CFN – 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?
What do you think hockey fans? You can post your comments below.
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