The Panthers, winners of the Southeast, released a video taking shots at all the critics who said they weren't going to be a good hockey team. (They're not a good hockey team, but whatever.) But Florida's playoff appearance means something in the bigger picture: the Toronto Maple Leafs are now the only team who haven't made the playoffs since the Lockout.
MLSE published an open letter to their fans last night, apologizing for the latest lost season. It reads, in part,
"We have fallen short of everyone's expectations, and for that we are sorry. We take full responsibility for how this team performs on the ice, and we make no excuses. The way this year ended was unacceptable. Results are the only measure of success in sports and the results speak for themselves."
Which would sort of defeat the purpose of the apology. Leafs fans don't particularly want words, they want some kind of sign that their millions of dollars over the years have done something other than make some rich people richer. About the only bullet left in MLSE's chamber is to fire Brian Burke, who's doggedly sticking to his "bigger-is-better" strategy that he trumpeted four playoff-less season ago.
I'm not sure it's Burke's fault, since a bad team is bad for any number of reasons, and if it were so easy to fix, they'd obviously do it. But blaming the media isn't the answer, nor is blaming the fans for booing. So then, this open letter, which also ran in Toronto newspapers this morning, isn't an apology. It's a plea: please keep coming to games. We can't profitably lose without you.