Toronto Maple Leafs: Patrick Marleau rallies team in moment of need

MONTREAL, QC - NOVEMBER 18: Patrick Marleau
MONTREAL, QC - NOVEMBER 18: Patrick Marleau /

The Toronto Maple Leafs were in danger of another unfortunate ending, until Patrick Marleau stepped up and delivered a message that the team used as a rallying point.

There is a reason why Patrick Marleau has earned the nickname “Daddy Marleau” and it is not only because he is the oldest player on the Toronto Maple Leafs, but it certainly helps.

After allowing three goals in the second period against the Ottawa Senators including an embarrassing effort that led to another shorthanded goal, it appeared something needed to be said.

The first message came two nights ago when Frederik Andersen spoke up against his team’s effort. Saturday night it was the most senior player on the team that decided he was going to send a message.

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That message did not come on the ice rather in the dressing room behind closed doors but the impact on the ice was noticeable.

While many have pleaded to have Mike Babcock shake things up, it was the players who decided to take it upon themselves to turn things around.

The team does not have a captain but it hasn’t mattered because there are enough guys capable of filling that role, tonight it was Marleau (a former captain in San Jose) who decided to take the reigns.

“I just think it’s time. We’ve been going through a bit of a skid here. Just working our way out of it, we needed everybody,” Marleau said to the media postgame. “You don’t want to have to do that. You want the team to be clicking on all cylinders.”

Sure, fathers don’t like to discipline their children but when they do something wrong, they need to learn from their mistakes and understand that enough’s enough.

The benefit in the long run to having Marleau stand up and say something is that the younger players start to take notice. A player like Auston Matthews, who many are calling to be the next captain learns when it is the right time to stand up and say something to rally the team and realize what is the right thing to say.

When a player has a letter stitched on their jersey, they understand the extra responsibility placed on them to lead by example. With Morgan Rielly out, Marleau was given the “A” patch for his jersey.

Surely a player with his experience doesn’t need to be named an assistant captain in order to have that type of impact both on and off the ice, but sometimes being handed that role puts a special emphasis to do just that.

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Luckily for Babcock, the players took it upon themselves to change the tone of the game in the third period because now he knows that they are capable of doing it.