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Short Shifts

Maple Leafs GM Dubas compares Spezza to 'Major League' character

Veteran forward has similar impact as Tom Berenger's portrayal of Jake Taylor

by Dan O'Leary @DanOLeary25 / NHL.com Staff Writer

In a press call announcing the signing of forward Jason Spezza, Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas used a reference that was just a bit outside.

Dubas likened Spezza's impact on the Maple Leafs to Jake Taylor, the grizzled veteran catcher character from the legendary 1989 baseball comedy "Major League."

"I think the image of Jason is he's a veteran in the mold more of Roger Dorn, but I view him more as, after being with him for a year, more of a Jake Taylor type to use that analogy from 'Major League,'" Dubas said.

Taylor, played by Tom Berenger, was the calming and seen-it-all-before veteran that helps with every zany problem on the fictional Cleveland Indians, from getting Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn (Charlie Sheen) under control to solving the issue of Pedro Cerrano (Dennis Haysbert) wanting to sacrifice a chicken before a game.

Taylor also helps the Dorn character (Corbin Bernsen) see the light when it comes to being part of the team and not just out for himself in the movie.

Spezza, however, a veteran of 17 NHL seasons has only played for three teams. In the movie, it was implied that Taylor was a little more well-traveled, especially when a member of the Indians coaching staff says to fictional GM Charlie Donovan (Charles Cyphers) that the team should have had Taylor two years prior and Donovan replies: "We did."

While the reference may have seemed to come out of left field, Dubas explained it pretty simply.

"(Spezza) has been excellent with our young players, great experience, works his butt off every single day in the facility and has just been outstanding and an outstanding addition for us," Dubas said. "Just his work ethic, his passion for the game, and the fact that he desperately wants to win for obvious reasons... We're fortunate to have him and have him around here for another season."

- NHL.com staff writer Mike Zeisberger contributed to this report.

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