I remember it like it was yesterday: April 11, 2014, the day Brendan Shanahan was named President of my beloved Toronto Maple Leafs.
I was so excited! I grew up watching him play, his era. Don Cherry used to tell me and other viewers that the new Toronto Maple Leafs President was “a fine broth of a lad” as often as he could coupled with a clip of him scoring or hitting or fighting.
On that April day in 2014, I thought to myself, “NOW we’ve got someone in charge that can steer the ship, the right way!”.
Was I ever wrong.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Brendan Shanahan Failing in Role as President
How is it possible that a team lead by someone that had Shanahan’s character as a player be so void of it for so many years now?
This year’s team, Shanahan’s team, is perhaps the softest they’ve ever been and that’s 12 games into the season after signing the League’s most feared enforcer.
The 5’9″ Brad Marchand is still running around getting the best of your players every chance he gets. He even taunts the bench afterwards and absolutely NO ONE responds.
What would Shanahan’s teammates like Darren McCarty and Kelly Chase have done? Hell, never mind the goons, what would he himself have done? What message would a Steve Yzerman have sent? After the hit on Liljegren, Shanahan’s handpicked Captain, John Tavares, is seen on a now-viral video doing absolutely nothing. No words. No actions. Great leadership.
“Leadership” isn’t restricted to the guy wearing the “C”. It starts much higher, with Shanahan, as far as the Leafs go, and into his 9th year with the team, he hasn’t been able to influence one iota of character, pride, team cohesion nor any of the other values he’s supposed to influence, not one iota of those that Shanahan himself had as a player.
As questionable as the values of the players are, the management group which Shanahan has built is just as dysfunctional. Sheldon Keefe’s roasting his star players in the media after losses, despite his own coaching shortcomings which are definitely at the root of plenty of the problems (name me one other NHL Coach that would repeatedly send the inept 4th line out after his team scores to tie the game).
Shanahan’s handpicked GM, Brad Treliving, gave John Klingberg a $4.1m contract on the first day of free agency. Might as well’ve doused the cash in jet fuel and had a nice fire.
We know from the Dubas debacle of the off season that Shanahan has his mitts in everything that does or doesn’t happen with the team. One thing he doesn’t get too involved in is accountability. Not for the players, not for the General Manager, not for the coaching staff and most definitely not for himself.
The Toronto Maple Leafs were supposed to be headed in the right direction when they won the Auston Matthews sweepstakes. Instead, under Shanahan’s watch, they are no further along with absolutely nothing around the corner for lifelong fans like me to be excited about.
Just more dysfunction, more lack of accountability and more misery and the only broth that Grapes’ “fine broth of a lad” has produced is inedible.