Brendan Shanahan made the media rounds yesterday, speaking with staff of the Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, and others, including Stephen Whyno of the Canadian Press. The Toronto Maple Leafs president once again preached patience, saying he won’t hesitate to make changes but only if he truly believes in them. My main concern is how much power Dave Nonis and Randy Carlyle will have in the decision-making process, because their track record doesn’t allow me to put much faith in them.
Shanahan also gave captain Dion Phaneuf a vote of confidence, calling stripping him of the captaincy a “cop-out”. I also thought he hit the nail on the head with this quote, via Kevin McGran of The Star:
“I look at a guy like Dion before I had any thoughts of coming to Toronto, I’ll say that I felt that he . . . there are certain times when less is more,” said Shanahan. “(I) really felt that he was trying to be all things at once. I admire the fact he was trying, even though it wasn’t successful, it probably worked in the opposite manner.
There’s no denying Phaneuf has been played in situations that he simply can’t perform well in. Maybe he is trying to do too much and is putting too much pressure on himself, but Carlyle needs to ease up his playing time and give him easier minutes. A big solution to that problem would be acquiring at least one top-four defenseman in the offseason who can play toughs.
What was also encouraging about Shanahan’s quotes was he doesn’t intend to tear down the roster and rebuild from the ground up. The Leafs have some good pieces, it’s about complementing those pieces with other smart pickups. He also said that Carlyle will have to “look in the mirror” and make some changes to his approach for the team to be successful. You can read those quotes and more in James Mirtle’s piece for The Globe and Mail.
After a tough 2012-13 campaign that saw him miss most of the year with injuries and a bout with mono, Matt Finn has rebounded in a big way this year. His Guelph Storm won the Ontario Hockey League Championship on Friday, and will represent the league in the prestigious Memorial Cup tournament beginning tomorrow night. The 20-year-old defenseman and 2012 second-round pick of the Leafs added another feather in his cap by winning the Mickey Renaud Captains’ Award. Caitlin Campbell of Frozen Futures has more on Finn’s sparkling season.
The Toronto Marlies won again last night, grabbing a 3-0 series lead over the Chicago Wolves with a chance for a sweep tomorrow night. The Marlies are basically a bunch of Super Marios with gold stars and the Wolves are a herd of goombas. Jeff Veillette of The LeafsNation explains.