No Blow Up Needed for the Toronto Maple Leafs by Jamie Gilcig – #NHL FEB 20, 2015

jg2CFN – With the media buzzing about a possible tear down and rebuild of the Toronto Maple Leafs it gave me pause to ponder why on earth to take that direction?

The Leafs have more than the average of talent. They are near the cap ceiling as well.  Essentially they have been badly managed as a team and their GM/President simply has not cooked up a recipe for success.

Fixing something is always a good idea if it’s not working, but a tear down?  Really?  Isn’t that just admitting that your leadership failed and blaming the players?

And while some players may have cause for blame should Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf really be blamed for the team’s failure?  I don’t really think so.  Kessel has performed near his peak during his time with Leafs.  He’s not a power forward.  He’s not a mucker.  He’s a scorer and points machine.  He gets the puck on the net and better than average he puts it in the net.   30 teams need those qualities including Toronto.  How do you replace that?   The fact that the team gave him a huge long term high dollar contract isn’t Phil’s fault.

Phaneuf isn’t Shea Weber.  He’s not even PK Subban.   Why would a team put that on him?  He’s been a reliable player who’s done what he’s expected to do statistically.    Again, it’s up to the team’s management to have a vision, put the right coaches in place, and of course build the right roster to implement said vision.

And that’s what’s been lacking in Toronto.   They have some great offensive players who play offense.  If you want to be a run and gun team then you build that.  If you want to be a defensive juggernaut you build that.   Whatever choice you made you have to put the players in place that will best effect that.

If Brendan Shanahan wants to rip the team apart what will he build in its place?  A lot of teams copy what seems to work.  After the Broad Street Bullies teams got tougher.

For every successful rebuild like Pittsburgh or Chicago there’s an Edmonton or the Islanders where fans sacrificed many seasons while their teams tried to figure it out.  Some may never figure it out.

Hockey more than many sports is a head game. It’s driven by emotion and demands at its best everything the human body can do on skates.  Players endure pain that mere mortals would never do.  They are asked to take their games to levels which make some of them into legends.

The problems of Toronto still seem to be there.   When you know what ails your organization and fail for three years to address them, blowing things up seems to be an excuse and not a solution.

The Leaf Nation supports its franchise more than almost any professional sports franchise.   There is no lack of resources or cash.

Mike Babcock still hasn’t resigned in Detroit and many fans are hoping for a savior for the franchise.    This writer would wonder if he’d want his management to “Blow things up” and start from scratch?

Should the Leaf's Blow things up in 2014/15?

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  1. Blow up the Leafs? Perhaps the best thing to do. The last time the Leafs made the playoffs was in 2004, 11 seasons ago.

    Yes, they have been a badly managed team. But the players have also underperformed for too many years.

    And if anyone thinks Mike Babcock will come to Toronto and be the saviour I have one question for you….what are you smoking? He will NOT be Toronto’s next head coach.

  2. Thank you Jamie for getting it right. Toronto Maple Leaf fans should take a Valium, a deep breath and chill out. You and the media are the biggest obstacles to this team ever winning another Stanley Cup. Throw in a management team that is incompetent and you have your answer as to why successful, Stanley Cup winning coaches can’t make it here, why players who get booed nightly in Toronto go off to other teams and become stars and why top free agent players won’t come here. Got it?

    Sure blame the players, that’s what all the arm-chair “experts” have been doing for years. Phaneuf will go to another team and be successful. Phil Kessel will come back to Toronto with another team and fill the Leaf’s nets. All the experts will scratch their heads and wonder, “why couldn’t they play like that when they were here???” Duh. Give you 3 guesses.

    Maybe Toronto fans should get off their hands and get into the game at the ACC. Maybe the chichi crowd in the Platinums should show up when the puck drops. Maybe the media should start to realize that by feeding the frenzy they’re contributing to the problem. Stop blaming the players. If management can’t read talent, it doesn’t matter what you pay a player, one talented guy like Kessel can’t do it by himself. Management couldn’t give Mats Sundin talented line mates but he stayed and fought hard every night. In the end Toronto fans disgustingly ran the guy out of town. Why? Because he wanted to stay BUT the “fans” wanted Mats to sacrifice himself for a favourable trade.

    Go ahead and blow up another Leafs team – then another – then another. Bunch of dimwits. As for me, I’m a little older and resigned to not seeing another Stanley Cup in my lifetime in Toronto. Don’t think these “experts” will ever get it. However, there is a sliver lining for me. I watched the Toronto Maple Leafs win 4 Stanley Cups in the 60’s as a young guy. What a feeling! Too bad most of you will never get that experience. Oh well.

  3. Author

    Great comment Paul. Cheers!

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