Shanahan to Leafs players: ‘We’re watching’

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Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan spoke to his players today, and it doesn’t sound like it was a very touchy-feely conversation.

“With the changes we made to the coaching staff, I felt it was a good time to remind them what the expectations are, try to galvanize the group,” said Shanahan.

“I also wanted to make it very clear to them that we’re watching, and that we’re on it. Whether we’ve seen good things or we’ve seen some bad things, they’re not getting by us, they’re not escaping us. We’re not going to be a (management) group that is afraid to act if we feel that we’re going to make ourselves better.”

Shanahan was asked if he’s been impressed or unimpressed with the Leafs’ core players, specifically captain Dion Phaneuf and top scorer Phil Kessel.

“I think it’s fair to say I haven’t seen enough consistency, and that’s really what it’s about in being successful,” he replied. “I think most teams in the NHL that have success don’t beat themselves. We are often sometimes our own worst enemies.”

Shanahan was admittedly short on specifics when it came to management’s master plan.

“We don’t always share our thoughts and opinions, because you can have a plan and your plan might change,” he said.

But it’s clear the second half of the season could go a long way in determining how the Leafs look in the future.

The Leafs lost their first game without Randy Carlyle behind the bench, falling 6-2 to the Capitals Wednesday night in Toronto.

They host Columbus, one of the hottest teams in the league, tonight.

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