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Maple Leafs need to build a team with skill—and “will”…

There has been and will continue to be all kinds of words written and tossed about regarding the future fortunes of the Maple Leafs.  Some Leaf fans are of the view that the organization needs to start all over—a complete overhaul, as in keep Rielly and Nylander and a few promising kids and start anew.  Others see a mid-term makeover ahead of us, while others still think this latest version of a rebuild need not take as long as many anticipate.

Never having built a hockey team, I have no idea of what the “best” approach will be in the months and years ahead.  But I do believe that there will be one requirement that Shanahan will surely take into account: whatever future Leaf rosters under his oversight will look like, they need to be filled with players who have what I call “will”.  That is, they have to be willing to do all the difficult little things that help good NHL teams win hockey games against top opposition.

I saw a “Tweet” a couple of days ago that reinforced this thought. It quoted a basketball legend, coach Tex Winter.  Winter was quoted as saying that, “good defensive play is as much a matter of hustle, desire and pride as it is anything else.”  Winter evidently made that simple statement, essentially saying that playing defense in sports is all about the willingness to do it.  That sentiment echoed what I’ve written in this space many times before.

It takes hard work, determination (and yes, skill can help) to be a good defender in hockey, whether you are a forward or a defenseman.  Great offensive players can be very adept when it comes to their defensive responsibilities; so can role players.

My belief is this: regardless of the “system” an NHL team employs, if the roster has guys who work their tail off, it can succeed.  If there had been one system developed at some point that was perfect and unbeatable, every NHL coach would have copied it by now.

Yes, coaches of course have to take their personnel into account to a large extent when building their approach to playing the game.  But that said, I still maintain that regardless of the system of play a coach adopts, it’s still the players who make the difference.

Coaches matter, for sure.  A good coach is a teacher, a motivator and has to be tactically brilliant behind the bench on game night in the modern era NHL.  (Having excellent gut instincts may not hurt, either.) And a winning coach needs to have skill across his roster, too. As Wayne Gretzky said years ago: “You know what beats hard work?  Skill and hard work…”.

But at the end of the day, you need a team pretty much full of guys with character.  Now, I realize character means different things to different people, but I sense most of us would agree that, in hockey terms, it includes putting the interests of the team at least on a par with your own personal ambitions. It means following the coach’s plan, working to improve your game constantly, mentoring the youngsters on the roster and setting an example. And again, on game night it can mean blocking shots, making that extra effort—and wanting the puck even more than the guy you are playing against.

For me, it’s about having a team that hates to lose, as some have posted here, as much as they want to win.

There has been much discussion in Leafworld in recent weeks (heck, for ten years now, I guess) about what has gone wrong yet again. Is it the coaching?  Has there been a problem with the “core”?  Did the Leafs have enough leadership? Were they lacking chemistry?

My view is there have been good coaches here, and good GM’s as well.  There have been plenty of good players. (Not enough to contend for a Stanley Cup, no, but some skilled individuals, absolutely.)

The thing is, I cannot pinpoint who are the individuals who gave absolutely everything they had in their time here.  Name any player—Kessel, Lupul, Bozak, Phaneuf, van Riemsdyk, Gardiner, etc—and any of the players who have departed. Did they do everything they possibly could to win games for the Leafs?

On the one hand we say, of course.  Those guys all played hard. Phaneuf played huge minutes against the league’s best forwards. There were times Kessel was one of the most explosive wingers in the game.  Lupul played through almost constant injuries.  We can defend every player, it seems, on he basis of their surface work ethic.

Yet, collectively, the team has always fallen short.  Oh, there have been times every season, it seems, when the team was winning games (sometimes against all odds, but winning nonetheless) and seemed a lock to make the playoffs and maybe win a round or two. But it has never happened, even when the goaltending was pretty good.

So was it the coaching?  Was it “the system”? Is it the local Toronto media that, over time, wears the players down because of the constant scrutiny?

Or is it simply the reality that the Leafs these last few seasons have been made up of a lot of players, some very talented, some just everyday NHLers, that simply did not have the final ingredient needed to maintain a consistent level of success: will.

As we look around the NHL, who has had that elusive extra quality that separates those teams that had a legitimate shot at championship success in recent years?  In my mind, I would include Boston in the East, along with Detroit, of course, and maybe Pittsburgh (not many people want to win more than Crosby…). In the West, St. Louis, LA and Chicago have obviously played with the kind of edge needed to compete at the highest levels.

To be clear, there are other teams that also play hard pretty consistently. (I often think of the Predators all those years under Barry Trotz…not many big names but tons of heart and “will”…). But the teams I mentioned have seemed to display the combination of coaching, talent, adherence to a system and a team first attitude that pushes everyone on the roster to play with maximum effort almost every night.

That’s where the Leafs need to get.  It will mean wise drafting, shrewd player trades and most significantly, perhaps, an approach to player development that will create a roster full of players who can play with the kind of passion the aforementioned teams already do.

Are we a year away?  Five years away.  I don’t know.  But if the Leafs can ice a roster that plays with passion right across the board starting in October, I sense a lot of Leaf fans will take that as a good next step.


  1. Nashville and Barry Trotz is a great example of a mix of rigid systems, and players that are willing to buy in with a ferocity that pays dividends. Trotz managed to milk admirable results out of a Cap challenged team, by introducing a responsible and consistent approach to the game. It might seem counter intuitive to applaud Trotz here, as Laviolette replaced Trotz and implemented a different coaching style, and had even MORE success, with the same core of players. I think the key point is that the team itself was willing to go "all-in" for either coach, so the benefits of "the system" were actually realized.

    That brings us to this Leafs team. Paul Maurice, Ron Wilson, Randy Carlyle, and Peter Horachek. Four coaches with different styles and systems, with the most recent 3 sharing a lot of core roster pieces. The results? A consistent roller coaster ride that's got more downs than ups, and a dismal regular season record, with one short sniff of the playoffs. I've never seen a team as streaky as the 2011-present Leafs, and it's not just riding a hot goalie, as statistically, our goalies aren't in the elite ranks. It's a team that seems to solely thrive off of confidence, and when the wheels fall off, their isn't a key player or member of the coaching staff that can turn things around.

    This obviously points to the 'suits' upstairs, that have assembled this mess. I'm actually not in the "blame Kessel and Phaneuf" ranks, and you've pointed out Michael, that these two have had a decent resume in Toronto. Both can irritate a hockey fan some nights, but Dion plays way too many minutes against the league's elite forwards, and Phil (despite groundless negative comments about his fitness level), is a bit of an iron man in terms of durability, and he has an output to match that. The big problem is in a massive accumulation of contracts that didn't work out, with Clarkson, Bozak, Liles, Gleason, Komisarek and MANY more creating a Cap issue that will take years to untangle. Leafs brass never did seem to embrace the salary cap system, probably hoping that the Canadian dollar would hold strong (it didn't), and the Cap would continue to rise north of $90 million, to bury those mistakes. Regardless of the on-ice failures, the biggest head-scratcher for me is that MLSE can pile so much money into their scouting, management and coaching staff, and wind up with such dismal results.

    I've noticed that the number of posts have gone down not just here, Michael, but on many Leaf fan sites. Being out of a playoff spot with 30 games left provided enough indifference to casual fans I guess, and years of disappointment are eating at all of us.

    1. There's no doubt that fan interest has dwindled given that this season has not gone as hoped, Russ. It feels like it's all been said here, and there is not a whole lot more to add!

      As you note, the Leafs have not been able to deal effectively with the post cap era. And you're right, the organization has invested heavily in scouting and management expertise, but so far the results are lacking.

  2. Good point on dwindling posts. I for one am a bit tired of the ground hog day of talking points. This isn't a slight on Michael or this site in the least. It is aimed where it should be... at the team.

    If you want to change a teams culture you have to change the core. This will be a 3-5 year fix in my opinion. You cannot change over night.

    So, with everyone getting a bit tired of everything Leafy at least until the draft how about some different topics for everyone here to discuss? I am not sure if you are open that or not Michael.

    If so, some suggestions for different topics might be; Who are you cheering for, if anyone, during the playoffs since the Leafs will be golfing? Who deserves to win the awards in the NHL this year and why? Who will win the east and west in the playoffs and who will win Stanley? Just some suggestions. If you prefer to keep it Leafs Michael I understand too. I just enjoy a good discussion with the people on here.

    1. I'll likely post at times here throughout the playoffs, Pep. There's always something to discuss!

    2. Some awesome topics there, Pep..... and we'll need some non-Leafs chatter, going forward. I'll start by slightly hijacking Michael's post, and look at who to cheer for in the playoffs, if they get there. I want a Canadian team to thrive, but being a Leafs fan, I can't get my head around offering even the most quiet of cheers for the Habs or the Sens. Too close to home, and Ottawa has very little chance of getting there anyways.

      Regardless of your country of origin, both Winnipeg and Calgary are teams that pretty much any hockey fan can proudly get behind. I would have thought at the beginning of the season, that Toronto had a better roster on paper than both the Flames and Jets, and perhaps they did. What the Leafs didn't possess however, was the resilience to not make excuses, avoid massive losing streaks, and be consistent in the face of injury like those two squads. At one point, Winnipeg had their top 4 defencemen lost to injury, and I saw Paul Maurice being interviewed about it. He basically said... "We're not whiners here in Winnipeg, and we've got players just itching to fill these roles and excel, despite the adversity." Turns out that Paul was right. Maurice is the one guy I always felt bad about getting run out of town, and I'm genuinely happy that he's found much deserved success elsewhere.

      I'm also routing a bit for Washington, as they are a great example of the right coach at the right time, with Ovechkin reaping the benefits most obviously. He's ahead of last year's goal scoring pace, and has turned last year's plus/minus of a minus-35 into a plus-12 in the process. Alex still isn't "Mr. 2-Way", but Trotz has changed his work ethic, and Ovechkin basically hits everything that moves, in addition to all those goals. It's a great lesson for a few Leafs that may have had their game fall off the map a whole bunch, as a new season can offer fresh opportunities, with the right work ethic and attention to detail.

      I'd also love to see St. Louis go deep, simply because I love everything about that team, other than maybe the goaltending. That bruising, hard on the forecheck style of play never gets old for me, and the Blues remind me a bit of the Bruins a few years ago.

      Sorry for going off topic Michael, but it was Pep's idea... so all floggings shall be directed at him, until the moral improves! Hey, it's a lot more fun than an analysis of current Leafs news, which is Kadri being late for practice and getting sent home. Can things possibly get any more dismal for us Leafs fans?

    3. Hello Russ,

      Like you, I can not wrap my head around cheering on the Habs.

      Since it might benefit the Leafs, I would like to see Tampa win. I think Stamkos might be a tiny bit more amenable to coming to the Leafs as a free agent if he has already won with Tampa.


    4. LOL Russ. I think I have bus tracks on my back now :))

      I am cheering for the Blues. A good team that has a good coach and I have always liked seeing different teams do well. So it would be good to see them go on a good long run. Winterpeg, I can cheer for as a Canadian team. The chance. I just cannot do it. If the habs were playing the old russian red army team I might be cheering Da Comrade!!

  3. Hello Guys,

    Great time for me to be starting my own blog, eh.

    As well as checking in and posting here at VLM, I'll continue to create articles for my own blog ( in case there is anyone else who has the same blue and white blood that I do.

    Hopefully you all will pop over once and while to check in on me.

    Shameless plug...I am putting the finishing touches on my next article about the NHL Draft Lottery.


    P.S. In the meantime, I think I am learning more about the blogging tool and was finally able to figure out how to see your comment Michael. Appreciate you taking the time to have a look and comment!

    1. I'm more than happy to promote your site, Wayne. I've certainly appreciated your thoughtful posts here!

    2. Good Luck with this endeavor. It's a good site, Wayne.

  4. Just a comment in passing on Phaneuf, who has some noted deficiencies, but is underappreciated for his role against the top lines (which probably impacted his offensive production quite significantly).

    I notice that Johnny Boychuk just signed a 6M 7yr contract at 31 (2 months ago) that expires when he is 38 - with the media lauding the signing... it's interesting that Phaneuf is 30 (next month) with 6 years left on his contract that expires at 36 (having a much longer resume than the year older Boychuk).

    In regular season games, Boychuk has 380 games and 107 points, Phaneuf has played 358 games with the Leafs (736 total) and accrued 168 points during his time with us (396 if you want to count total points).

    Phaneuf seems to be more productive than Boychuk, yet we're told salary retention (2M) would be required in order to trade him... things that make you go, hmmmm.

    1. Phaneuf only ever needed a partner to truly shine and put up more points and hits. Franson was go all starting to emerge as that guy but we traded him. Good teams have 3-4 very good defensemen. We've only ever had one since Phaneuf was acquired. Get him a proper partner and we'll be fine.

    2. Hello InTimeFor62.

      When I heard the news about the Boychuk contract, the first thing I thought was the Islanders are going to regret that one in year 6 and/or 7. They are obviously counting on the Cap going up over the course of that contract.

      Well said about Phaneuf.

      The so-called experts bleet on about how the Leafs were idiots to sign him, how he is WAY over paid, and that the Leafs will have to retain salary if they are going to get more than a bag of pucks for him. Hogwash.

      Phaneuf is better than most people give him credit for. He was just miscast on the Leafs. When he is traded to a better team, he will be slotted into a 3 or 4 spot. Granted, he will be a little over paid at 7m per year for that slotting, but when his game improves, there will be cries in Leaf land that he is another Larry Murphy.


  5. Here's some food for thought, guys and girls...If you are a believer in the sports jinx phenomenon, the Toronto media may well have been the No. 1 contributor to the sad plight of our Maple Leafs over the years. Let's face it, no other NHL team is subjected to greater media scrutiny and it just might be to the Leaf's peril. One may liken it to the infamous "Sports Illustrated Jinx". Consider this:

    Get your picture on the cover of the Sports Illustrated magazine, and your chances of athletic misfortune rise. This is a phenomenon well enough established that SI actually ran a cover story on it in a few years ago — finding “a demonstrable misfortune or decline in performance following a cover appearance roughly 37.2 percent of the time.” Writer Alexander Wolff listed two major classes of explanations for the jinx:

    On the one hand, sober statisticians went over the basics of “regression to the mean,” which would explain why a Major League baseball hitter who gets hot enough to make the magazine cover goes into a slump shortly thereafter. On the other hand, sports psychologist Jim Loehr, believed that there truly is an SI Cover Jinx of sorts. Only he calls it “a failure to efficiently metabolize heightened expectations” or some such — and he actually works with clients, including athletes, on this very matter.

    No question about the tendency of winning streaks to carry the seeds of their own destruction. Just look at the marvelous winning streak posted by the Leafs at the start of the current hockey season and the accompanying media hype that had them going well into the playoffs this spring. They were front page news in the three Toronto newspapers and Hockey Night in Canada analysts sang their praises. Then they started to lose a few back-to-back games and newspaper, radio and TV commentators sharpened their critical fangs...Toronto media darlings in November and sad sack losers in January. It is the story of the Toronto Maple Leafs that is repeated annually.

    Is it a stretch to suggest that this team that is not all that bad on paper, is jinxed by all the media coverage and attention in Toronto? Media jinx (i.e. Sports Illustrated) or no media jinx, certainly there is an important truth: We all probably overdid our praise of the Maple Leafs earlier this season and there’s a pretty good chance we’re now overdoing the hand-wringing.

    Let's try an experiment...Take the poor Maple Leafs (with their multi-million salaries) with a grain of salt next season. Don't live and die with their traditional ups and downs and get carried away with armchair quarterbacking. They may just have a winning season if we do not "jinx" them with overdoses of attention in the media, and otherwise.

    1. I really appreciate your comments here, Dick! Thank you for broaching the subject so well, you have ignited my desire to join in the conversation...

      I often attempt to put myself in another's shoes in order to understand them better, so when I think about the ongoing impact of the media upon our guys in the room, I can't help but recognize their plight. It is evident that the media no longer, merely, reports anything. There is always an agenda, an angle or an editorial narrative in play. Shaping the opinions of those who would consume their drivel (often at the lowest common denominator level) is an economics-driven enterprise. Creating the largest possible paying/ad-generating audience possible IS the bottom line.

      When the players 'lash out' at the media, I believe they 'know', at least at some unconscious level, that the media is negatively impacting their mental health with the constant bombardment of the opinions and loaded questions that are driven by their own economic agenda/interests. The players might not be able to 'put their finger on it', neither do they possess the outlet to directly respond to the professional writers who are happy to verbally slice-and-dice the player who does not have the outlet (or perhaps the training) to effectively counter their 'foes'.

      Just as internet trolls would never say what they write while face to face with their targets, the media trolls must attempt to hide their agendas while questioning the players in the locker room. The players may not be fully aware of the agenda behind the questions they face, yet on some level, they know they're about to be 'flayed' in the court of public opinion. On the ice, many of these media types would be known as 'rats' (perhaps that's why they support the instigator rule - i.e. no accountability for their actions - while people like Don Cherry instinctively hate said rule).

      The media trolls couch their innocence and supposed lack of agenda in questions that are framed to inflame a response (replete with plausible deniability on their own cherubic faces), yet we know that many reporters have such an influential agenda. So, when a Phil Kessel lashes out against a faceless 'agenda' the media close ranks to proclaim their innocence in the matter.

      Cont'd below

    2. I have some questions for the media: If you think your words have no impact upon the players you interview, why should you think they have any impact upon the people who buy they words you spew with their hard-earned dollars?

      Or, conversely: If you think your articles do have an impact upon the public (and you're paid to accomplish that end), why wouldn't the questions you pose to the players have a potentially deleterious impact those whose psyche's you infect with any negativity inherent in the manner by which you may question these athletes? They may 'judge you by their own standard' with their desire to remain positive, seeking to overcome any difficulties you would prefer to emphasize, at least until they ultimately realize your agenda is not compatible with success... and then they lash out because your agendas are ultimately at odds with one another.

      Why wouldn't your negativity (eventually) wear down good people who are doing a job that others (fans) appreciate, while your efforts are merely parasitic by comparison?

      Theoretically, if media shy players (especially) could manage to avoid the media's fodder and influence on twitter, the sports pages, magazines (at the grocery checkout), TSN/Sportsnet/etc. (while flipping channels or at a restaurant or pub), on the internet somewhere or through friends and family who are influenced by any of the above - How can they avoid the impact of a reporter's 'simple/supposedly inoffensive (ha!) questions' when exposed thereto on a daily basis?

      Is it a jinx or is it a systemic imbalance inherent in this (and potentially other) marketplace(s)?

      I would suggest it is systemic and out-of-proportion to most of the rest of the league in regard to the media influence.

      Cont'd below

    3. I rarely look at comments in Sun articles, yet found this pertinent idea regarding working in a hostile environment (i.e. Toronto) on March 4/15:

      • 5cups •
      THE LABOUR LAWS say that it is very possible that hockey players in Canada who have to 'endure' the 'extra' duties' and 'hardship' of media must be compensated. DON'T LAUGH- this very point was argued and WON by our armed forces personnel- a soldier, whether permanent or on contract, receives a base pay relative his station and expertise ; however, should his duties require hardship or extra duties , then he will be compensated accordingly. EXAMPLE- a soldier living in Canada is posted to peace keeping in Cypress MUST be paid SFA ( separation family allowance) for leaving wife and kids and further HAZARDOUS pay if they start shooting there. This is ON POINT and could have players be paid for interview time above the norm ( league average). Fans here would find it hard to sympathize with millionaires getting more BUT , IT WOULD NOW BE LESS OF A DETRACTOR TO COME TO CANADA.

      Another commenter added:

      scoob96 5cups • 4 hours ago
      Great idea and more doable than most think, Had an idea that each player should be paid in NHL dollars or BetmanBucks if you want.
      Once extra media time, taxes, weather and any other factors ( not mentioned in this post )
      In effect it would give each team a different cap level
      So say Florida due to weather, lack of taxes and media (we won't hold it against them that they have less fans too) would receive a lower overall [adjusted - ITF62] cap (and perhaps a higher minimum cap) than say NYR or Winnipeg or TML
      Might make the cap a little harder to make trades or even impossible in some cases, but not if you make contacts guaranteed only if you make your team with any trade made being for players rights only... Any team acquiring a player gets his rights for as long as his previous contract time [with his rate adjusted depending upon the market issues - ITF62]... Makes any trade a hockey trade and makes anyone playing in ,Florida worth more playing in Winnipeg but also mean if you get traded from say the TML to Tampa you will be making less money

      These are salient points that would level the playing field across the league and should be addressed in the next CBA. In order to attract media shy players, teams should be able to offer RMA's (Restricted Media Clauses) where such players could be 'protected' from negative media agendas that harm the team/player's interests. A layer of protection could be implemented, through which the media questions are pre-approved or addressed through a media relations person.

      The media clearly impacts the psychology of the players and their bombardment induces cycles of negativity that must be broken (before the will of our players is broken).

      I hope this may positively further the discussion on these matters!

    4. Little did I realize that I would ignite your desire to that degree, InTime for 62. Your thorough assessment is extremely commendable and succinctly wrapped up in the second last paragraph i.e "The media clearly impacts the psychology of the players..."

      I enter this dialogue as a former "media guy" with considerable newspaper sports desk experience. I have always advocated balanced and fair reporting of all news, not just sports, and take issue with news outlets who give free editorial license to literally all and sundry. The Toronto sports scene is infested with two types of sports reporters, commentators and analysts -- 1) those who have virtually no experience as active players yet delight in new-found sports world celebrity status their work affords them and 2) non-journalist, former borderline pro players who have found a niche being paid to offer critical analysis of the game they themselves did not play all that well. In short, everyone has become an expert.

      At the same time, players in Toronto have become fair game, their performances on and off the ice open to intense and insensitive scrutiny and, yes, media agendas. You can not convince me that all of this does not have a negative impact on the Maple Leafs in particular with a spill over on fans who love the blue and white and our national game.

      Phil Kessel deserved credit recently with his unsophisticated defense of Leafs captain, the much maligned Phaneuf. Phil is by no means an articulate sportsman, but his frustration and "embarrassment" with media treatment was completely understandable and indicative of the negative impact on all of his teammates.

      I cannot, however, endorse Restricted Media Clauses to protect players, thereby giving team management the ability to manage the news. Instead, I would favour this issue being taken up with the Ontario Press Council which is in place to advocate, uphold and adjudicate fair and balanced news coverage. No question that something has to be done to resolve the issue for the sake of hockey in Toronto.

      I think we are on to something, InTime. But who listens to hockey enthusiasts like us?

    5. Being a 'former media guy' I thank you for your balanced comments! I was not even aware that there was such an advocacy as the Ontario Press Council - perhaps I could have utilized such an agency when I was misquoted in the press. At the time, I gave testimony in a well-publicized trial that the media saw fit to "quote" (and I use the term loosely) the exact opposite of the testimony that is on the court record... all to (apparently) push a narrative/agenda that was false. People get convicted of crimes for which others would find themselves potentially 'lauded for their actions' under severe circumstances and stresses (or at the very least, understood) with mitigating evidence providing significant diminishment of their sentence. Unless, of course, it runs counter to an external agenda....

      As you can see, I can very easily put myself in the players shoes (yet recognize that I still have some pretty strong feelings on the subject). Your penultimate comments give pause for consideration on my proposed 'Restricted Media Clauses' though I would like to see the issue addressed, because I know the damage that can result from agenda-driven opinions.

      My sister worked in media relations and reminded me that the story would 'die' if I chose to add no fuel to the fire... i.e. 'becoming the story' in my instance. I turned the other cheek, yet the consequence for the convicted has not healed the agenda that impacts many like him... for that conviction (both, in the court of public opinion and the Court of Queeen's Bench) was brought down upon many false premises (with other realities not addressed).

      Hence my understanding of the issues facing players (on much less important matters), yet the sheer volume of the 'media impacts' upon their minds not to mention its unceasing and pervasive negativity, are issues that make said Leaf workplace a hostile environment for many in my opinion.

      I hope hockey enthusiasts (with heart) will create a pendulum motion in the other direction that may begin to balance the proclivities of the media that are being identified in this (and other) discussion(s).

      I can see how team managed news could be just as inappropriate as the current milieu, but I do like the idea of at least identifying, recognizing and quantifying the player contracts as they pertain to many factors in differing markets... perhaps coming to Toronto could become worthwhile for those could see some of those issues mitigated somewhat!

      Thank you for taking the time to express yourself so well, Dick, of course, I would not brandish my sword (pen) against the wiser reporter(s) among us who resist the urge for sensationalism and twitter/page hits at the expense of the very real impact they have upon the players. I like Bob Mckenzie and Elliot Friedman, for example, and believe we would be far better off reading the insightful and interesting notebooks of one Anthony Petrielli (over at MLHS) and the measured perspectives of our own Michael Langlois!

    6. FYI InTime for 62: This is for your interest and future reference.

      The Ontario Press Council considers all public complaints involving breaches of journalistic standards and ethical practices by its member news organizations.

      To discuss the procedures involved in filing a complaint, please contact the executive director of the Press Council, Don McCurdy, at 416-340-1981.


      Or by writing the Ontario Press Council at:
      Suite 200,
      890 Yonge St.,
      Toronto, Ont.,
      M4W 3P4.

      The Ontario Press Council deals with:

      1. Unsatisfied complaints from the public about the conduct of a member media organization in gathering and publishing news, opinion; and

      2. Complaints from members of the press about the conduct of individuals and organizations toward the press.

    7. Thank you for taking the time to provide that press information... perhaps it can still help people in Ontario - though my heritage is Markham, I have never lived in Ontario, so my cryptic desire for similar agencies pertains to another province to the west!

      My situation happened 15 years ago, so I was not aware then (or now) that such an advocacy existed, but the experience plays into my perceptions on the matter. And, such a council can only deal with an issue after the damage has been done, where it appears the press received by way of correction is usually far less than that pertaining to the offending issue (exceptions being recent apologies to star players and a famous bride (under threat of legal action).

      Of course, such legal recourse is not effective against the Chinese water torture-esque drippings of media negativity that brought forth my earlier impassioned comments. The council may, however, be an effective corrective resource for our beloved (embattled) players.

      Thanks again for taking the time to 'publish' this resource for us, Dick!

    8. PS my great grandmother was a Wright (whose brothers John (wife Flossy Hardy) and Russel sic. (wife Kathleen Williams) may have perpetuated the name - but there is no record of offspring for those branches in the Craggs of Greenbank family tree). Perhaps, we're distant cousins!

      In any case, welcome to the VLM family!

  6. Didn't know that you were not an Ontario resident Wayne. Can't speak for others following this thread, but what prompts your interest in the Toronto Maple Leafs over the other Canadian teams further west and presumably closer to you?

    1. Hi Dick, here are my Leaf promptings despite living further west (born in Alberta and raised in BC): I am the son of a Markham man who 'bled blue and white'. Listening to radio games and watching when we finally got a TV in '68 or '69, I became 'Leaf-sentient' just after the '67 cup win and had been born InTimeFor62's cup win - 10 minutes before the game in compliance with my Dad's joking desire not to miss the game against (and in) Chicago.

      Despite such an auspicious beginning, I was already a Leaf fan by the time the Canucks entered the league in 1970... It was tough to have to watch so many expansion team games that pre-empted the Leafs, I often listened to Leaf radio broadcasts instead of watching the Canucks (if there was a choice available), yet I have 'hung on' through thick and thin ever since! Now being one of the paper-thin times.

      PS I look forward to Wayne's comments on our media chat, too.

  7. Hello Dick,

    I'll second InTimefor62's welcome.

    I am T.O. born and bred (except for spurts here and there where I lived in other countries).

    I think it's InTimeFor62 who is out West, though he can correct me if I'm wrong.

    You two guys have hit on an interesting topic and are going back and forth with some very good ideas.

    I would like to jump in on this, but I want to re-read your posts beforehand so as, to hopefully, add to the conversation.


  8. Thanks for clearing that up Wayne. Needless to say, I've been confused by the sequence of individual posts in this thread...Can't understand why. LOL

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  10. Like you guys (Wayne and InTime for 62) I am a born and bred Maple Leafs fan, having cut my teeth on Foster Hewitt's radio/TV Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts from the gondola at Maple Leaf Gardens in the late 1940s and early '50s with Murray Westgate's Texaco commercials and the good old Hot Stove League panel featuring Hal Cotton, Jack Dennett, Wes McKnight, Ted Darling and Ward Cornell (among others) between periods. I am a sentimentalist and sadly report that the hockey broadcasts today do not
    hold the same excitement for me. I still tune in however -- my wife twists my arm!? Not. In 1957 and 1958 I worked in Toronto and did not miss a game, lining up an hour before game time to buy $1.00 standing room tickets above the grey section. Those were the days my friends!

  11. Hi Michael,

    you did not comment on my post from this morning but I sure hope you will answear on this one.

    Generally I agree with you, you need will to win in hockey. So far so good.

    But if you rely only on will and determination to defend in hockey, you won't have any success.
    By the way, you need the same amount of will and determination to be successful on offense too. That's the reason why the Leafs can't score anymore.

    What seperates you in hockey, no matter if offense or defense, is knowledge and decission making.
    To a much larger extent than anything else. How to position my body, my stick, how to get on the inside, when to take the hit, how to force players in an area where they can do less harm. How to force players to seperate themselves from the puck . What to do with the puck after you won the battle.

    When you play soccer and you have the ball on your feet, your body and the ball are not much seperated, if a player covers you you have a problem to do damage with the ball.
    But in hockey, if you cover a body, the other one can still do damage with the puck. It is much more difficult to defend in hockey than in other sports.

    Only will and determination won't bring you very far.

    And what you completely ignore is that there are players that are equally talented on the defensive side as others are offensively.

    And as far as the system goes, there is only a certain range of systems in todays NHL that can be succesful. If you play like the Sabers in 99 when they made the finals you won't win in todays NHL and you won't have success when you play like the Leafs did in the last few years. So: chose any system you like and add will and you'll be succesful won't work either.

  12. All good points, Marcus. A lot of factors go into being not only a good NHL player, but a player who helps contribute to his team's overall success. You mention some of the key traits (including decision making) that scouts look for. I agree that will and determination are only part of the equation.

    I guess the Leafs are like a lot of teams in the league- they have some talent and young players with potential, but are a ways away from having everything they need to contend.