Will Leafs nation heed the Great One?

JODY VANCE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:36 AM ET

When Wayne Gretzky speaks, people listen.

Unfortunately, when the message is patience, in Toronto his words might just fall on deaf ears.

With all of the off-season changes to the Leafs roster, fans have been forced to realize that when the training camp puck drops in less than one week's time, they'll recognize very few wearing blue.

No Mats Sundin, no Darcy Tucker, no Bryan McCabe, no Wade Belak -- all replaced by names you'll likely need to research to know.

The result could be early panic in Leafs Nation. But, when that anxiety creeps in, try to think of Wayne.

The gist of Gretzky's message, delivered over the weekend while the Great One was in town for a charity event, was that tearing it down to rebuild is the only way the Leafs could become a winner -- and he thinks all is well in the hands of Cliff Fletcher.

The Great One has been-here-done-that with Cliff Fletcher in Phoenix and wants fans in Toronto to know, even though things seem dim headed into this season, there is light at the end of the tunnel -- and a great hockey man is at the helm.

Unfortunately for fans, patience is the foundation of rebuilding.

Fortunately, Fletcher brings to the table a level of honesty rarely seen in pro sports -- he isn't afraid to say what he is doing and why.

No smoke and mirrors -- along with full disclosure -- might just get Leafs Nation through this rebuilding process.

There will be some, even with the facts and the Great One's vote of confidence, who can't find the patience while paying top dollar for their NHL experience.

-- Jody Vance is a sportscaster and personality with Leafs TV. Her columns appear Tuesdays and Thursdays in 24 hours.


Photos