Mired in last place and in the depths of the worst start in franchise history, Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke has reversed course and is now encouraging his players to find non-violent alternatives to on ice conflicts. Practice drills will now be bracketed with sensitivity training, art therapy and a customized conflict resolution course known only as ‘The Facewasher’.
With only one win in thirteen games this season Burke has all but admitted that his strategy of foregoing smaller skilled players in lieu of hulking, short fused fight machines may have backfired. “Look it takes a pretty awesome GM to admit when he’s wrong” allowed a downcast Burke while handing out Chums not Scrums novelty hats for his defense corps. “so we’re going to try this new … sigh … Golden Rule Hockey”
While deeply skeptical of the new roadmap, many of the players are taking a pragmatic approach, “Crissakes I can’t even frown at a guy this year without getting a double minor” barked d-man Mike Komisarek “if creating an empathy window gets the team above .500 I’ll give it a go”. Other players remain unconvinced “Man, I know we need to try something new but there’s no way in hell I’m joining in on the other team’s goal celebrations” fumed Colton Orr “I don’t care how much mutual admiration and goodwill it fosters.”
Public reaction to the attitude shift also varied wildly, a healthy percentage of those polled remarking to some effect “Might as well, not like they can fall out of last place” while others were quite enthusiastic “This is such a progressive step forward, if I actually followed sports I’d truly be delighted”.
About the Author: Al Rankin writes vicariously through others. You probably shouldn't trust what he says, although it's cool to lend him money, he's totally good for it. @Al_Rankin on Twitter