Shanahan warned about pressure of Toronto market


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.