Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
On one side you have the guys who have been part of winning programs and understand the discipline and sacrifice needed to win on a consistent basis. On the other, with a few exceptions, there are the players who have been through so many ups and downs here that they’re bound to be suffering from blue and white vertigo.
Don’t believe me?
Take it from no-nonsense defenceman Roman Polak, who had spent his entire NHL career in St. Louis before a trade to Toronto last summer. He didn’t flinch when asked why the Leafs haven’t played with enough defensive structure.
“Because it’s hard work,” Polak said before Wednesday’s 6-2 loss to Washington. “It’s always tough to do something you know you don’t like to do. I think we have lots of guys that just want to play offence.”...
Cody Franson, a Leafs veteran with a newcomer’s sensibility, also pointed to some underlying issues when he said that the group has “to hold ourselves more accountable for what’s been going on.”
from Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star,
A public firing is always difficult to absorb. For 24 hours, on radio and TV and newspaper websites, on social media, Carlyle’s termination was the talk of the hockey world. He’s been there before. And it was always destined to end this way, whether on March 6, 2015, or five months from now or another year or two down the line. It’s the fate of all coaches in all sports. Few get to choose the time of their departure.
Carlyle is philosophical.
“I’m really at peace with it, to tell you the truth. I don’t think I left anything on the table or in the drawer.”
This city is a distinct challenge, as it will be for whoever succeeds Carlyle.
“The one thing about the job in Toronto — it will wear you down, it’ll grind you. I always tried to come out of that room and be as positive as I possibly could to the people that were on the exterior. Sure, there were things that happened inside the room that I think should stay inside the room.”
So don’t expect Carlyle get in his licks on his way out of town.
added 4:42pm, from Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun,
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
One thought: The Leafs are still definitely in the playoff hunt; so while surely the outline of a long-range plan is in place, they still need to see a number of dominoes fall between now and the next off-season to see what happens next. How did they finish? Did they make the playoffs? Were they any signs of progress? Is a change coming at the GM’s level, if there wasn’t? Are any core players on the move?
Beyond their internal decision-making, there will also be external forces at play which the Leafs can’t control.
Babcock may elect to stay in Detroit, because of his loyalty to owner Mike Illitch and general manager Ken Holland; and because the Red Wings are never afraid to pay top dollar, be it for player or managerial talent. McLellan’s Sharks could make the playoffs and go on a long run, in which case a contract extension, not a pink slip, would be in his future.
If one or both come available, then they would rocket to the top of the Shanahan’s list of candidates for next summer. The more interesting question then might be what happens if both end up seeking new opportunities. Demand for their services would be high all around the league, but if the Leafs had a real choice between Babcock and McLellan, you wonder, who would be tops on the list? The answer might surprise you.
from Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star,
This team, as presently composed, comes awfully close to being simply uncoachable.
They might be unmanageable too.
Nonis, who might as well have been hauling an anvil also, and a ball and chain, and rocks stuffed in his pocket, could be the next piece of the conundrum shed by Brendan Shanahan, who kept himself firmly beyond media range Tuesday, watching practice from on high.
For the love of God, say something. We are unaccustomed, in Toronto, to hockey executive clams. Give us a pearl of wisdom.
It’s never a surprise when a coach bites the dust in this town. The scowl on Nonis’ face after the Leafs gagged on their second two-goal lead in two nights last week, in Tampa, spoke volumes. The collapses — perhaps Toronto’s only defining characteristic — had been piling up, and the sense was that something had to give before everything went completely pear-shaped. Crucially, there was no indication that the losses were having any impact on team culture. Nobody took it hard. Nobody stood up and declared: This is inexcusable.
freom Jonas Siegel of TSN,
... be it because of a failed system, disconnected message, flawed personnel, or more likely, all of the above, Carlyle never got through to this group in Toronto. Dave Nonis, the Leafs general manager, said as much shortly after the firing was announced on Tuesday morning.
“It’s been too much of a rollercoaster,” Nonis said in his typically stoic fashion, informing Carlyle of the decision late Monday evening. “It’s not that they’re not capable, because they are. It’s not that they haven’t done it, because they have. That’s probably the biggest reason or one of the biggest reasons for the change today.”
There were times, Nonis said, that his group demonstrated what it was capable of accomplishing. He spoke as recently as this past summer and then again in training camp about the team’s success in the 48-game lockout shortened 2013 as reason to bring Carlyle back, if also firing three of his assistant coaches, oddly, in doing so.
He said there were stretches again this season where the club showed itself capable, where it proved to be the “consistent team we were looking to be."
But that’s not entirely true either.
Former Maple Leafs head coach Ron Wilson joins Leafs Lunch to talk about Randy Carlyle's firing, shares his experiences before he was fired as Toronto's head coach and discusses the players' coachability.
A must listen...
For comments from Ron Wilson, check the recent Twitter timeline of Hope_Smoke.
Dave Nonis meets the media at 10:15am, watch below...
added 10:38am, Press conference is over.
All via Twitter and make sure to click the names for more reaction from some of the tweets... (added 10:04am, I will be adding to this post for the next few hours, additions added after the jump.)
And the Mike Babcock-to-Toronto watch formally begins. Well, picks up momentum.
Coaching change only makes sense if its followed up by changing Kessel-Phaneuf core. Otherwise spinning your wheels.
It's the wrong time to appoint a full time head coach unless you truly believe in Peter DeBoer or Dan Bylsma. I'd wait to end of season.
I will say this for Randy Carlyle. In a challenging media market, with huge demands, he was a real pro to deal with. Pretty classy guy.
I don't think I've ever seen a NHL fan base more thrilled at news that their coach was fired than Leafs fans are right now.
Coach always gets it, but this is on #Leafs players just as much. Is it really that difficult to pick up some defensive habits?
I would doubt any major trades will be in Toronto until the real coach is hired. Shanny and group are now on the clock.
via the Toronto Maple Leafs,
David Nonis, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, announced Tuesday morning that head coach Randy Carlyle has been relieved of his duties. Assistant coaches Peter Horachek and Steve Spott will handle coaching duties in the Club’s next game Wednesday night as the Leafs host the Washington Capitals.
The Leafs (21-16-3) are fourth in the Atlantic Division with 45 points, one point ahead of the Boston Bruins for the second Eastern Conference wild-card berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“I want to thank Randy for all of his hard work and dedication,” said Nonis. “It’s never an easy decision to make when changing your leadership but our team was not trending in the right direction and we felt an immediate change was necessary.”
Hired by the Maple Leafs on March 2, 2012, Carlyle compiled a record of 91 wins, 78 losses, and 19 overtime/shootout losses in 188 games behind the Maple Leafs’ bench. The 58-year-old holds a career NHL coaching record of 364 wins, 260 losses, and 80 overtime/shootout losses in 704 games between the Anaheim Ducks and Toronto.
from Jeff Blair of Sportsnet,
Congratulations to the Toronto Maple Leafs: they have succeeded in beating the delusion out of their fan base.
Truth is, one of the most remarkable discoveries I’ve made doing my call-in show is that the delusional Leafs fan — the one who plans the Stanley Cup parade after back-to-back wins — is largely a creation of the media or an assumption on the part of fans of other teams. If anything, the average Leafs fan is more of a cynic than you’d imagine.
I also know this: Leafs Nation certainly doesn’t go out of its way to get its boys into the NHL All-Star Game. I mean, the point here isn’t to rage or even analyze fan balloting. It’s a fun and harmless exercise leading up to a meaningless game. I think it’s a hoot that Latvia managed to get Zemgus Girgensons voted in; if you’ve ever drunk with Latvians at the Olympics or on the World Cup bobsleigh circuit, it’s no surprise. They are pretty much the best.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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