Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
from Jonas Siegel of TSN,
Every morning for the final month of 2014, Leo Komarov woke up and hoped he simply didn't have a headache.
That was life with a concussion for the Maple Leafs' 27-year-old winger. He called it a "weird feeling", this existence of being not quite awful, but never quite right, either. There were the small headaches that became sporadic throughout the day. There was the newfound sensitivity to lights and movement. It was strange, though not completely unfamiliar.
"It wasn't fun," said Komarov on the first day of 2015, feeling better in recent weeks. "I could do everything I'm used to doing, it's just something wasn't right."
This was not the first concussion for Komarov. He had two "small ones" in the past, he says. One time, he was even knocked out on the ice, but well enough, apparently, to play the next day.
The Leafs took no such chances, though. Operating under a new climate of increased sensitivity to head injuries in hockey (and pro sports), they held Komarov out for 14 games. He was allowed to skate four days after he was first clipped by Alex Ovechkin, didn't feel quite right after and was kept on relative rest for the next couple weeks.
from James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail,
Changing the coach isn’t a panacea. It won’t transform this roster into a world beater, one full of hearty back checkers and diligent crease clearers. But what it may allow for is a glimpse of what these players can do in a system that isn’t so risk-averse and under a coach that can effect some positive change territorially.
Season after season, Carlyle’s impact appears to be a negative one over time, as this is the third year in a row the Leafs have been progressively outshot more the longer he has tried to implement a solution to that very issue.
That’s likely the easy part of the issue facing Leafs management at this point. The tougher challenges come when you take a closer look at the Leafs personnel. What do you do with a roster that has some big (and bad) contracts, some key pending free agents and not nearly enough good two-way players?
Especially with so little available, via trade or on the open market?
Looking back, the curious thing about Shanahan’s first off-season with the Leafs is it amounted to a mild vote of confidence for what was in place, despite the warning signs.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The Maple Leafs are the test debate for analytics, unless the Minnesota Wild are for opposite reasons. But let's focus on the Leafs, who hold a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference and blew a 4-2 lead on Sunday at Florida en route to a 6-4 defeat.
On the one hand, the Leafs lead the NHL in goals per game and the naked-eye test indeed reveals a team that seemingly can score at will from at least three forward lines. On the other hand, both poor puck possession stats and the naked-eye test for those who watch enough Leafs game also reveal a team that at times has no clue how to defend or protect the puck. So what's going to give with this team?
Surely being No. 1 in the NHL in scoring should matter, no? Or does being so mediocre once again in terms of the sexy stats doom this club? One thing's for sure, there's never a dull moment with the Leafs right to the end of this season.
other topics include Burnside on the Devils and Oilers, Custance on the Ducks and Strang on Carter Ashton...
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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