TORONTO – Posted above the whiteboard at the far end of the Maple Leafs dressing room is one puzzling slogan.
"Burn the Boats" reads the more mysterious and striking of two mantras posted at the team's practice facility.
The mystery behind the message lies with Leafs coach Randy Carlyle. In the hours before the Leafs took to the ice for training camp on Sunday, Carlyle delivered a motivational and seemingly moving speech to his group, weaving a tale into his efforts to illustrate the point.
"He had a story about people crossing the sea to take the treasure," James Reimer recalled. "When they got there they burnt their boats so they either had to take their treasure or die. That's what 'Burn the Boats' means."
Essentially the story and subsequent slogan comes down to one central message.
"We're all in it together," said Reimer. "There's no looking back. There's no turning back. There's no out. We're in it together. We're going to fight for each other. There's no safe zone to go back to and regroup really."
The second slogan is less cagey, reading "Make Today Count". The Leafs have missed the playoffs in each of the past seven seasons. Carlyle's intent is clear, wedge his group together at the outset of a hasty 48-game season.