of "Things we will never see again"
The new head of Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment has given his first interview since taking the job, and the results were… interesting.
In a wide-ranging interview, Tim Leiweke unveiled his vision for the Maple Leafs. He's promising to change the organization's culture and build a winning atmosphere. He even plans to take down photos of the franchises championship teams from the 1960s. And he's so confident that his plan will work that he says he's already planned the championship parade.
That last bit has already become a punch line, but it's worth pointing out that the former president and CEO of the company that owns the LA Kings knows a thing or two about Cup parades. So maybe he's on to something.
I wanted to know more, so I put in a call to my MLSE spies. They were able to get me more details on what kind of changes Leiweke has in store. Here are some of the ways the new Leafs' boss plans to change the culture and finally bring the Stanley Cup to Toronto.
Old way: Players were instructed to go out there and try to lose.
New way: Players will now be told to go out there and try to win.
Old way: The team was the butt of a constant string of undeserved "plan the parade" jokes from opposing fans.
New way: End that practice once and for all by ensuring that, effective immediately, all future "plan the parade" jokes will be completely justified.
Old way: The franchise was guilty of living in the past and coasting on long-ago triumphs.
New way: The franchise will focus on the present, unless not doing that would sell more merchandise in which case hey did you hear David Clarkson is the new Wendel Clark?
Old way: Did not always demand excellence behind the bench.
New way: Insist that any new hires must be Hall of Fame caliber coaches, so definitely avoid anyone who's won more Jack Adams Awards than anyone else in history.
Old way: Pretty much just keep pointing at the Raptors and then doing the exact opposite of whatever they do.
New way: Don't forget to occasionally mix in Toronto FC too.
Old way: The team was often paralyzed by a reluctance to make necessary lineup changes.
New way: Improve the roster by making sure we buy out our best players, just like we wrote down in that brainstorming session. (Wipes away smudge on whiteboard.) Wait, it's says "don't." Don't do that. Oh, crap.
Old way: Team would consistently fail to sign players to mega long-term contracts because the GM spent the free agency period in Afghanistan.
New way: After careful evaluation of how well most of those contracts have worked out, look into having the GM spend the free agency period on Pluto.
Old way: The team often trusted the crucial goaltending position to unproven backups.
New way: Will follow the mantra followed by Leiweke's old team, who'd always say "Find some gullible sucker and trade your unproven backup to them," and… oh, right. Well, this got awkward.
Old way: The franchise was notoriously reluctant to factor in advanced metrics to the decision making process.
New way: Make all major personnel decisions based on Fenwick, or maybe Corsi, or whatever the name of that stat is that measures whether a player is best friends with Phil Kessel.
Old way: An 18-wheeler going off a cliff.
New way: An 18-wheeler going down a meticulously planned parade route (which includes a cliff).
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