Maple Leafs Become More Truculent

Donny ChabotContributor IJuly 2, 2009


: feeling or displaying ferocity : cruelsavage

: deadlydestructive

: scathingly harsh : vitriolic <truculent criticism>

: aggressively self-assertive : belligerent

Well now that we have the definition of truculent made clear for us(and be honest until Brian Burke used the word, when asked what kind of team Leafs Nation could look forward to him building, many of us including this writer had never heard of it ,let alone knew what it meant)let's see how our Maple Leafs of 2009-2010 will look.

With the end of the July first free agent feeding frenzy calmed down and the Entry draft complete we can now look at how Burke has remoulded the team and addressed needs as we look forward to a complete rebuild.

The most pressing need was to make the Leafs tougher and less easily pushed around.Many nights during the last season we watched in horror as teams seemed to take liberties with the boys in blue and white.When having to watch 18  year old rookie Luke Schenn drop the gloves and throw fists with opposing teams tough guys it became all to clear that the team needed to get bigger and nastier.Burke filled that role in spades by signing Ranger tough guy Colton Orr( 5pts,193 P.I.M.)to a 4 million dollar,4 year contract.Then to hammer his point home Burke traded away the albatross of Pavel Kubina's 5 million dollar contract in what can only be described as a salary dump and received hard rock defenceman Garnett Exelby from the Thrashers.These two moves ensure that this new season while definitely less talented the Leafs will never be out muscled or embarrassed on the ice when it comes to giving talented kids like Jiri Tlusty and Mikhail Grabovski room to grow and use their skills in the new NHL .Speed and ingenuity are the new keys to making a team become a winner and while the Leafs are far from the finished product Burke has in mind to bring Lord Stanley's Cup back to Toronto it must be noted that patience will be the most important quality to the members of Leaf Nation moving forward.Has Brian Burke made the Maple Leafs a better hockey club as we wake on the morning of July 2nd?The answer to that is not necessarily yes but they are well on their way.With many more free agent role players still available watch for the Leafs to fill in the two checking lines with these acquisitions and give every chance to newly acquired collegians like Tyler Bozak and Chris Hanson to show they are capable of flourishing and growing into the players the organization feels they can be.It is time for the Leafs to move away from trading for and or signing NHL stars who have out lived their best by date and restock our team from within via the entry draft and carefully thought out free agent signings.

Yes it is true that the Leafs most likely will iss the playoffs again this season but we can all look forward to a new system one that while maybe not putting up alot of wins will be exciting to watch as we sail along the sea of rebuild to the promised land of Cup parade within the next five years.