Darryl Sittler on this year’s Leafs, Morgan Rielly, and Tim Leiweke


Neat picture, but who’s the knob interviewing Darryl Sittler with a Galaxy S3?

I had the opportunity to have a brief chat with Leafs legend and Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Darryl Sittler on Friday morning about this year’s Leafs, Morgan Rielly, and Tim Leiweke’s stance on Leafs history.

How you ask?

Right next door to Leafs scrimmages in the Mastercard Centre, there was an event put on by Canada Post where they introduced a new collection of NHL stamps. They had one stamp for each Canadian team, including the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Phil Pritchard, the man most commonly known for having the greatest job ever and following the Stanley Cup everywhere, played the role of MC for the event. After the Minister of Transport, Lisa Raitt, and Deepak Chopra, the President and CEO of Canada Post (and not the guru guy) were finished speaking, it was Sittler’s turn to talk.

Sittler told some neat little anecdotes. For example, I had no idea that Sittler had actually grown up a Habs fan and idolized Jean Beliveau as a child. He also spoke about the first time he found out he would wear 27 for the Maple Leafs, and the tingles it gave him knowing he would be wearing the number Frank Mahovlich once wore.

After all the speeches, photos, autographs and hand-shaking with fans, Sittler allowed me to ask him a few quick questions. Here’s our short conversation:

I guess just a very stock question to start: How do you see the Leafs doing this upcoming season?

Well I think we’ve got lots to look forward to. We acquired two pretty good forwards in the offseason with Clarkson and Bolland, but also we’re all waiting to see the goaltending situation. Reimer’s a great goalie and Bernier hasn’t had the opportunity to really play a whole lot, but from what I hear he’s got lots of upside and you need good goaltending and you need good depth in goaltending to be successful. So we have that going into it, we’ve got some young guys, and I think that even though we lost out to Boston like we did in the final game, there were a lot of positives to take out of that series against the Bruins, and hopefully we can build on those.

One thing you mentioned behind the podium was the pressure of being a young player, especially for the Maple Leafs. One guy that could be feeling the pressure this season is Morgan Rielly. If you were to give him some advice, what would it be?

Morgan’s just got to come in and be himself and play, you know. He’s young and he’s got a great future ahead of him. I’m sure the management and the coaches, the people who evaluate and make those decisions will make the right call that’s in the best interest of Morgan, you know. What that is, I don’t know, whatever it is, he just has to continue to develop. He’s a prospect. A good prospect. See where it goes, you know.

One final thing. I always work with YouTube videos and online stuff like that, and one of the more memorable moments from the last couples years was that cool little thing you did with Wendel with the masks.

Oh yeah that was cool! Got lots of comments on that.

But I think one thing that’s worried some fans over the last few months is some of the things Tim Leiweke said about wanting to let go of the past. Do you have any handle on what his plans are for cool little things like that? Does he want to avoid them?

Well he can answer that better than I, but I had a meeting with Tim and I’m very confident that he has a lot of respect for the tradition and the history of the organization, the players that played here, the alumni. He said he regrets it kind of happened the way it happened, but at the same time, we understand. He wants the current players to stand up and win. We haven’t won a championship here since ’67. A lot of good players have come through, a lot of good teams. Totally understand that and I think that, that won’t be an issue at all. I’d love to see these guys win a Cup and their picture goes up on the wall with the guys from the past. I mean, all of us through the years have helped build this Leaf tradition and organization to what it is today, and I don’t think anybody should ever undermine or underestimate that because everybody was important and were the building blocks to build it.

And that was the time some blogger got to talk to Darryl Sittler.



Join our awesome hockey pool!
TLN Top Twenty Prospects: No. 1 – Morgan Rielly
Nazam Kadri’s coming regression
TLN Top Twenty Prospects: No. 2 – Joe Colborne 
The Mystery of Paul Ranger
Nazam Kadri is in the driver’s seat