by PuckStopsHere on 01/28/15 at 03:44 PM ET
On January 6th, the Toronto Maple Leafs fired coach Randy Carlyle. At that point, they would have been a playoff team. The media had been promoting a coach firing, but since the Leafs had done acceptably and coaching was not the issue, it made no sense. The Leafs eventually buckled to pressure when they lost a few games after a six game winning streak in December. There was no good prospect to hire as a coaching replacement; however Peter Horachek was an assistant coach. He had failed in a partial season coaching the Florida Panthers. He was hired.
Since then, the Leafs have played eight games. They have won only one of them. They have seven losses in that time period. The Leafs have fallen to 11th place in the East Conference. They are ten points back of a playoff berth. Obviously the coaching move has failed to produce any short-term success.
Usually even bad coaching changes produce some short-term success. A new coach with a new system creates some uncertainty. Players are uncertain if they will remain in their roles with the team. It often motivates a short-term push as players try to maintain their spot or earn more ice time in the new system. That hasn't happened in Toronto.
In Toronto, the players appear to have bought into the narrative that they are not a good team. They had to fire their coach and replace him with another clearly weaker interim coach. Things are falling apart. The coaching change signalled a surrender.
This Toronto team had the ability to make the playoffs until a bad management move led to them giving up. They have been a disaster so far under Peter Horachek. Management has failed the team this year. There should be some job loss because of this. The Toronto Maple Leafs have fallen apart this year and they did so by listening to the cries of the media. A successful Toronto GM needs to be able to ignore the media when they have bad ideas.
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