With yet another disappointing season in the books, the Toronto Maple Leafs have reached out and hired a man with true leadership qualities. Brendan Shanahan has been publicly named the clubs’ next president of hockey operations. On Monday, he will be officially and formally introduced to the media and hockey world.
Shanahan, a man with an impressive history of winning, is part of a small group of players who have won a Stanley Cup, gold at the olympics and at the world championships. It’s no secret that he has always been successful. He had recently stepped down as Director of Player Safety where he learned another side of the game, handing out punishment for illegalities. He was tough to play against on the ice and showed some of his tough mentality in some of the suspensions he’s given out over the past few years. His mentality and vision is sought after as there are reports of a few teams inquiring about a possible hiring.
For an organization desperately searching for strength and accountability, this hiring is about as easy to make as let’s say trading Dion Phaneuf for anything at all. (Okay, all jokes aside, he’s not THAT bad is he?!… YEAH, he is.) The last president in Leafs land was about as blow hard as they come in Brian Burke. Burke was hired as president of hockey operations and general manager and came in with a 5 year plan of being a Stanley Cup threat year after year. By year 5, they had still not made the playoffs. I’m not saying it’s completely his fault but let’s be honest, his tenure was agonizing for many fans of Leafs’ land. The team showed little-to-no improvement and wasted some valuable years in drafting some players who are still struggling to hold down full time positions in the league. It would be very difficult at this point to speculate as to whether or not Shanahan will want to keep general manager Dave Nonis in the fold. Nonis was hired by Burke and has only been in charge for 16 months. In my opinion, it might be a good move to keep him and see what they could do together. I have a hard time putting blame on a man who has been part of 1 draft, 1 free agency period and 1 off-season. I’d be leaning on the side of him sticking around.
All cliches aside, with another let down maybe this hiring can be the light at the end of the tunnel. (Oops, okay, 1 cliche.) It’s getting very tiring having to fall back on new promises, but this could be something worth getting excited for. With still 2 months from the end of the 2013-2014 campaign, Shanahan will have to wait for the opportunity to start with the process of drafting and everything else that comes with the off-season. Until then, he’ll have a lot of time to completely dissect this team and every single person involved. The most important thing right now is for him to identify weaknesses, strengths, and who he believes will work well with him I for one can’t wait to see what he’s able to do with this roughed up 18 wheeler. It’ll be nice to see a change of culture.
Stay tuned for season reviews of the aforementioned, Senators and Canadiens.