As Toronto Maple Leafs President Brendan Shanahan gets ready to take part in the 2017 Rogers NHL Centennial Classic Alumni Game in Toronto on December 31st, he took the opportunity to speak about the winning culture he's trying to carry over from his Red Wings days.
When Shanahan was traded from the Hartford Whalers to the Wings on October 6th 1996, the Wings hadn't won a Stanley Cup since 1955. It was the longest drought in the league at the time. The Wings changed that by winning the Cup in 1997 and 1998.
"Sometimes when a team hasn't won in a long time, you hear different stories -- supernatural stories -- as to why," Shanahan said. "I remember hearing them in Detroit as well, whether it's curses or bad luck or this or that. I'm a superstitious person, but I believe that if you deserve to win, no one's going to deny you.
"It's a story until you do everything you can to make it not a story."
Head coach Mike Babcock also won a Stanley Cup in Detroit, and is on the same train of thought when it comes to breaking droughts. Babcock says the Leafs players need to set a standard.
"There's a whole bunch of teams that don't have it, and then they win a Cup, and then they have it," Babcock said. "So now we've got to push our people to be better."
"The Red Wings, let's be honest: Twenty-five years in a row in the playoffs, the only team since the lockout to make the playoffs every single year, that's a special, special thing. It's a hard thing to do, and they've managed to do it. And what they've done is, they've had lots of good people come and go through their organization, and they develop players and people and have been a fantastic thing, and so we'd like to do the same thing.
"We're going to become like Detroit was, and that's our goal."
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