After a slow NHL trade deadline for the Toronto Maple Leafs, general manager Kyle Dubas spoke to the media about the state of his team. Never one to hold back, the second-year GM was open and honest about where his team stands as they prepare to head into the home stretch of the regular season.
Here are some of Dubas’ best quotes from his press conference today after the deadline had passed:
On staying quiet at the deadline
The way you operate at the deadline is a byproduct of a number of things: cap space being one function, the performance of the team being another, and then how different player injuries and their return to their lineup will impact the cap space in the remainder of the year.
The confluence of all three of those things led to just some depth moves. I think, more than that, we kind of took our shot a little bit earlier in the month with the [Jack] Campbell and [Kyle] Clifford transaction. That, unfortunately for everybody, isn’t as exciting as maybe you’d like.
Sorry about that.
On why the Leafs aren’t more consistent
It is a good question. The truthful answer is we don’t know because if we knew, we would go about it. It might draw some criticism to say I don’t know, but I am not going to come up and bulls— and tell you I have some magical solution. I think we have to go through this and we have to find a way to be our best on a daily basis.
It’s not really what people want to hear, but it is the truth.
We have to keep at this every day. We can’t waver when things don’t go well. We have to keep marching toward the way we want to go. We know. What everybody sees on the ice are the problems that we face. We have to be more consistent with our focus, with our mindset, with our effort every single night to get to where we want to go.
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On managing his emotions through the highs and lows
Yes, I mean every description you could think of probably describes it, but that’s also one of the great things about the business that we’ve chosen. … It’s not going to be easy, it’s not going to be overnight. We’ve put ourselves in a position that I don’t think we want to be in, which is battling for our lives, but I’ve said this before and I’ll continue to say it.
Our group that we have here has to go through this. We have to develop the ability to weather the storm when it comes and thrive going through it. That’s the only way we’re going to be at our best… It’s necessary. As much as I know people aren’t going to want to hear that, it’s the truth.
On how hard it is to stay patient through the process
I have my moments where impatience goes to the top of the list … I think Saturday night was an embarrassing night, not because our team lost a game and the goaltender for the other team was the Zamboni driver from the Mattamy Event Centre, who happens to be a wonderful guy — it was embarrassing because of the way we played that put us in the position of being down 4-1 when we actually started generating shots on him.
At those moments impatience and frustration certainly boil, there’s no BS about that, but in the end, we’ve set ourselves up on a journey that’s going to be difficult. It’s going to be hard and we’ll have moments like that when we question each other and question ourselves… We’re committed to working our way through the adversity and coming out the other side, and as long as we stick with it and keep marching on we’ll get there.
On whether Saturday night’s loss to the Hurricanes was a big blow to the team’s confidence
It was an embarrassing night.
Not because of David Ayres, everyone here loves David Ayres. He’s great, it’s a wonderful story. He’s a wonderful person and shows up here every day. As Sheldon said he faces hundreds of shots a day from our guys.
If we won the game it would be embarrassing as well, because you’re down 4-1 and then there would be a whole other controversy that comes up. ‘Oh jeez, it’s the Maple Leafs own employee,’ and that kind of stuff. I think everyone in here can imagine what that would have been like as well.”
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