Shanahan named new Leafs President

by Rob G

TSM is out on the waters of the Caribbean, so he asked if I could post something on the media feedback of the hiring of the new Toronto Maple Leafs President Brendan Shanahan.

The opinion of those we read has been for the most part what you’d expect – while initial comments have been on the hiring, much more chatter has been on what the fallout will be from the Shanahan announcement, ie. how it affects Nonis, Carlyle, and player personnel decisions.

The other shoe to fall in this will be after the presser on Monday when we hear how much Shanahan shares regarding his new role, and the media’s reaction that we read/listen to regarding Shanahan’s initial comments.

On the hiring, much of what Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun wrote was little regarding Shanahan, but more in regards to the status of general manager Dave Nonis, coach Randy Carlyle, and the roster decisions that need to be made moving forward.

Bruce Arthur of the National Post wrote a “by the book” piece on the situation, but I particularly enjoyed his closing comments:

“MLSE has almost run out of ways to make money that don’t involve winning, so the pressure is on. Leiweke pushes every day: it’s the only way he can truly grow the business outside of BMO Field, unless the NFL is coming. He has cleared out two of his three franchises already; this is his first crack at fixing the Leafs. On Monday Shanahan will step in to a dangerous blue sea that, for two years longer than he has been alive, has swallowed every man who came before. Now we see how well he swims.”

The man who broke the story, Damien Cox of the Toronto Star (for not much longer), had an interesting take on the Shanahan hiring. He is of the belief that it’s part of a bigger narrative – that Shanahan is being eventually groomed to take over for Leiweke. Cox believes Leiweke has a succession plan in mind, and that may be so, but I find it interesting that he suggests this of a guy that hasn’t been a president of a hockey team, let alone a general manager. Cox suggests Leiweke believes Shanahan has a strong mind, as well as the business and political chops to take on Leiweke’s role at a future date. This may be true, but I think we should let Shanahan walk before he runs.

There will be more to discuss regarding what Shanahan has to say once the presser is done Monday. I’ll be very interested to hear how much detail he offers regarding his thoughts on the current status of the organization, and what his blueprint will be for the future.

My take, (from the basement of a sometime blogger – sorry, couldn’t resist!) – we are almost 47 years into the Stanley Cup drought. Depending on the age, many fans are numb to the front office moves that have been made, and what affect they will have. There is always the joke that the suits that run the organization don’t really want to win the Cup because that might not necessarily be good for business. There’s no doubt this organization, despite some blips of success, has been a culture of losing for 47 years. That being said, there are pieces in place on the Leafs and Marlies from a player perspective, that will help the current team continue to grow. But from an organizational perspective, nothing short of a cultural evisceration will start the road to recovery. I’m just not sure how that plays out.

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April 14, 2014 5:48 pm

Fun day as Lieweke and Shanny appear on both stations before 6:00.

Favorite clip: lieweke calling the maple leafs goalies “keepers.”

You can take the man out of futbol, but not futbol out of the man.

Lee (Oakville)
April 14, 2014 5:55 pm

I always liked when Cliff Fletcher called them “goalers”.

April 15, 2014 10:37 am

Initial thoughts:

1) Shanahan did his very best to say, virtually, nothing all day long.

2) Watched the presser on Sportsnet and when their “host” interviewed Shanahan, Leiweke and Nonis, he came across as a rank amateur. (Cringe factor gets hot watching that.)

3) Rod Black interviewed Shanahan at the Raptors game on TSN and referred to the Leafs as, “the most storied franchise in hockey”. Really? How does this guy have a job? I like the Leafs as much as any fan, but, really? All the stories are bad ones, Rod! (Cringe factor pins the needle.)

Best of luck to Shanahan as I suspect Leiweke moves on before the start of next season.

April 15, 2014 1:14 pm

Very interesting on PTS last night. Bob and Brunt mentioned they’ve been hearing Leiweke isn’t happy here and may be on the way out. They asked Leiweke and he didn’t exactly deny the sentiment. Said he’s here to fix 3 teams, and he thinks 2/3 are good now.

That would be a shame I think. I found Leiweke’s brash, bold plans pretty refreshing. There were also rumours he was part of NFL aspirations here which I’d love to see.

April 15, 2014 1:37 pm

Agree 100%. I like what I’ve seen from Leiweke. He’s not satisfied with losing – which is the opposite of what we say from Peddie (a friend of Bob).

I hope he stays.

April 15, 2014 3:48 pm

They kept mentioning the other how mrs Leiweke didnot like it in toronto, or did not like the weather.

Nan Young Lee
Nan Young Lee
April 15, 2014 6:17 pm

About the Leiweke leaving rumors, last week Bob said that he heard Gretzky had no intention of living in TO. He was corrected the next day by Shannon who said Gretzky wanted back in the NHL and his wife only wanted to live in TO or NY. I’ll assume Shannon is better connected in the hockey world than Bob, but who knows who’s right. Maybe Sidney Crosby can interrupt his retirement and act as a tie breaker.

Yesterday Naylor mentioned he went to see the band “The Hold Steady” at the Phoenix last week. Didn’t Brunt say, last week, that he was going to see the band? So, Naylor and Brunt are friends who are secretly working together to bring Bob down.

I’ll give Sportsnet credit for this:

A quote from the article:

“So far, 600 applications have been received for only 60 positions in the first year and the selection process has already begun. Almost as many females as males have applied.”

mike (in boston)
April 16, 2014 2:51 pm

Great post Nan. I assume most of these older guys are friends. The tribal war between giant media companies is a relatively new phenomenon. The journalism community is pretty tightly knit as far as I can tell.

In other news, Rosie is still terrible:

Jonathan Giggs
April 17, 2014 10:00 am

Apparently David Shoalts wasn’t so friendly with Howard Berger!

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