It’s been a few days since the shit hit the fan, so I’ve had a little time to process what just happened and to allow rumours and leaks to come from MLSE.
Well, kind of. You have a lot of contradictory reports from different “insiders” that claim their sources are in the know.
What I can tell you for sure is that nobody knows what just happened. The real problem with that is, it includes most of the folks at MLSE.
With Brendan Shanahan claiming that he wanted Kyle Dubas back as GM for nearly a calendar year, only for that to unravel within a 48 hour span and to get board approval for Dubas’ dismissal quickly and quietly in that timeframe, initially I was left thinking that we’re back to a time where knee jerk reactions and gut feelings are what will be the prevelant source of change within the organization once again.
That is, unless it’s true that Kyle Dubas approached the board with a proposal to mainstream the decision making process, which would have ultimately taken Shanahan out of the loop in terms of trades and signings and given Dubas autonomy and a direct line to ownership. That type of proposal could have easily looked like (and been) a knife in the back of Shanahan and spelt the end for Dubas. That, if I put myself in Shanahan’s position, is reason for dismissal alone. Afterall, here is a guy that you picked up at 28 years old, brought to the big leagues, dismissed legendary GM Lou Lamoriello for, in order to give him the most coveted GM seat in the NHL and this is how you’re repaid? With an attempt to be pushed to the side? For the past few days it appears that most are painting Dubas as the one that has been betrayed, but maybe we have it wrong?
Conjecture is the word you were looking for. That’s what you’ve read to this point, both from me and every other person with a laptop and an opinion.
If we step away from conjecture we know that Kyle Dubas’ season ending presser was emotional. He stated how hard the year was on his family and you could see how hard it was on him.
I don’t blame him for that. If you’ve spent 9+ years at any job you know that you make friends. Some are with you before, during and after your time together on the job, as would/should have been the case with Dubas and head coach Sheldon Keefe. I believe that Kyle saw what had to be done, with not just Keefe, but players and possibly staff as well, and was feeling the pressure of that moment.
The playoffs were over, the disappointing reality of another year of failure was fresh and he knew the road ahead would be full of tough decisions. Afterall, at this point he had been told by Shanahan that they wanted him back. As far as he was concerned he would still be the GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs for a few more years. The decisions now, in his mind, involved changing the voice in the locker room and/or the personele on the ice. That was, until everything came undone.
So, again, it’s tough to blame him for the emotional exit. I don’t think I could stand up to the pressure of being the Leafs GM for as long as he did and maybe he simply wanted to get paid for having to make those tough decisions? Who knows? What we do know is whatever happened next is what ended his time here.
No mattew which side of the coin you landed on, a “Dubasite” or not, it’s tough not to hate the current situation the Leafs have found themselves in.
With no GM, a front office in chaos, a lame duck head coach with no idea what his future holds and star players entering the final years of their contracts, this team has found themselves in a shit storm like no other.
It’s May 23rd and the new GM will have to come into a situation where he has to get his finger on the pulse of the team immediately, find out which players want to stay and/or go, negotiate trades and/or contracts with those players, meet with and make a decision on his head coach and coaching staff, while preparing for his first draft as GM of the Leafs and free agency. All of this needs to happen before July 1st, by the way, so you’ll forgive me if I predict a poorer regular season from the team next year as well as another 1st round exit. They’ve made it so that the first year of the new GMs tenure here will be a complete flop, instead of setting him up for success.
Again, this all feels very familiar. The lack of foresight and planning, that is. Chris Johnston said it right, there’s no “plan” left in the Shanaplan. Just a lot of people fighting for power over a team that has never had continuity from the top down to the bench.
So, we wait once again for decisions. As we hear the names of possible GMs float around, from Brad Treliving, to Mark Hunter, to Marc Bergevin, while Brandon Pridham steers the ship forwards, it’s left us all wondering once again why any player or coach would want to join such a disfunctional organization.
And that’s what really feels familiar. The dysfunction of it all.