The Players Tribune has been doing mailbag entries, and today we got one for Maple Leafs President Brendan Shanahan. He spoke at length about his days with the Red Wings, and playing for other lesser teams, and then his big break: joining the blue and white:

How do you deal with the nerves and pressures of not only running the hottest show in North America, but also giving it an internal overhaul. Big Fan! — RJ

I think it’s a combination of utilizing certain skills that I acquired during my days as a professional athlete, and then combining those with everything I learned in my five years at the National Hockey League. While working for the NHL, I was able to study all 30 teams and just what a challenging job it is to run an organization. My philosophy has been simple.

A. Do what I believe in.

B. Do the thing I was hired to do.

C. Surround yourself with smart, driven people — and then let them do their jobs.

D. Drown out the white noise.

Are you further along [with the rebuild of the Maple Leafs], right where you expected to be or facing challenges that you didn’t anticipate based on where you guys are now? — Carl

I would say we’re somewhere between where we hoped to be and a little further along. Those are all off-season judgments though. It really comes down to how the players who are currently showing promise ultimately develop. We have a group that is very young and that has shown some potential, but that potential doesn’t mean much unless it’s fulfilled. You’d rather have it that way than not, but getting it done on the NHL level is all about results, and that’s the challenge this young team faces.

Other Leafs questions are:
With the management group of Shanahan, Lou Lamoriello, Kyle Dubas and Mark Hunter, how does the dynamic work within the front office? Does everybody have equal say regarding all decisions/discussions, or does each person’s input vary depending on the issue at hand?

A legendary statement used to be on a wall in Maple Leaf Gardens that read, DEFEAT DOES NOT REST LIGHTLY ON THEIR SHOULDERS. Is there any plan to incorporate that timeless motto in the ACC for the current Toronto players? It seems a statement like that could be applied to your professional career. One to live by.

Head over the TPT to check out the entire article, his views on how the game has changed over his career, the Wings/Avs rivalry, and his secret to stay "shredded" even while working the desk.