Brendan Shanahan;

Leafs ‘lack an identity,’ says Leiweke


Tim Leiweke doesn’t think the Toronto Maple Leafs have the right culture, and the head of the sports empire that owns them is hoping that Brendan Shanahan can help change that.

“I definitely sense that we lack an identity,” Lieweke said today, per the Globe and Mail. “Right now we’re a team that lacks a direction. And we want to change that.”

Shanahan joins the Leafs as club president, with “full authority” on both the hockey and business sides of the operation. For now, Dave Nonis will remain as general manager, reporting to Shanahan.

Culture. Identity. Character.

Those three words were spoken a lot today. Given the Leafs will miss the playoffs after winning just two of their last 14 games, it’s no surprise that the so-called intangibles are being questioned. Especially after last season’s Game 7 collapse in Boston. Not to mention the regular-season collapse in 2011-12.

That being said, Toronto needs more than an attitude adjustment. And with no experience leading an NHL franchise, let alone one as prominent as the Leafs, Shanahan has plenty of tough questions to answer before next season begins.

Should Randy Carlyle be back as head coach?

If it’s about culture and character, should Dion Phaneuf be back as captain? Should he be back at all?

How much is pending unrestricted free agent Dave Bolland worth?

How do youngsters like Nazem Kadri and Jake Gardiner fit into the club’s future?

Is there a way to land a top center in the offseason? Maybe Paul Stastny in free agency? Or Eric Staal in a trade with Carolina?

“This is the time for me to start learning about the organization from top to bottom,” said Shanahan, per the Canadian Press. “It’s a time for me to listen, to learn and get to work. That’s all that’s really worked for me in my career. That’s what’s worked for me when I was done playing hockey and that’s what I intend to do here.”

Avs unveil new third jerseys

Avs Jerseys

The Avalanche will be throwing a bunch of different looks at us this season.

Having already released specialized “Mile High” jerseys for February’s Stadium Series game, the Avs unveiled new third sweaters on Friday — less than 24 hours after a bitter 5-4 home loss to Minnesota in their season opener.

(Guess Colorado wanted to send out some good vibes after blowing a 4-1 third-period lead.)

While undoubtedly exciting for the organization, the release of these new thirds isn’t taking anybody by surprise. Last month, several websites published leaked images of Colorado’s and Anaheim’s third jerseys, so the design has been in the public eye for several weeks.

The Avs will debut these new thirds on Oct. 24, in a Saturday night tilt against Columbus.

Related: Roy explains why he didn’t call time out

Report: Escrow set at 16 percent

Gary Bettman, Donald Fehr
1 Comment

Hey, remember in June when the NHLPA voted to keep the five-percent growth factor in spite of increasing worries about escrow?

Well, here’s why that decision was a significant one, via TSN’s Frank Seravalli:

With early revenue projections in place, the NHL and NHLPA set the escrow withholding rate for players at 16 per cent for the first quarter of the season on Thursday.

That means every player will have 16 per cent of earnings deducted from their paycheque and put aside until after all of this season’s hockey-related revenue is counted to ensure a perfect 50-50 revenue split with owners.

Now, this doesn’t mean that the players will definitely lose 16 percent of their salaries. Typically, they receive refunds when all the accounting is done.

Still, 16 percent is a good-sized chunk to withhold. They won’t be thrilled about it.

Related: To understand escrow, consider Duncan Keith