Thank you...thank you...please, be seated.
Friends, long suffering Leaf fans--you brothers and sisters of mine--assembled media and my fellow bloggers, I stand before you today, on this day, the day of the first TOV State of the Rebuild address filled with humility and honor that you should have ordained me with the responsibility to speak. I pledge to give my all as The Other Vatican Head of the Union and it is my sincerest prayer that my words fall on the fertile soil of the wounded hearts of the Leaf faithful.
But my friends, I do not stand before you on a day of rejoicing. I do not stand before you with a full and satisfied heart. I do not stand before you having witnessed the Captain our Captain lifting the most hallowed cup o'er his head and drinking in sweet victory as our forefathers had. No, in fact that most sacred of days has left our fair nation for a generation and the trials and tribulations that have come have almost swamped the ship of fandom. This is the heartache that beats at the very core of us, the Maple Leaf fans. This is that burden--that legacy that hangs about our neck like a stone, threatening to bring us to our knees.
This history is familiar to you all. After the jubilation of our last cup victory, the fair land of the NHL was invaded by foreign teams looking for the same glory that we first 6 had found. As the competition grew, and the eye of fortune cast her fickle gaze upon other lands, cruel tyrannical men were permitted to enter into the highest levels of our organization and their lack of prudence and foresight turned our fair ship from her true course. Many warriors rose to attempt to sit on the sacred throne and rule with omnipotent wisdom. There have also been men we hoped and prayed would bring us to our former glory, but all have failed; all have fallen short and we sit here in a land of perpetual darkness and perpetual winter.
But no longer!
Friends, this day--this same day of seemingly unending darkness, this day of perpetual disappointment, this day of sack cloth and ashes--yes, even now there are small points of light beginning to form on the horizon. Scattered across this and alien lands sit a group of individuals. Some are old warriors, beaten down by the grind of many seasons. They sit in their studies, take stock of their lives and wonder what it is in their heart that is missing. As they look in their old war chest and see the hockey sweater from their youth with that blue and white beacon of purity shining up at them, they realize that they are called back to one final push.
Some are wide-eyed youths, undrafted, honing their skills in the fields and rinks of small frozen towns, not even knowing that lady fortune has blessed their destiny. They too in their hearts have felt this lack, this gaping hole and this calling that their lives are meant for better things and greater deeds.
Others have already felt the call and have moved to fulfill their destiny. Some of these small points of light currently don the hallowed jersey and wait for the stars to align.
And the stars are moving as we speak.
The heavens opened forth and sent us one man--a prophet, called by lady fortune to lead his adopted people to the promised land. After fulfilling his time in the wilderness he is now here, blessed with wisdom and foresight, slowly bringing those little individual points of light together to become a great beam that will pierce the present darkness.
And this brings us here to tonight: to the state of the rebuild. The great poet T.S. Eliot once said that "a hockey team shall forever be building, for they are attacked from without and decay from within." Friends, for years we have lacked that mechanism of building. We have been satisfied with the decay and we did not repel the attacks. But no longer. We shall drink from that cup.
So let us keep a keen eye open for further light coming from the horizon--that that new dawn may shine on us and that our children and our children's children will speak of these days as men who speak of a golden era.
But for now, the State of the Union is that we need a top line pivot. Either a center or a high-scoring winger. Someone who is the tip of the spear on the attack. We have a goalie tandem that should push each other to succeed--and if the credit on the Vesa Card is maxed out, I am sure J.S. Giguere will make his way over here eventually. We are also set on D. We may even have an overabundance of Dmen.
But are you satisfied with our forward corps going into next year? We sure aren't. C'mon, deep down you know in your heart of hearts that we wont be making a post season or ever achieving greatness in a post season without at least 2 30g men or 1 40g man. We've got bottom 6 in spades and we've probably got the makings of a great second line in any combination of: Kulemin, Tlusty, Grabovski, Hagman, Blake, Poni, and (ugh) Stajan. We've even got wildcards in Tyler Bozak (special thanks to my friends at PPP for the great nickname), Christian Hanson and Viktor Stalberg.
But where is that true, beating heart of our offence? Or maybe you disagree and say that scoring by committee--a team of lots of 20g men is desireable.
What should be Burke's next big move? er...I mean...where is lady luck smiling next?
a) stand pat
b) top line center/"face of the franchise"
c) top 6 winger--20-30 g man/support cast
d) further truculence
And if you answer b, c, or d let's hear who and why.
Keep the faith