It looks like the Toronto Maple Leafs have decided that their flights are reserved for themselves, and not the people who are there to talk about them. In an obviously Lamoriello-driven move, team broadcasters will have different flight arrangements beginning this season. As well, the players look.. different.
Leafs have become the first NHL team to have pushed the team broadcasters off the team charters.
— steve simmons (@simmonssteve) September 17, 2015
Friend of the world Steve Simmons was quick to point out that the Toronto Maple Leafs are the first team to ever commit a travesty like this. Which, shockingly, was not actually true:
@simmonssteve Devils broadcasters always flew commercial. Uncertain if that changes now.
— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) September 17, 2015
— Rich Chere (@Ledger_NJDevils) September 17, 2015
As you can see, this isn’t unchartered territory for Lamoriello, who prefers to leave some space between those who cover the team and the team itself. In an ideal world, there’s an understanding of trust that those broadcasters won’t use what they overhear in negative ways. However, if you can avoid having to worry about that altogether by, you know, placing them on a different flight, why wouldn’t you?
Even if this made it so that guys like Paul Romanuk and Greg Millen have to have their flights paid for by their employer rather than by the Leafs… their employer is the same parent company. There’s no financial difference. It just keeps distractions away from the player, staff, and probably the broadcasters too.
Another Lamoriello policy that has come over from the Devils? Dress code. Some players look decidedly different today, sporting shorter haircuts and either a completely clean shave or minor stubble. Just look at Jonathan Bernier: who was all about the two-week-in beard last year:
He definitely looks younger, if nothing else. Hey, maybe that’s the motive – you can flip the veterans by pretending they’re prospects?
In all seriousness, the move makes sense. These are high paid professionals, and Lamoriello likes them to show commitment to themselves and the rest of their team in multiple forms of body and mind. If a clean shave and nice suit will ensure that everyone is just a little more on the same page and pays a bit more attention to themselves, then it works out. Beards are for the playoffs, anyway, and it’s not like this team has seen much of those recently.