Throwback Thursday: That Press Conference That Happened Earlier


The Leafs love a good press conference, but unfortunately this one didn’t have angry Buffalo reporters or Dave Shoalts forcing awkward jokes on us all. It was just Brendan Shanahan and his Grandpa having a chat for half an hour. While it didn’t live up to the excitement of the Babcock unveiling, here are a few snippets from Uncle Lou…

Lamoriello on the Leafs
Front Office being hired in advance of him:

“Extremely comfortable. That’s what’s nice. I’m coming in as if they’re my
people.”

That’s pretty much the only answer he can give here and as I touched on earlier the Hockey Operations Department is vacancy free now. That being said, I’m sure there are bound to be a lot of people who will be under the microscope this season or Lou could possibly add some additional staff to support those already in place.

Brendan Shanahan on
learning from Lou:
 

“I think having Lou in the
organization is going to give him an opportunity to mentor us all.”

There is little doubt in my mind that this was one of the driving factors for Shanahan in making this move. Lamoriello might no longer be the most effective GM when it comes to assessing which players to go after, but he knows the network of GMs, agents, and NHL personnel better than anyone in the rest of the league. For a group of outsiders trying to turn a team around it’s likely Lou will open a lot of doors, establish a lot of credibility, and fill in a lot of blanks that are less than obvious to those of us following along at home.

Lou on Kyle Dubas

“He has tremendous ability. If he’s not going to be GM here ,I’m not going to be
here forever, it’s his his fault.”

This is high praise, and seems like it might include some foreshadowing from Shanahan to Lou that Lou wasn’t meant to let slip, being as he stumbled through his answer. With Lamoriello being on a three year deal that seems like Dubas is about to get College degree in Lou’s loopholes.

Lamoriello on the decision making process:

“If you know anything about me, we’ll make the decisions.”

Yes, he did say “we.” How much he meant that is up for debate, but really it’s the only answer he could’ve given that wasn’t going to result in about a thousand follow up questions and being the only thing we’d hear about all summer. The Leafs are heavily invested in the committee approach, and Lou wasn’t gonna torch that while the ink on the contract is still wet. 

Of course, he did say this later…

Lamoriello’s Philosophy on
players:

“Trying to create environment where players will give up their own identity for
the team’s identity”

This has been uttered by every incoming Coach, GM, President, CEO since the beginning of time, but I find it interesting because there aren’t really any standout personalities on the Leafs at the moment. Anyway, he checked this cliche off the list so good for him.

Finally, it was a press conference. It’s a chance to say the right things in front of a bunch of reporters with pre-written stories and fans wanting to believe that the team isn’t going to implode tomorrow. Shanahan and Lamoriello didn’t give us anything to worry about and didn’t promise us the moon. The real test is what happens next when there are still so many things wrong with the Leafs.

  • TGT23

    After listening to the press conference I think Lou actually reports to Dubas internally But formally for the media he reports to shanny.

    This is still dubas’s show

    • BEDay

      I’m going to expand on this because I agree, but I think it’s easy to misinterpret what you’re saying.

      As Jon said, Lou might not be the premier GM in terms of player selection, and the team of Dubas, Hunter, Pridham, and whoever else in in those team meetings have a plan and with Lou that plan is not going to change. The team’s original plan will trump whatever Lou would do on his own (that does not eliminate Lou from being able to voice his opinion to the others and give advice). Jon also mentioned that Lou knows the business aspect of this league extremely well, maybe better than anyone. He has connections, and he can get things done with his reputation alone.

      If what I’m assuming is true in fact is, then having Lou as our GM is really exciting and is definitely a way to bring up the Leafs strength in the future. He’ll develop Kyle’s business skills the same way the Leafs prospects are top level talent that need to be developed into professionals. As many have said before about the “new leafs”: I’m hopeful, but historically that’s been a dangerous feeling, but here’s to hoping that’s one change that’s been implemented with this new group.

    • Jeremy Ian

      Could be. But I doubt it.

      Dubas needs someone who can negotiate hard (and maybe show him how you do it) and deal with the media. So far, it’s been all honeymoon with the house-clearing. But when the season gets started and the Leafs falter (as they probably will), the team really needs someone who can handle some of the Toronto media.

      The curious person in all this is actually Hunter. He’s got a role. An important one. But the buzz is all about the triangle of Shanahan-Dubas-LL.

      Babcock’s behind the bench, so that’s clear.

      But Hunter’s name too often drops out of the conversation, and I don’t think it should.

      This is why I am skeptical that all this is arranged for Dubas.

      I actually think Shanahan has a clear picture about how to create a long-term team, each member with a role. Like a whole that’s more than the sum of parts.

      This is what we need.

  • Brooksterman

    Lou is a GM that the Leafs realized they probably needed with the experience. He’ll probably have better luck at trading hard to move contracts and players just because of his previous relationships with other GMs and management teams (ie.Bozak, Lupul, and Phaneuf).

    We also need to realize as well that he’s a guy who believes in the crest on the front of the jersey and not the name on the back. Basically this means he and Babcock will create a style to play for the team and team rules that the players will need to adjust and fit themselves into. Lou and Babcock don’t build systems and rules around the star players on the team and it will be no different in Toronto. Basically what this means is that players with attitudes and can come across as cocky or selfish will need to check their egos at the door otherwise they won’t be wanted. Lou and Babcock will not tolerate players with egos that are bigger than the team.

  • CMpuck

    Wow, dream GM, love it, totally on board with this management team now.

    I suppose that means most here will hate it.

    Lou in a situation where he can spend money?

  • Gary Empey

    Lamoriello was brought in to help look after the business aspect of running the team.

    This is where the present team lacks much needed experience.

    Even though Toronto has been one of the most successful NHL teams in the past, there has been some noticeable cracks in the foundation.

    Season ticket holders not renewing. Sweaters thrown on the ice. Tickets unaffordable for the average fan. Unhappy shareholders. Price of food and drink. Et Cetera

  • SEER

    I’m so impressed..!!

    We couldn’t have landed a better GM, to educate the existing management.. and make a stronger statement, than hiring Lou…

    Dubas, Hunter & Shanny will ALL learn something from him.. and I doubt that there is a player in the whole NHL that hasn’t got at least a little high respect for Lou…

    Whether some of you realize it, or not.. We now have one of (if not THE) best management team in the whole League..! The on-ice team will only get better & better, with this group managing them… Just watch..!

    Thrilled.. would be a mild word, to describe how I am feeling about it..

  • BEDay

    This is a great signing for a number of reasons, but I’ll only cover two here.

    Short term Lou expects the best from his players, and as the team begins to take shape in the next few years, Lou’s influence will be undoubtedly seen in the way the players learn and become professionals.

    Long term, Lou is going to be an excellent mentor for Kyle, both in teaching him the in’s and out’s of the daily life of a general manager and by helping to cement the connections with other GM’s that Kyle will need once Lou finally steps aside.

    This was a beauty signing!

  • Gary Empey

    As Ray Ferraro suggested yesterday the ownership, M.L.S.E. had a brilliant off season in stopping the bleeding as Gary Empey so eloquently pontificated. The leafs indeed lost millions and realized that a major over haul of the management team would solve the crisis of a significant number of fans quiting on this team in January after the team quit on their fans.

    Mark Hunter obviously played a huge role in the 2015 draft with Marner being the obvious pick of Hunter. Now we have an intriguing situation of Lou claiming to be the boss as G.M. Will Lou have much influence with the scouting department or not. Had this deal been made 5 weeks earlier, would the leafs have drafted the American defenceman Hanafin???

    As Ferraro suggested should Hunter start having his toes stepped on by Lou, expect him to pull off his brother’s move. We all recall how Hunter simply left Washington and went back to his very successful junior club.

    I look at the very successful distinguised career of Lamerello as being at the stage of Phil Jackson of the Knicks. We all know this is going to be a long term rebuild for the leafs. I don’t see Lou sticking around more than 3 years. Hopefully he will be a team player with this large management group as obviously he has been use to being head honcho for 28 years. Can a old dog learn new tricks, we shall learn in a hurry.

    • Gary Empey

      Re- “Had this deal been made 5 weeks earlier, would the leafs have drafted the American defenceman Hanafin???”

      As it was it had to be a difficult decision for the Leaf’s draft table. Something tipped the scale in Mariner’s favour. I wonder if it was the size of his heart?

  • Gary Empey

    One thing about this signing that is most unusual. When a new GM signs on he normally brings in new coaches, assistants, and scouts.

    Lamerello knew before taking on the job that most if not all of these positions have been newly hired.

    So it seems to me that Shanahan feels there is a lot more important work yet to be done. Lamerello must have agreed with him and signed on to fine tune/ help finish the rebuild.