreal Canadiens in this country, mostly because they were winning every damn year. The Leafs were regarded as a team that had slipped after the glory 60s but if they’d caught fire in the mid-70s and won everything I don’t think we would have died of shock. They had some good players.
Pat Burns got the Leafs close when he was coach, and Pat Quinn had some nice clubs that stopped just a little short of a “pennant.” All the while there have been and still are interesting stories and terrific players wearing the Maple Leaf.
Those stories aren’t being written these days, as the Toronto media has gone a half bubble off plumb finding new ways to get Brian Burke to Toronto. It’s been icky for a couple of weeks now but the stories now are going beyond the pale. They have Dave Nonis playing the role of Robin while Batman waits outside Gotham until the fog clears. Who does this? Is Dave Nonis incapabale of being the Toronto General Manager on his own? And if they were to approach him with this plan, is he so humbled by his recent firing that he would jump at the chance to play Arthur C. Carlson?
I don’t buy it.
Also, if the Leafs did hire Nonis for a position not named General Manager with the expectation that Burke would take the big job next summer wouldn’t there by some hint of bad form? Couldn’t Anaheim simply connect the dots and run screaming to the league? And what message does this send to NHL fans in terms of behind the scenes tampering? I know NHL clubs talk to UFA’s before July 1, that’s obvious since a bunch sign within hours of the deadline. But one year? I think that speaks to something very wrong with the way the National Hockey League does business. If the Anaheim owner is impaired in any way from running his hockey team because of meddling from another club in the league, then it’s Mickey Mouse and backwards and ridiculous and all of the things the CFL is often ripped for being.
As for Brian Burke’s personal reasons, that I think we can respect. Brian Burke may already have asked out of his contract and been refused (I haven’t read this in Toronto media reports but it doesn’t mean it isn’t there) and therefore he must wait one calendar year until he signs with another team. If he does sign in Toronto a year from now, it’s my belief that it speaks to the credibility of the National Hockey League. Either I’m completely wrong on this, the Toronto media is the new lunatic fringe or they are being fed information from one side or another.
The “ick” factor on this story is about 9.9/10.
When will someone stand up and state the facts:
- Anaheim has their GM.
- Anaheim is is moving forward.
- Anaheim has their man in place.
- Anaheim has their man under contract.
- The distraction is in Toronto.
- The distraction in Toronto is not making headlines in Anaheim.