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Simmons: The Leafs’ management whiffed on the comparative coach-hiring process

The Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons' Sunday notebook is quite good, and it includes another take on Phil Kessel's worth, a note about the "analytics department" teams' coaching records (with an emphasis on "coaches," plural), and a great quip from Randy Carlyle about the coach-critiquing business, but given Carlyle's status and the Maple Leafs' desire to hire a head coach after this season, this seems like the most appropriate place to start:

[Mike] Babcock is a pending free agent who wants big money and a big opportunity to win wherever he ends up coaching next hockey season — assuming he leaves Detroit, which isn’t in any way certain.

The Leafs can offer up money. They can’t guarantee contender status.

That leaves the Leafs open to playing a different waiting game of sorts. Rather than wait for the available free agent, they will monitor the list of those who potentially could be out of work at season’s end.

High on their list of candidates are Todd McLellan in San Jose and Dave Tippett in Arizona. Should either of those coaches be let go, the Leafs would likely act quickly. The same is certainly true in St. Louis, should Ken Hitchcock’s Blues be eliminated again in the first round of the playoffs and a change be made there. And the least likely candidate is Bruce Boudreau in Anaheim, a Leafs lover who has had a history of terrific regular seasons and not-so-terrific post seasons.

This much is obvious: The Leafs had little interest in Barry Trotz and Peter Laviolette, who have gone into Washington and Nashville and made an immediate impact. The internal belief was Randy Carlyle was equal to, if not better than, either of those coaches.

Should the Caps and Predators qualify for the post-season and the Leafs fall short, that decision by club president Brendan Shanahan and general manager Dave Nonis will have proven, if it hasn’t already, to be incorrect.

Simmons continues...

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: barry+trotz, detroit+red+wings, mike+babcock, nashville+predators, peter+laviolette, phoenix+coyotes, randy+carlyle, san+jose+sharks, todd+mclellan, toronto+maple+leafs, washington+capitals


Chet's avatar

I’ll say it again: the pop ups on the t sun site are so bad, I wish you wouldn’t support them.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 01/11/15 at 02:38 AM ET

Hockeytown Wax's avatar

Chet ... doooood ... sounds like someone needs a popup/ad blocker.

I use Google’s Chrome browser with the ‘Ad Block Plus’ extension.
I don’t see any ads, haven’t had a popup in ages, and pages load twice as fast.


As for the Simmons article ... he knows and we all know Babs is staying put.  Too many potential stars coming up from GR and he’s going to want to be here for the new arena.

St. Louis fire Hitch ??  Not if they know whats good for them they won’t.  He’ll stay put too.

If San Jose doesn’t make the playoffs or they lose out in the first round, it won’t be because of McLellan.  I’ve been saying for years now, no matter where he plays, Joe Thornton will never win a Stanley Cup.  Boston got rid of him and won 2.  It has nothing to do with the off-ice Joe Thornton.  I’ve seen plenty of his CBC interviews over the years and he’s very down to earth, polite, etc.  As a player on the ice ... that’s where we have problems.  Too much bitching & whining at the officials ... sets a bad example ... just shut up and play the game Joe.

I wouldn’t be surprised if McLellan quits before they fire him cuz he’s the one that will end up in Toronto…  which is great.  That will make the Detroit Toronto ‘rivalry’ games that much better.

I can understand why they didn’t pick Trotz ... they probably thought he’d institute too much of a defencive system and Kessel would end up being a healthy scratch ... or traded. Personally, I would have chosen Carlyle over Laviolette too ... cuz he’s a better coach.  I’m not sure which city is more difficult to be head coach, Montreal or Toronto, but if you’re not bringing your ‘A’ game every single day then both cities will eat you alive ... kinda like being head coach of our beloved Lions ... LOL.

Hmmm ... just 5 more months of rumours and guesses.  Should be a fun spring… LOL

Posted by Hockeytown Wax from West Bloomfield, Mi. on 01/11/15 at 06:36 AM ET

duhduhduh's avatar

St. Louis fire Hitch ??  Not if they know whats good for them they won’t.  He’ll stay put too.

What about Babcock going to the Blues?  They have what Babs wants on the blue line and already play a defense first game. It’s not impossible.

Posted by duhduhduh on 01/11/15 at 09:00 AM ET

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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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