Author Topic: Something lacking... an Alpha-male perhaps?  (Read 8853 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Erndog

  • Global Moderator
  • Veteran
  • *****
  • Posts: 1283
    • View Profile
Something lacking... an Alpha-male perhaps?
« on: July 21, 2011, 03:25:03 PM »
Was just on a message board for another team I follow and a discussion came up where that team is severly lacking a go-to guy... an alpha male if you will.  I started thinking about it, and just going over some of the teams from both sports (basketball and hockey) in my head and I really believe that this extends to our Leafs as well.

Quite simply, we are lacking that true character guy, that guy with the 'highest' rank on the team, the go-to guy on the ice, in the locker room, heck even in the media or community.

Now before nutman tells me it's someone like Grabovski or Kulemin, or someone else argues that it *should* be Phaneuf, at the end of the day, we don't have one.  We did have one in Sundin.  Prior to that Gilmour, Clark, etc.  Now?  Nope.  The very fact that we can't instantly name one off the top of our head or that we will argue who might be goes to show us that we don't infact have one.

How problematic do you think this is?  I think that beyond a #1 center, the biggest thing we lack is that #1 go-to guy.  That true leader.  I am not bashing Phaneuf or Grabs or Kessel or Schenn at all.  They make fine complimentary guys.  But none have the same aura as a Pronger, Toews, Chara, Crosby, Lidstrom, etc. etc.

Offline Spider

  • Rookie
  • ***
  • Posts: 464
    • View Profile
Re: Something lacking... an Alpha-male perhaps?
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2011, 03:35:49 PM »
Brian Burke makes up for what's lacking on the ice.  ;D

Offline CarltonTheBear

  • Global Moderator
  • Sittler Status
  • *****
  • Posts: 18723
    • View Profile
Re: Something lacking... an Alpha-male perhaps?
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2011, 03:37:47 PM »
I'm going to be the first to say that it *should* be Phaneuf. I'll even go one step further and say that at the end of the season he really started to step up into that role (his involvement in that Grabovski OT goal against Pittsburgh comes to mind).

Another point you make is that we're lacking a #1 centre AND a #1 go-to guy. I think in most cases these are one and the same. And we definitely don't have THAT player anywhere in our roster or in our system.

Offline Nik the Trik

  • Sittler Status
  • ******
  • Posts: 21736
  • Some Guy On a Message Board
    • View Profile
Re: Something lacking... an Alpha-male perhaps?
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2011, 03:41:37 PM »

I've said basically since JFJ's first season as GM that the lack of that kind of a player is ultimately what weighs this team down. That finding that kind of player, long and painful journey though it may be, is kind of a necessary step for the team to really join the upper echelon of teams. JFJ and Burke both tried to take short-cuts around that with JFJ's leading to the mess he left and Burke's leading to where the team is now.

I think the common refrain these last few years is "Don't worry, one of those guys can be traded for or signed" and I think we've gotten a pretty good sense in the last month how rare that is.

Until one falls into the Leafs' lap or one of the prospects in the system shocks us all and develops into that kind of player I think the Leafs are going to be stuck in that middle pack at best.
Give a man the reputation of an early riser and he can sleep 'til noon
-Mark Twain

Offline Erndog

  • Global Moderator
  • Veteran
  • *****
  • Posts: 1283
    • View Profile
Re: Something lacking... an Alpha-male perhaps?
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2011, 03:47:09 PM »
Another point you make is that we're lacking a #1 centre AND a #1 go-to guy. I think in most cases these are one and the same. And we definitely don't have THAT player anywhere in our roster or in our system.

That's fair but it's not always true.  Calgary is Iginla's team, he's a winger.  Obviously guys like Lidstrom, Chara, Pronger are the head honcho (or co-head honcho) of their respective teams and they play defence.  When Ottawa was really good and making those President Trophy runs it was Daniel Alfreddsson's team.  NJ has been Brodeur's. 

Don't get me wrong... Sakic, Yzerman, Richards/Lecavalier, Crosby, Modano, etc were all guys who lead successful teams to a Cup and they were considered 'the man' and are/were clearly #1 center's but it doesn't always have to shake out like that.

Offline Erndog

  • Global Moderator
  • Veteran
  • *****
  • Posts: 1283
    • View Profile
Re: Something lacking... an Alpha-male perhaps?
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2011, 03:49:50 PM »

I've said basically since JFJ's first season as GM that the lack of that kind of a player is ultimately what weighs this team down. That finding that kind of player, long and painful journey though it may be, is kind of a necessary step for the team to really join the upper echelon of teams. JFJ and Burke both tried to take short-cuts around that with JFJ's leading to the mess he left and Burke's leading to where the team is now.

I think the common refrain these last few years is "Don't worry, one of those guys can be traded for or signed" and I think we've gotten a pretty good sense in the last month how rare that is.

Until one falls into the Leafs' lap or one of the prospects in the system shocks us all and develops into that kind of player I think the Leafs are going to be stuck in that middle pack at best.

Again, you said it better than I could but this is exactly my thinking.

It is damn near impossible for this team to take the next step without this sort of player.  It just doesn't happen.

Offline CarltonTheBear

  • Global Moderator
  • Sittler Status
  • *****
  • Posts: 18723
    • View Profile
Re: Something lacking... an Alpha-male perhaps?
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2011, 03:51:18 PM »
Another point you make is that we're lacking a #1 centre AND a #1 go-to guy. I think in most cases these are one and the same. And we definitely don't have THAT player anywhere in our roster or in our system.

That's fair but it's not always true.  Calgary is Iginla's team, he's a winger.  Obviously guys like Lidstrom, Chara, Pronger are the head honcho (or co-head honcho) of their respective teams and they play defence.  When Ottawa was really good and making those President Trophy runs it was Daniel Alfreddsson's team.  NJ has been Brodeur's. 

Don't get me wrong... Sakic, Yzerman, Richards/Lecavalier, Crosby, Modano, etc were all guys who lead successful teams to a Cup and they were considered 'the man' and are/were clearly #1 center's but it doesn't always have to shake out like that.

Sorry. What I meant was that when a team has a #1 centre, then he's usually also the alpha-male on the team. Usually.

Offline CarltonTheBear

  • Global Moderator
  • Sittler Status
  • *****
  • Posts: 18723
    • View Profile
Re: Something lacking... an Alpha-male perhaps?
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2011, 03:52:27 PM »

It is damn near impossible for this team to take the next step without this sort of player.  It just doesn't happen.

Completely agreed. We'll continue to just barely miss or make the playoffs until we get that guy. Which is guy I was willing to pretty much do whatever was necessary to sign Brad Richards. A player of his caliber might not be available again for another 5 years.

Offline Omallley

  • Global Moderator
  • Rookie
  • *****
  • Posts: 517
    • View Profile
Re: Something lacking... an Alpha-male perhaps?
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2011, 03:53:01 PM »
Another point you make is that we're lacking a #1 centre AND a #1 go-to guy. I think in most cases these are one and the same. And we definitely don't have THAT player anywhere in our roster or in our system.

That's fair but it's not always true.  Calgary is Iginla's team, he's a winger.  Obviously guys like Lidstrom, Chara, Pronger are the head honcho (or co-head honcho) of their respective teams and they play defence.  When Ottawa was really good and making those President Trophy runs it was Daniel Alfreddsson's team.  NJ has been Brodeur's. 

Don't get me wrong... Sakic, Yzerman, Richards/Lecavalier, Crosby, Modano, etc were all guys who lead successful teams to a Cup and they were considered 'the man' and are/were clearly #1 center's but it doesn't always have to shake out like that.

Sorry. What I meant was that when a team has a #1 centre, then he's usually also the alpha-male on the team. Usually.

Tim Connolly: Alpha Male, esquire.

...maybe not.

Offline Erndog

  • Global Moderator
  • Veteran
  • *****
  • Posts: 1283
    • View Profile
Re: Something lacking... an Alpha-male perhaps?
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2011, 03:56:28 PM »

It is damn near impossible for this team to take the next step without this sort of player.  It just doesn't happen.

Completely agreed. We'll continue to just barely miss or make the playoffs until we get that guy. Which is guy I was willing to pretty much do whatever was necessary to sign Brad Richards. A player of his caliber might not be available again for another 5 years.

Agreed.  Exactly why I would have exceeded my limits to sign Brad.

I guess we have to pray that somehow, someway, Ryan Getzlaf makes it to free agency in 2 years.  He is exactly what this team needs.  He is developing into that guy, he's an elite player, exactly the type of center this team needs.  If he comes here I have no doubt the Toronto Maple Leafs become Ryan Getzlaf's team.

Offline CarltonTheBear

  • Global Moderator
  • Sittler Status
  • *****
  • Posts: 18723
    • View Profile
Re: Something lacking... an Alpha-male perhaps?
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2011, 03:59:13 PM »

It is damn near impossible for this team to take the next step without this sort of player.  It just doesn't happen.

Completely agreed. We'll continue to just barely miss or make the playoffs until we get that guy. Which is guy I was willing to pretty much do whatever was necessary to sign Brad Richards. A player of his caliber might not be available again for another 5 years.

Agreed.  Exactly why I would have exceeded my limits to sign Brad.

I guess we have to pray that somehow, someway, Ryan Getzlaf makes it to free agency in 2 years.  He is exactly what this team needs.  He is developing into that guy, he's an elite player, exactly the type of center this team needs.  If he comes here I have no doubt the Toronto Maple Leafs become Ryan Getzlaf's team.

He can bring his buddy Corry Perry with him too.

Offline Nik the Trik

  • Sittler Status
  • ******
  • Posts: 21736
  • Some Guy On a Message Board
    • View Profile
Re: Something lacking... an Alpha-male perhaps?
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2011, 04:00:11 PM »
Another point you make is that we're lacking a #1 centre AND a #1 go-to guy. I think in most cases these are one and the same. And we definitely don't have THAT player anywhere in our roster or in our system.

That's fair but it's not always true.  Calgary is Iginla's team, he's a winger.  Obviously guys like Lidstrom, Chara, Pronger are the head honcho (or co-head honcho) of their respective teams and they play defence.  When Ottawa was really good and making those President Trophy runs it was Daniel Alfreddsson's team.  NJ has been Brodeur's. 

Don't get me wrong... Sakic, Yzerman, Richards/Lecavalier, Crosby, Modano, etc were all guys who lead successful teams to a Cup and they were considered 'the man' and are/were clearly #1 center's but it doesn't always have to shake out like that.

That's all true. What I took from CTB's post was that the Leafs are kind of in a situation where even if they found that sort of guy like a Chara/Alfredsson/Brodeur they'd still also have to be looking for a #1 centre which is tough enough.

One of the things that I think is worth mentioning is how often having the types of guys you mention leads to other guys on the team developing into that kind of leader. Yzerman to Lidstrom, Alfredsson-Chara, Stevens/Brodeur-Niedermayer-Pronger, Lemieux-Crosby and on and on. Finding that right kind of player can lead to everyone around him developing those traits.

It's why I'm somewhat less enthused than some about the roster turnover we've seen. Yes there was a lot of dead wood but there's now, near as I can tell, nobody on this Leafs team who played with Sundin. I think that's a loss for the club and one of the reasons I'd like to see some veteran leadership signed.
Give a man the reputation of an early riser and he can sleep 'til noon
-Mark Twain

Offline Bender

  • Veteran
  • ****
  • Posts: 4179
  • Gender: Male
  • Hot diggity daffodil!
    • View Profile
Re: Something lacking... an Alpha-male perhaps?
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2011, 04:09:01 PM »

It is damn near impossible for this team to take the next step without this sort of player.  It just doesn't happen.

Completely agreed. We'll continue to just barely miss or make the playoffs until we get that guy. Which is guy I was willing to pretty much do whatever was necessary to sign Brad Richards. A player of his caliber might not be available again for another 5 years.

Agreed.  Exactly why I would have exceeded my limits to sign Brad.

I guess we have to pray that somehow, someway, Ryan Getzlaf makes it to free agency in 2 years.  He is exactly what this team needs.  He is developing into that guy, he's an elite player, exactly the type of center this team needs.  If he comes here I have no doubt the Toronto Maple Leafs become Ryan Getzlaf's team.

I don't necessarily want this to become another Brad Richards debate.... but while I would want a high calibre player, I really don't know if committing that much money to a player in Richards when we will likely see a decline in production with, at best 1/3 of his contract left and at worst 1/2 of his contract left.

The Leafs are not strong enough internally, I think, to be relying on a very narrow window for Richards to bring home the Cup.

It's interesting to see that in other threads posters are, to a degree, writing off the Rangers this year even with Richards. What does that tell you about his importance in relation to the team's success when the Rags are arguably on top of us in terms of talent?

Anyway, I think the team needs another year of a maturation process. I think there will be a time when someone does come up and become that go to guy in a way that we couldn't have guessed before. Maybe Kadri does. But sadly, unless we see a prospect rise from within our system to be "the guy," we'll have to settle for the hope that we can pull off another Sundin or Gilmour trade, which is just as unlikely as landing a UFA.

I think we're in tough and just have to hope for the best, really.
"They say you can judge a man by the company he keeps. So here is the professor's oldest friend, a grotesque, stinking lobster." - Bender

Offline Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate

  • Sittler Status
  • ******
  • Posts: 12234
    • View Profile
Re: Something lacking... an Alpha-male perhaps?
« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2011, 04:17:01 PM »
I'm going to be the first to say that it *should* be Phaneuf. I'll even go one step further and say that at the end of the season he really started to step up into that role (his involvement in that Grabovski OT goal against Pittsburgh comes to mind).

Sorry Ern, but Phaneuf does need to be at the center of this discussion, as CTB says.  The guy is brought in precisely because he's supposed to be alpha, and then he's given the C entirely on the basis of this perception, not on what he did on the ice for the Leafs.

I may seem to be against Phaneuf -- I'm not.  I want to see him succeed, and he did start playing a little better at the end of the season.  But he's supposed to be our Pronger.  If he isn't doing that, then he's failing.

FWIW I think you can contend w/o an absolute top-tier 1C.  Sure, the guy has to be good, but  BOS won this year w/o one (I would argue).

Offline CarltonTheBear

  • Global Moderator
  • Sittler Status
  • *****
  • Posts: 18723
    • View Profile
Re: Something lacking... an Alpha-male perhaps?
« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2011, 04:21:00 PM »
FWIW I think you can contend w/o an absolute top-tier 1C.  Sure, the guy has to be good, but  BOS won this year w/o one (I would argue).

They did. But they also had a Norris finalist and Vezina winner on their team. That Vezina winner also had one of the best years by a goaltender in NHL history.

TMLfans.ca

Re: Something lacking... an Alpha-male perhaps?
« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2011, 04:21:00 PM »