The Toronto Maple Leafs having a difficult time getting over the hump and past the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs has been well documented. With 17 years having passed since the last time the Leafs saw second round action, Leafs Nation are tired of failure - and justifiably so.
The recent hire of life coach and motivational speaker turned "Peak Performance Coach" Greg Harden is a very interesting one for the Leafs - specifically I'd the problem they're having is mostly between the ears.
Harden is no stranger to working with premier athletes and helping them develop into champions. His resume speaks for itself, having coached the likes of NFL all-time great Tom Brady, Heisman Trophy winner and Super Bowl MVP Desmond Howard and, perhaps the most impressive name on Harden's list of clients, decorated Olympian Michael Phelps, who has 23 career Olympic gold medals to his credit.
The Leafs are certainly not short on talent, with names like Auston Matthews
, Mitch Marner
, William Nylander
and John Tavares
rounding out a high-end forward corps. These are four players who have no issues performing throughout the regular season, but with the pressure that comes into play in the playoffs appears to throw a wrench in the gears for Toronto's top guys. This is where Harden can help.
While his role has not yet been entirely defined, it is expected that Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe will work with Harden to develop a plan during training camp next month.
This one could end up being a quality hire for the Maple Leafs. If most of the issue in Toronto is indeed mental, then having a guy like Harden around to help the Leafs' top guys turn that pressure into fuel could be just what the doctor ordered.