Monday, December 01, 2008

Leafs new motto: Pugnacity, Testosterone, Truculence and Belligerence

Brian Burke threw out some beautiful one-liners in his first weekend as Maple Leaf GM, but the most significant for fans was what he expected of his teams. "We require, as a team, proper levels of pugnacity, testosterone, truculence and belligerence. That's how our teams play," said Burke.

So you can throw out "The Passion that Unites us All" which was replaced this season with "Spirit is Everything". This isn't the first tough Irishman to gain control of the Leafs. Pat Quinn did introduce a belligerent style of play with the likes of Gary Roberts, Darcy Tucker, Shane Corson, Wade Belak and Tie Domi. The difference is that Brian Burke has a better appreciation to the type of balance you need between skill players and pluggers.

There has already been a lot of speculation regarding Burke's bias against European players. He is no Don Cherry. You cannot be successful in the NHL by taking a xenophobic approach to building a team. And Brian Burke has been successful.

So when he looks at the Leaf's roster he will have to decide whether the player falls under the skill category or plugger category. For example, is Matt Stajan skilled enough to be a top 6 forward or is he tough enough to be a plugger? If he doesn't fit in either category, well you can figure out the rest. So obviously, at risk are players like Blake, Moore, Ponikarovski, White, Hollweg. It is also why Coloaiacovo and Steen were likely moved with Burke's blessings.

Let the makeover begin!

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