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Shanahan warned about pressure of Toronto market

May 15, 2014, 12:41 PM EDT

Brendan Shanahan; AP

I know we’ve already written two posts (here and here) based on the media tour Brendan Shanahan did yesterday in Toronto, but since there are no games to preview tonight, well, we’re doing another one.

Besides, the Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle went to the trouble of transcribing around 3,000 of Shanahan’s words. The least we can do is provide a link to all the good stuff in there.

Given I’m based in Vancouver, this part stood out especially for me:

Q. What were you warned about the most about coming here and taking the Leafs job?

“Probably a little bit of what I just talked about. The pressure sometimes to have instant success or the pressure to deviate from what your plan is. I do think that your plan for all 30 teams whether you’re in Toronto or a smaller market, your plan evolves throughout the season because things happen… “But I think what most people gave me the heads up on is the pressure here that can sometimes lead certain people to deviate from the plan and what their core values are.

I put that last part in bold, because it sounded awfully familiar to what former Canucks general manager Mike Gillis said in April, right before he was fired:

“We’re going to get back to the fundamentals and principles that I believe in, and that’s how we’re going to play. … I really feel that over the last couple of seasons, we’ve chased goalposts that have been moving and got away from our core principles of how I want this team to play, and how we want to perform, and the tempo that we want to play with. … We just have to be committed and have the guts to be able to carry it out.

That last part sure sounded like a guy who’d been influenced by outside forces, no?

In terms of pressure and media attention, Toronto and Vancouver aren’t all that different. Barely a month into his job as Maple Leafs president, Shanahan has already heard from the critics. The decision to keep coach Randy Carlyle was an extremely controversial one. And there will be more controversial decisions to come.

“But the pressure to make decisions won’t be dictated by a timeline,” said Shanahan. “It’ll be when we feel that we’ve got well-informed and good decisions to make.”

Which, in a market like Toronto, is easier said than done.

  1. gbart22 - May 15, 2014 at 3:15 PM

    It’s so true though. In certain markets the fans over react all the time and apply mass amounts of pressure for change then a team who’s clearly on the right track or close changes course and you end up even further behind. See Vancouver see Washington perhaps see Pittsburgh if that whiney bunch of fans get their way. Toronto has suffered for so long because instead of just formulating a plan and sticking to it they jump around alter courses but up free agents they don’t need to win now because the fan base is impatient and they end up losing anyway. They were on the right course with Burke and yes he made many missteps in trying to win now but he laid down a foundation that could work well going forward and I like a lot of their minor league prospects.

    Stick with what works. In Toronto after years of chasing the cup with Quinn and his veterans their was nothing there To go forward with and today their is a foundation. Minor tweaks and they could easily be where Montreal is. Instead this season you get fans callin for players heads coaches heads gm’s heads and basically you’re starting over again. Silly.

  2. muckleflugga - May 15, 2014 at 5:32 PM

    no disrespect to shanahan, but the guy who made that sweater and number famous should be at every leafs’ home game admiring its rightful place in the rafters

    perhaps shanahan in his wisdom, can bring davey back, accept an honour already proferred

    david michael keon, one of the game’s best

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