Good afternoon. Thank you all for coming. I know that Coach Babcock is going to speak to you all about the team’s performance after the game tonight, but I wanted to give you a few updates on the team’s activities. But before I get to the news of the day, I think I’d like to discuss a little bit of the coverage from the past couple of months.
On Saturday night, at a time when our nation and the world was watching the peaceful transition of power, and, as many prominent members of the hockey world have said, the transition of the balance of power in National Hockey League from teams like Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Washington to the young guns on the Toronto Maple Leafs, some members of the media were engaged in deliberately false reporting. For all the talk about the proper use of Hockey Twitter, a particular frequent occurrence stands out.
Descriptions of our roster management this season have been intentionally framed in a way to minimize the enormous support that we’ve given to our very own Frank Corrado. This is the first time in our franchise’s history that we’ve been put in a position where people care about who the #7 defenceman is. That has the effect of highlighting the amount of games played as a reflection on our treatment of the player, while in years past, it would be accepted that not waiving the player was support enough.
This season is also the first time that we’ve seen such vitrol to the game being played the right way; an attack on the core values of being a tough, courageous, everything on the line hockey player. This attitude prevents hundreds of thousands of fans from being able to understand what Roman Polak brings to the team as quickly as they would’ve in seasons past.
Inaccurate numbers regarding his underlying performance have also been reported. Many deceitful members of the media have pointed out that his “Corsi-For Percentage” since last season sits at 54.4%. What they should be telling you about is his “Goals-For Percentage”, which sits at 38.3%.
We do know a few things about this situation, so let’s go through the facts. We know that Frank Corrado signed a contract 1-year contract that made him a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs. That contract did not signify that he was going to play in every single game for the Leafs. It is a fact that we have paid him for every day that he has been on the roster, which is very generous. If you divide his salary by the number of games he is on pace to play, he is making more per game than all of the league’s superstars, which is proof that we value him highly.
As for scratching him again after his performance against the New York Rangers, you have to understand where we are coming from. The Leafs believe that the fans are important, and the fans watched him have a bad game on National Television. When you put it that way, that was the largest group of scouts to ever watch a hockey game, both in person and around the globe. Even the New York Times talked about the game the next morning, a game where he did not help us win. With that considered, the evidence was abundant that, even though there was support in the crowd, the extent of his poor performance couldn’t be ignored.
These attempts to lessen the enthusiasm behind our front office’s execution of their plan are shameful and wrong. This group of people are the same ones that brought Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and William Nylander, and all the other rookies into the lineup this year. Every night, this team is greeted by a raucous overflow crowd of over 18,800 fans of the blue and white. There is a waiting list to get season tickets for this team, prompting us to note that we have to bring best experience possible to those watching on TV.
Our fans are ecstatic that the Leafs are doing great. The team finished in 30th last year and now they’re on pace to finish 12th. Every single game, this team delivers a powerful and important message that they have arrived and won’t be leaving soon. This city has their back and are grateful for how they’re playing. They give our players ovations after penalty kills, big saves, big goals, and victories in a display of their never-ending faith in the team and their enthusiasm for what’s to come.
I’d also note that it’s a shame that these critical fans didn’t praise Martin Marincin more for his efforts on Saturday, because of his positioning on one goal and the fact that he created the penalty that led to the second one. Calculator bloggers are putting away their stat sheets and hiding that he was 59.46% in their very own Corsi statistic, only trailing, who’s that? Roman Polak? That’s what you all should be writing and covering, instead of sowing division about a player who is alternatively participating as a member of the team.
The Leafs are committed to putting out the best defensive corps possible, and that was the focus of our lineup decisions, both on Saturday and in all of our games this season. This kind of dishonesty in the media is making it more difficult.
There’s been a lot of talk in the blogosphere about the responsibility to hold Leafs management accountable. And I’m here to tell you it goes two ways. We’re going to hold you accountable as well. Leafs fans deserve better. And as long as the Leafs serve as the messengers for a new way to play hockey, we will take our message directly to the ice where our focus will always be.
Thank you all for being here tonight. We’ll see you after the game.