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.”