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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