Poll: Burke has Leafs on wrong track
A new poll finds Torontonians aren't impressed with the Leafs and the leadership of embattled GM Brian Burke. (Joel Lemay/QMI Agency)
Leafs Nation is restless.
Less than one quarter of the city think the Toronto Maple Leafs are on the right track, according to a new Nanos/Toronto Sun poll.
The exclusive poll finds Torontonians aren't impressed with the Leafs and the leadership of embattled general manager Brian Burke.
The telephone poll asked 501 Toronto residents March 17-18: "Thinking about Brian Burke's term as general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, do you think the team is on the right track or the wrong track?"
The results were as bad as the Leafs current nine-game home-ice losing streak.
"We get disappointment, confusion, malaise, all of those emotions when we ask that question," Nik Nanos, president of Nanos Research, told the Sun.
A stunning 47% - almost half the city - were "unsure" what track the team is on, 30% of Torontonians think the Leafs are on the wrong track and only 23% of those polled thought the team was on the right track.
The poll was done a week before the Leafs racked up a 4-3 shootout loss against the New York Rangers Saturday night.
Nanos, a long-suffering Leafs fan himself, said the poll results are "not a very good endorsement of Brian Burke and the direction (of the team)."
"Only about 23% think things are moving in the right direction," Nanos said. "I think this speaks to the frustration Torontonians have related to the team.
So who are the 30% of Hogtown residents who see the Leafs as being on the wrong track? Are they Montreal Canadiens fans?
"I hope not, I don't think (Toronto) is that red," Nanos said.
"I would say that 30% of the city is probably designed to always complain about the Toronto Maple Leafs going in the wrong direction."
He suggested the Buds may be better off writing off the naysayers - like they've written off this NHL season - and focusing on the almost 50% of the city who aren't engaged in the Leafs "progress."
"Maybe the (Leafs) should start from the assumption, 'you know what three out of every 10 Torontonians are going to gripe about what we do anyways, we've got one out of four in the bag, let's focus on the rest that are up for grabs,' " Nanos said.
That's the good news for Burke - if there is any these days - that almost 50% of Toronto isn't even paying attention to how bad the Leafs are doing.
"At least there is an opportunity for the Toronto Maple Leafs organization to engage the city, put forth a plan and provide, yes, hope for the future," Nanos said.
"If you're a Toronto Maple Leafs fan you've got to have hope. That's all we've had since 1967."
Nanos said it's clear from the poll most fans aren't even looking for a Stanley Cup win, just some sort of plan.
"What most fans are looking for is not a guarantee as to performance but an idea of what direction that the team is going in, what is the plan and how he (Burke) is going to achieve that," Nanos said.
"I don't think there is a sense of that at this particular time."
The poll is considered accurate plus or minus 4.4%, 19 times out of 20.