Extreme Makeover- Leafs Dressing Room Edition

Danny Gray
August 28 2012 12:16PM

I bet Versteeg did this to Kessel. 

I’m not going to say Randy Carlyle stole my idea, but he definitely has been picking up what I’ve been putting down. His desire to revamp the Leafs dressing room shows he knows a thing or two about exploiting cognitive biases. 

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Randy Carlyle's revamping of the Leafs dressing room

Cam Charron
August 28 2012 08:10AM

Toronto Maple Leafs

Lost in the controversy surrounding one Sun TV idiot's comments about Randy Carlyle's revamping of the Toronto Maple Leaf dressing room is any sort of discussion on how good of an idea it is.

No, adding a few motivational posters isn't going to be the difference between the Leafs' going from a 13th place team to a 6th place team, but the club is in an extraordinarily unique situation generating the highest revenues in a salary cap system.

I've talked earlier this summer about the Leafs needing to find creative ways to out-spend the opposition. Non-hockey revenue isn't capped, although it was reportedly part of the NHL players' proposal to the owners as a cost-cutting suggestion.

Here are the changes:

The Leafs' dressing room is getting a makeover this summer, complete with some special touches from new coach Randy Carlyle.

The dressing room was considered a fairly modern place when it opened with the Air Canada Centre in 1999, but coach Randy Carlyle believes you can impact your team's mentality through the atmosphere.

As such, Carlyle is working with an interior designer to upgrade the dressing room, including better carpets, new ceilings, brighter lights and some fancy murals on the wall.

Carlyle apparently "just thought the room looked dark and tired in places".

Now, perhaps new carpeting and ceilings and lightning don't go far enough. If you have the money, you may as well reinvigorate the room that makes visiting players extraordinarily jealous and make minor-league players want to stick. How about a massage chair in every stall or heated toilets? Perhaps a limousine for every player coming to and from the rink.

You may as well spend to excess.

Carlyle taking this initiative is admirable. You may recall that he was a driving force behind the Leafs signing Jay McClement, and perhaps there was another player he had in mind that the Leafs missed out on because the atmosphere of the locker room was preferable somewhere else. These aren't the priorities of many players, but as long as you have the money to improve the overall team culture, you may as well.

But don't take it from me, take it from the Tampa Bay Rays, a team that went from worst to first in the toughest division in baseball. A lot of that credit is given to manager Joe Maddon. From Jonah Keri's analysis of the Rays, The Extra 2%:

It's in that last area, interacting with players, that Maddon receives the most glowing reviews. Soon after taking the manager's job with the Rays, Maddon posted a series of motivational and philosophical quotes throughout the clubhouse for players to read—a natural progression from his "I Got Loud" catchphrase as a minor league instructor. 

—Alan Greenspan

—Albert Camus

—John Wooden

To inspire his players and bring them together, Maddon has concocted slogans for every season.

The Rays are a model organization. They manage to survive on a limited budget, with a terrible stadium deal in the middle of a suburb of a city that doesn't care about baseball. It's all about looking for little advantages and working in the margins to give the team a 51-49 advantage or a 52-48 advantage.

So, kudos to Randy Carlyle.

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James van Riemsdyk and the curse of #21

Cam Charron
August 27 2012 09:52AM

April 2, 1989, Borje Salming played his last game as a Toronto Maple Leaf. He went pointless in a game that the Leafs lost 4-3 to the Chicago Blackhawks, capping off a putrid 28-46-6 season, their 10th consecutive under .500.

Salming wore #21 his full career with the Leafs, and his brief stint with the Detroit Red Wings to finish his NHL career. The team didn't waste too much time giving the number to a new player. On October 25, 1989, checker Sean McKenna, who had worn #8 in the previous two seasons, dressed for his first game of the season wearing #21. The Leafs won 8-6 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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Leafs prospect performs well in tournament

Cam Charron
August 27 2012 08:23AM

Blogger pays lip service

Look, it's a bit of a grind in August. The Junior Club World Cup took place this past week and the Sudbury Wolves, the first major junior team to represent Canada at this two-year old tournament were as close to dominating the field as you can get. They won four of their six games, falling in a shootout to Riga and losing in the last round robin game to Linkoping, but out-scored their opposition 27-13, despite the losses.

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Sheltering Nazem Kadri

Cam Charron
August 24 2012 10:33AM

Quick thought today, ranging from some discussion about my idea to shift Mikhail Grabovski to the #1C spot and plug young Nazem Kadri into the #2 hole with Clarke MacArthur and James van Riemsdyk. Basically the thought was:

  1. Grabovski can handle heavy minutes on the second line, so don't change that
  2. Get Kadri onto the top line and protect those minutes

Now, I don't think that Kadri can be totally protected with Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul. Even if you started them exclusively in the offensive zone, you're still keeping a young, raw asset out against Zdeno Chara all the time.

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