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London, ON • Canada • 38 Years Old • Male
Over this summer and much of last season there has been a great debate on how to turn the Leafs around. Everyone has an idea and everyone has an opinion. Finally after much of the same over the past few seasons the Leafs admitted that they had to stop, slow down and rebuild a very proud and storied franchise. Quick fixes have not worked. Every good team in the NHL has rebuilt around youth and added the final pieces within the frame work of free agency. I think that everyone thinks that this is such an easy thing to do. In the new NHL, draft picks have become the most important currency that a team can possess. They are hard to obtain and harder to hold on to. The Leafs used to ignore the the draft and just simply bought whomever they could. This years draft was a success for one major reason. Luke Schenn. Every team has a nucleus that they build around. Let's get this straight...Luke is not the Toronto Maple Leafs future, but he is a pillar, one major piece of the puzzle. I think it is easy for people to put too much pressure on this kid. Let's remember, he is only 18 years old. If you have watched him play so far this year, he is the real deal. Now the question is "Do they keep him up or send him down? In years past they would keep him up for sure. This was not a good thing then because ice time became limited and sitting on the bench does not help a play mature. Fletcher has stripped this team down. Gone is the fat of the team that thought the status quo was fine. Players that year in and year out got the big bucks but they team never got any better. This year is different. Competition was real and youth was given every chance to show management that they belonged and deserved to be a part of the rebuilding. So I say you keep Schenn up. He is going to get big minutes and he deserves them. Patience has to be the key. Let him make mistakes. Correct those mistakes. Learn from the mistakes. As I thought of Luke I began to realize that this is key to the entire team. Everyone knows it is going to be a rough year. I say let them play. Let them make mistakes. Let them grow. Find players that are willing to rebuild. Find players that will reach out a hand to their teammates and help them up. Sometimes life knocks you down. It's how many times you can get up and keep moving forward. You get hit. You go down. You get back up and go at it again. Find players that are willing to keep moving forward. It's the battle that brings players together. Weed out the ones that don't want to battle. Every good team in the NHL has had to go thru struggles. If the leafs are willing to walk the walk, they have a fighting chance. Everyone has to be patient and look forward. There is more to building a team then what happened at tonight's game. There are lessons to be learned. Too much pressure is not good. Let them grow and become a team. I know patience is hard. But it really is the only way. How many times can you beat your head against a wall before you realize you are going nowhere? I for one will give the leafs credit. They finally did the right thing. I only hope the Leafs, their fans and the media can give things a chance to play out. There are no quick fixes. If they stick to the plan and keep moving forward they have a chance to wake up with another top five pick next summer. That could be the second pillar. I hear people say they should "tank" the season to get that pick. That is ridiculous. This season is for learning and growing. It's not for nothing. After the season is over a giant step will have been made. When the day comes that a Championship Banner is raised in Toronto, players will look back and say it was the journey. They first learned the game. Next they Learned how to be a team. Then they learned how to win. Then they just won.

Richard Vennell
Filed Under:   Toronto   Maple   Leafs   Schenn   patience  
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