Things appear to be quiet in Leafland these days but sometimes that’s an indication that something is actually about to happen.
I’ve posted previously that beyond just moving Kaberle, Burke likely has something substantial in mind that he’d like to accomplish before training camp. It’s important to set a tone going in, especially as Burke enters his third year as GM, and second full season in charge. While naming Phaneuf captain may create a certain atmosphere, the jury is still out as to whether he is a full-fledged leader. Some guys are natural leaders, some are talkers and still others lead by example on -and off- the ice.
Sundin, to me, was a guy who grew into the role as the year wore on. And that’s OK, too.
But a new captain alone won’t be enough. As we sit right now, for all the positive changes over the past eighteen months (Gustavsson, Gunnarsson, Kessel, Phaneuf, Bozak, hopefully Lebda) and the progress of youngsters like Kulemin, the team will need a lot more from Komisarek and Beauchemin this coming season- and I believe the veteran defensemen are poised to deliver just that.
All this said, there is an obvious need for additional forward help, beyond hoping that Kadri will earn his spot as a second line center. Versteeg and Armstrong should have an impact and Kaberle may bring someone in return who can contribute significantly as well. But even that leaves the team woefully short in terms of quality depth up front, compared with real contenders.
If you’re new to Vintage Leaf Memories and are looking for some summertime hockey reading, check out the right-hand side menu of this site. You’ll see my columns on a host of Leaf rivals, including Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull, “Rocket” Richard and Bobby Orr. There are all kinds of articles on Leaf players of yesteryear, including old-time goalies Eddie Chadwick and Don Simmons and all-time greats such as Dickie Duff, Red Kelly, Johnny Bower, Allan Stanley, Lanny McDonald and many others.
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