16 thoughts from the Toronto Maple Leafs’ power play

(Pat LaFleur/Getty Images)

BONUS – Please keep the emails, voicemails and phone calls coming.

Here’s what Brendan Shanahan had to say this week:

13. Does the mounting losses at any time create concern?

A: I have been proud of the work that we have put into this team. From the day I joined the team I said there are 31 first place teams, so in order to be one of them we have to take a significant step forward and make that step. The good news is they’ve done that. We are now below 60 points, where it is important that we find a way to get a win. Like I’ve been saying all year, that’s a make it or break it point for this hockey club.

I think in terms of the practice and the practices the last week and a half, each period we played better and better. The last few periods and games, the way I’ve been pleased with it, the guys are competing harder, they are giving themselves more opportunities, and we have to find ways to break the ice when we have our opportunities.

14. What about your coaching staff? Is there a moment during the season that you remember as a coach when you felt you were struggling a bit?

A: I don’t think that’s for me to say. I think the question was one of help. I’m not sure that coaches are always so good at helping other coaches be better. As a coach, you make the decisions that you think are the best for your team, and that’s what I’ve done as a coach. I’m always looking for the next best way to win, and if I ever sensed that it wasn’t working, I’d be the first to admit it. It would have been pretty tough to tell the guys. We could have lost a game but we could have lost a practice. In the end it wasn’t about how hard you worked, it was about winning. As a coach, you stay with the players until you don’t feel like it anymore.

I’ve never questioned what they’re doing with their game. It’s how that game can translate to the next game. As a coach, it’s pretty obvious when you have this chance to win. It’s win the next one.

15. Any surprises when you look at the talent level that has been added in the off-season?

A: I never expected us to do what we’ve done this year. I didn’t think we’d have the depth, to be honest with you. It’s tough to talk about things I didn’t expect because it’s hard to predict. I didn’t know that the offensive core of our hockey club, our third line would develop the way it has. I thought they would all develop into top line players, but maybe not that quickly. We thought we could get some depth out of some of our young guys and we’ve gotten that.

16. GM Kyle Dubas has handled this ordeal with aplomb, but some have talked about you both being in place this long for the sake of change. Do you see yourselves staying?

A: Yeah, I like the job Kyle and I have done here. I like what he’s done over the last couple of years, and I think that we all are aligned on how we would like to see this franchise move forward. I think our goal is to get the Toronto Maple Leafs back to the playoffs. We know that’s not easy, but I think we’re heading in the right direction.

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