Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the CP at TSN,
"I'm realistic that you can't do everything overnight, that there are 29 other teams that are trying to accomplish the same goal and also covet good players," Shanahan said in a phone interview Wednesday. "No one's going to lay down for us because we're the Toronto Maple Leafs and give us their assets."
Shanahan, who took his time before deciding along with general manager Dave Nonis to extend coach Randy Carlyle for two more seasons and fire assistants Scott Gordon, Greg Cronin and Dave Farrish, seems willing to take a patient approach in remaking the roster to suit his style.
One month into this new challenge, the 45-year-old insisted it's too early to even know how much change the Leafs need.
"You want to be ready to come out of the gates, we all know how important each game is, but I would say with most teams the team that starts a season isn't necessarily the same team that ends a season," Shanahan said. "For me, timing is less an issue as is the quality of the decisions. I don't feel and I'm not getting any pressure from anyone in the organization saying this team has to look like this by this date."
On Dion Phaneuf...
from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
“I don’t know if it (stripping the captaincy) is a solution,” said Shanahan. “I think it’s a cop-out, to a certain degree an easy way out.
“Has it happened on some teams? Yes. Is it something I’m thinking about since I’ve been here? Ultimately this will be a group decision. But I can tell you it’s not something I’ve contemplated. Just the opposite. I want to help enhance the player and leader that Dion is.”
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
In Calgary, Brian Burke — who made Phaneuf the Leafs captain when Burke was the Leafs GM — is the Flames president of hockey operations. Phaneuf would be Calgary’s second-best blue-liner behind Mark Giordano.
In Edmonton, Phaneuf’s hometown, he would immediately step in as the Oilers’ best defenceman — which isn’t what Phaneuf needs.
In San Jose, Phaneuf’s offence and power-play blast could offset the pending absence of Dan Boyle, should Boyle not return. And he would be surrounded by a defensive group that could afford Phaneuf less time defending in key situations, as he is asked to do in Toronto.
In St. Louis, the feeling was that Chicago’s major advantage was a second defensive pairing that was vastly superior to the Blues’. Would Phaneuf change that? Yes, he would — as a second-pairing guy. Not a one-two.
Of course, the question becomes this: Can a $7 million cap hit (for seven more seasons) ever be considered a second-pairing defenceman? Answer: he can if he’s a $5.25 million player, with the Leafs retaining 25 per cent of Phaneuf’s salary.
from Michael Traikos of the National Post,
This is what the off-season is going to look like for the Leafs, who after failing to fire their head coach last week have unintentionally changed the discussion to cleaning out the dressing room. James Reimer? Joffrey Lupul? James van Riemsdyk? With each new day leading up to next month’s NHL Entry Draft, they are all reportedly trade bait.
The information might not always be accurate. But that’s beside the point. Change is coming. Or, at least, we think it is.
The Leafs have six pending unrestricted free agents and four restricted free agents, so some players will inevitably be on the move. At the same time, the core of this roster is anchored to the team’s long-term future. Phil Kessel is locked up for eight more years; Phaneuf for seven years; David Clarkson for six years; Lupul, Tyler Bozak and van Riemsdyk for five years.
Of those players, Phaneuf is the only one without some form of a no-trade clause.
While we can debate the merits of trading or keeping Phaneuf, or stripping him of the captaincy, the thinking is that something has to change for the Leafs this off-season. Brendan Shanahan was not hired as the new president to keep the status quo, although he did just that with Carlyle.
from Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star,
It was less than a month ago Tim Leiweke leaned into a microphone and all but called the Toronto Maple Leafs broken.
The CEO of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment said he wasn’t sure they had the right environment, the right people, the right culture. He said making the playoffs two seasons ago clearly masked a deeper problem. He said the Maple Leafs lacked an identity.
A month later, and what have we learned? General manager Dave Nonis remains in place, superseded by the man Leiweke was introducing that day, Brendan Shanahan. On Thursday, the Leafs announced they have not only not fired head coach Randy Carlyle, but they have given him a two-year contract extension.
The more things change, it appears, the more they stay the same. If you follow the Leafs at all, you know this is not a promising sign.
added 9:43am, from Elliotte Friedman of CBC,
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
If Carlyle turns things around, with the help of quite a few roster changes by the look of things, then great, as far as Shanahan is concerned. The Leafs have continuity and all that. If there is another march off the cliff at any point in the season, well, hey, Carlyle is Nonis’s guy, eh?
And don’t get caught up in the fact Carlyle is under contract for three more seasons, which probably has the Leafs on the hook for something around $6-million (all currency U.S.). Some of the MLSE directors spill that much at lunch.
The two-year contract extension is a clear message to the players. They are being told Carlyle is no lame-duck coach; the contract security means he has the backing of management, so it’s his way or the highway.
This is why Shanahan and Nonis made the right decision. There were too many shirkers last season when it came time to play the hard hockey needed to get into the playoffs. A lot of them need to go and Nonis is planning to say goodbye if he can manage it.
Watch/listen below as Dave Nonis talks about the contract extension of Randy Carlyle...
Carlyle is on the conference too.
added 3:59pm, Conference complete, read all about it in your local Toronto media outlet.
from the Toronto Maple Leafs,
Toronto Maple Leafs management, led by Senior Vice President and General Manager David Nonis with input and support from team president Brendan Shanahan, extended the contract of head coach Randy Carlyle by two years on Thursday after a thorough team review following the end of the 2013-14 season. Nonis announced at the same time that assistant coaches Dave Farrish, Scott Gordon and Greg Cronin would not return to the team next season.
“It was important, after a disappointing end to the season and the arrival of Brendan as team president, to conduct a thorough review of the organization as we continue the work of building a winning tradition and culture for the Maple Leafs,” said Nonis. “That process started with the head coach, and as we analyzed it, we decided together that Randy Carlyle was the right person to lead this team. In Randy we know that we have a leader who has enjoyed a high level of success as both a player and a coach, including a Stanley Cup championship. It was important that the positives Randy brings to our team were not overshadowed by a finish to the season that we all must take responsibility for.”
“I would do everything I could to encourage a young player, if it’s his dream to make the NHL, to work on his skills. There will always be intimidation in the game of hockey. There’s intimidation in baseball. But the answer is no, I would not want to give anyone advice on how to be a fighter. I don’t think it’s a life I’d hope for for my children. The idea of teaching a young person how to develop that skill as a tactic is not something I would ever do in good conscience.
“For me, that’s not a condemnation of these men who have the protective gene. It’s me displaying my protective gene for them, if I could go back and grab them when they were 14 or 15 years old. For the people who spent a career and a lifetime protecting us, this is the responsible thing to say as far as protecting them.”
-Brendan Shanahan, President of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Much more from Adam Proteau of The Hockey News on this topic.
from Damien Cox of The Spin,
In Toronto, Brendan Shanahan was brought in as team president, and he's getting a feel for the organization. GM Dave Nonis is trying to get his head around how and why the team collapsed down the stretch and surrendered such horrific shots-against numbers while doing so.
Nonis needs to understand what role Carlyle played in that, and then he'll have to justify his decision to Shanahan.
In Washington, owner Ted Leonsis is probably enjoying the basketball success of his Wizards for a few days and taking his time on figuring out how it all went wrong with his hockey team.
The futures of Oates and GM George McPhee are both up in the air. That, of course, ignores the real issue in D.C., which is the future of the team as long as Alex Ovechkin is the centre piece, both with his massive contract and unwillingness to do much else than put up prodigious goal totals.
You can change the GM and coach. But the bigger question is whether you can ever get anywhere with Alexander the Great.
Finally, in Vancouver there were two moves in the final days of the season, the firing of GM Mike Gillis and the hiring of Trevor Linden as president of hockey ops. Like Shanahan, Linden is sorting through the paperwork, and at this point seems to have decided to focus on hiring a GM, and then letting that person decide Tortorella's future.
from Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star,
As tempting and knee-jerk as it is to blame the bench boss for the calamity that befell the Toronto Maple Leafs in the last month of the season — 2-12-0 — the fault lies with a group of players who could not rally from an ever-deepening hockey stupor, failing the test of character and fortitude, time and time again.
Oh, there were flashes of backbone, when least expected — beating Boston in the second last week of the schedule, especially. Yet those spurts of mettle were fleeting and ultimately misleading. This was more the team that lost to Winnipeg and Florida and New Jersey down the dismaying stretch; less the team that rose to the challenge of the Bruins.
And the core problem, I suggest, is that the players still don’t see themselves for what they are. They scratch their heads and wonder, how did this happen? The answer is staring them in the face, if only they looked hard in the mirror.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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