Competition Breeds Success


    This must be the mantra Brian Burke is following after recent reports indicate that Jason Allison has been invited to the Leafs training camp on a tryout basis.  Some of you remember Allison from his 2005-2006 season with Toronto.  He was often seen losing in casual races with the young children of Timbits Hockey.  At 34 years of age and having not played for full three seasons, this move probably has some Leafs fans scratching their heads and worrying that John Ferguson Jr. has somehow been reintroduced into the organization.

    However, there is no need for worry as an objective view of this situation renders it in to a no-lose scenario for the Maple Leafs.  There are of course no obligations associated with this tryout and thus management is of the mindset that they may as well see what the North York native has left in his tank.  All kidding aside, Jason did have the rare ability to slow the game down to his pace (quite the accomplishment with Allison).  Moreover, he had a knack for holding onto the puck when he needed to and distributing it efficiently, mostly on the powerplay.

    That being said, his time has come and gone.  While a 60 point (in 66 games) season with Toronto post-lockout should have garnered him a contract in the 2006-2007 campaign, the fact that he has been on the sidelines for these three years is as potent an indicator as any.  There is realistically no room on this rebuilding club for an aging forward with vague powerplay potential at best.  This is a move from Burke and his team that follows two of his governing philosophies.

    The first is that he is a player’s GM.  Allison contacting Toronto and requesting this tryout ability was probably met with the realization that if anything, it would allow him to showcase his skills to other interested clubs.  More importantly, Burke has reiterated that he wants the competition to be fierce this September.  No jobs are safe.  This will merely add to this message in his locker room and ensure that nobody steps on the ice in a few weeks time with anything but the utmost desire to exceed expectations.