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The Leafs need to take the Samsonov approach with T.J. Brodie

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Photo credit:Mark J. Rebilas
Nick Alberga
29 days ago
T.J. Brodie should be in the press box until further notice.
It took 67 games, but mercifully, Sheldon Keefe finally made the 33-year-old pending unrestricted free agent a healthy scratch on Wednesday night in Washington.
It was the right decision. And quite frankly, it’s been long overdue.
Indisputably, Brodie’s track record is probably the only reason that this roster decision wasn’t made sooner.
He’s been downright atrocious; capped off by an abysmal showing in Philadelphia on Tuesday night.
Over the course of the final 14 games, the Leafs need to find a way to get Brodie right. If they can’t, there’s no way he should be playing in the postseason —regardless of who he is or his price tag.
Toronto struck gold earlier this season with Ilya Samsonov, so why can’t the full reset approach work again with T.J. Brodie?
At the very least, it’s worth a try. Currently, the Leafs possess eight healthy defenders, so it’s not like they don’t have other options at their disposal. In fact, it’s a great time for them to experiment and get a grasp of what they have ahead of the playoffs.
Any way you slice it, Brodie has become virtually unplayable. They’ve tried him with practically everyone, and still, the issues have persisted. Simply put, this move was unavoidable.
Now that they’ve done the deed, the band aid is off. Regardless of the team’s results over the next little while, it would be beneficial to all parties involved to have Brodie sit for a few games —at minimum. There should be no rush to get him back in the lineup.
For starters, the view from the press box could offer up a unqiue perspective. It allows the player to sit back, watch their peers, and think about different scenarios on the ice from high above.
Secondly, and probably most importantly, it gives Brodie a chance to chill out and relax. It’s been a rough season —a stressful one, for sure. He’s been completely devoid of all confidence. Furthermore, it’s amazing what a couple of games off could do for a player and their psyche. Again, see Ilya Samsonov and that whole story for a comparable example.
Plain and simple: If the Leafs are going to go far this spring, they need T.J. Brodie to find his game again.

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