Well folks it took all but a week for the Toronto media to turn the news of Kyle Dubas becoming the 17th GM of the Maple Leafs into the franchise’s latest controversy. Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star wrote: “The headaches might just be beginning for Leafs president Brendan Shanahan” which was his take with the usual anonymous sources to describe what will be a scene of pure anarchy with the up-coming battles between the GM and Coach set to take place.
Cue the eye roll please, I don’t know who the Toronto media think Mike Babcock is or even Kyle Dubas for that matter but I have to think these two have garnered their reputations for a reason and I don’t expect them to throw away their chance at making their mark in both Toronto or Hockey lore by being the duo who brought back the Stanley Cup to Toronto over silly squabbles.
Do I think Babcock has a strong opinion on player decisions? You bet he does but what coach wouldn’t? It is their careers they are trying to protect, and in a profession where winning is everything, you have to believe the coach would want the best players to achieve success.
GM and coaches in every sport will squabble from time to time, there will be disagreements and there will be pushing on both sides so why wouldn’t Toronto be any different. From what I have read in regards to comments from the players on the Marlies and Coach Sheldon Keefe, Dubas likes to be challenged and will challenge back, but he also understands the people side of the business as does Babcock. I am confident that with President Shanahan at the helm any squabbles will be kept in house and handled as professional as possible without the war that some in the media are predicting.
If you want to be reassured of this, look what happened over the three years with Lamoriello at the helm, the media said there were too many chefs in the kitchen and there were would be fights and nothing would get done with all the strong personalities around the decision-making process. Three years later, we are looking at a franchise that is coming out of a rebuild a year ahead of schedule with less than a peep coming out of the front office. The last three years have marked a stark change in how the Maple Leafs run their franchise and the results show on the ice. The Maple Leafs have cornerstone players like Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander to show for it.
Any headaches that Feschuk is predicting won’t be any bigger than they are already have been, and I look forward to seeing what a Dubas and Babcock duo can produce. Having two fierce competitors who live, breathe and sleep hockey is never a bad thing. Like GM Dubas stated in his press conference, both he and Babcock have the hockey illness, it doesn’t leave them and has kept them up at night.
In a summer with so many tough decisions needing to be made with roster, I am more confident then ever that we are on the right track. The Maple Leafs front office with Shanahan mediating it all will continue to keep the ship moving forward and I predicted some huge surprises over the summer as the team looks to fill out their roster for the 2018-2019 season.