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What Do Thornton, Bogosian, and Spezza Add to the Maple Leafs?

The Toronto Maple Leafs lost a heart-breaker on Monday night. How are they moving on, and how do their veteran players help them?

Jason Spezza hat trick Maple Leafs
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The Toronto Maple Leafs blew a game on Monday night against the Ottawa Senators in overtime by a score of 6-5. The Maple Leafs were ahead at the end of the second period by a score of 5-2 against the Senators; then the wheels fell off. The Senators came roaring back, scoring five straight goals, to beat the Maple Leafs in overtime.

Related: Maple Leafs’ Rasmus Sandin Out for Several Weeks with Foot Injury

How Can the Team Get Over Such a Loss?

There must have been a lot of soul-searching in the dressing room after the game. How can two different teams, both wearing blue and white jerseys on their backs, play two totally different games? That’s rhetorical; however, the most important question is – and one the team can address is – how do you move on from there if you are the Maple Leafs?

Joe Thornton Maple Leafs
Joe Thornton Maple Leafs power play

This season, in addition to greater skill and a much stronger defensive unit, the Maple Leafs also have several added treasures in the lineup. Three of these treasures are the experienced play of veterans Joe Thornton, Zach Bogosian, and Jason Spezza. All three come to the Maple Leafs lineup with an extensive resume of NHL experience; and, all three have been successful with other teams in the NHL.

Being a Veteran Brings with it a Veteran’s Memory

Obviously, after such a long time in the NHL, having experienced all the ups and downs of team play at a professional level, there are a few things that experience teaches you. First, you don’t get too excited about a victory; and, conversely, second you don’t get too down with a loss.

That’s what experience will do to a lineup. In the video below, the Maple Leafs’ Zach Hyman speaks about how huge Thornton, Bogosian, and Spezza are in helping the team bounce back mentally from a loss such as the Maple Leafs experienced on Monday night.

Maple Leafs’ Zach Hyman Shares How Crucial Veterans Are on the Team

Hyman specifically noted how veteran guys like Thornton, Bogosian, and Spezza have been helping keep the team’s mentality in the right place, especially after Monday’s monumental collapse against the Senators.

Hyman Makes Three Points About a Veteran Presence

During the video, as you can hear, Hymen makes a number of key points about the specific reasons veterans have been important to the team this season.

First, he believes veterans bring a unique energy to the rink.

Second, he believes veterans help the team reset after a negative experience.

Third, he believes veterans have unique skills in breaking down a game – that is, they help review the tape and help other players talk about and address the issues that seem so fragrant.

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Fourth, they help call out the elephant in the room and help other players address issues head-on.

How Veterans Help Create Positive Behaviors

Hyman also believes that veterans can help habituate certain behaviors that lead to positive outcomes. For example, once all players get used to speaking about issues in positive ways rather than negative ways, they can use their mistakes to build success. Finally, Hyman suggests that, when you’ve been around as long as these three players have been around, you’re able to put games like the team experienced on Monday in perspective.

All those things together, veterans put a team and positive spaces so that everyone can – as Hyman noted – reset and begin again. It is, after all, a long season. And, it’s the record at the end that counts and not a single defeat that will soon grow minor in the long scheme of things.

Related: Maple Leafs Trade for Alex Galchenyuk from Carolina Hurricanes

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