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Tim Brent: A "meaningless" call-up actually meant a lot

Maple Leaf fans will remember that, at the very end of last season, Leaf management decided to bring up Marlie forward Tim Brent to play for the big team in the last game of the regular season.

I did make note of it in a post at the time (Bringing up Brent a nice touch by Leaf management) but it was a move that went largely un-noticed.

The rationale for the “promotion” was evident:  Brent had been a hard-working player all season for the AHL Marlies, who missed him dearly when he lost time with injuries.  Burke wanted to acknowledge Brent’s attitude and approach to the game, though he was largely out of the public and local media eye playing for a team (the Marlies) with very few regular fans.

But the move also sent a message.  It was a “meaningless” game for the Leafs, who were not going anywhere in the standings, much less in the playoffs.  The Leafs didn’t, as I recall, need to make a roster move.

It was all about rewarding a hard-working company guy.  And the message was no doubt received by players in the Leaf dressing room, and everyone associated with the Marlies.

We like guys who play hard all the time—and we will reward them every chance we get.

Now, several months later, Brent is logging valuable ice time with the Leafs, and comporting himself quite well.  Whether he, Grabovski and Zigomanis are the longer-term “answer” for the Leafs at the center ice position behind Bozak, I have no idea.  But it’s clear that that “meaningless” call-up at the end of last season, actually meant a great deal.

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