Decision on Randy Carlyle coming soon

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Leafs coach Randy Carlyle talks with his team during the practice at the MasterCard Centre for Hockey Excellence January 15 2013 DAVID COOPER/TORONTO STAR

According to Damien Cox, the decision on the futures of Randy Carlyle and his staff is expected to arrive sometime this week as Brendan Shanahan is on the verge of his first big decision(s) as Maple Leafs President.

Shanahan wasn’t going to begin clear cutting in haste without a thorough evaluation, top to bottom, of the organization he’s newly seized the reigns of. Indeed, as expected, he was seen meeting with many Leafs players in various spots throughout the city before they took off to their off-season locales. He’s also worked his way through the management and coaching staffs and took some days off to recover from a knee operation.

The vast majority of us cannot see a way bringing Randy Carlyle back could be justified. If the reports are to be believed the Leafs were – still are, one imagines, until Sharks ownership agrees with Doug Wilson and deems him safe – very interested in Todd McLellan after Pete DeBoer before him, so surely now it’s just a matter of time.

Many a novel have been written about the issues Carlyle created himself or failed to resolve. 84 points with 29 ROW, record-setting shots against totals, bottom five status on the PK and in goals against, this team handily underperformed relative to its talent level in a mostly-mediocre Conference, and the few things that kept it afloat throughout much of the year – great goaltending, Kessel and JvR’s big offensive years, a good PP – were all things that can’t really be credited in any serious way to Randy Carlyle’s coaching performance.

Worse yet, all three of those lifesavers deteriorated down the stretch and Carlyle owns some responsibility for that, too. Bernier was ridden hard in his first year as a starter, allowed (or, rather, given the option) to play hurt in Los Angeles, and Reimer was barely mixed into the rotation in the middle part of the season; Kessel and JvR were similarly ridden like rented mules while Carlyle routinely played forwards under 5 minutes, or didn’t dress a 12th at all. The Leafs have lost their 2nd round pick at the draft next month in order to barely use Peter Holland in more than a few of the games he played.

While Holland is a promising piece, let’s not forget part of the reason Holland was acquired in the first place was due to the discarding of Joe Colborne after a poor training camp, while Frazer McLaren and Colton Orr continued to occupy roster space. Ideally, the Leafs would’ve had both to provide some depth in the form of young centers with upside, Holland never would’ve had to have hit the threshold of games, and McClement wouldn’t have played so many minutes.

If Nikolai Kulemin walks this summer, a distinct possibility given reports of his desire to reunite with Mikhail Grabovski, Carlyle’s deployment and treatment of MacArthur (scratched in the playoffs) and Grabovski (we all know the story here) ensures that one of the best lines in hockey from 2010-11 may well end up entirely gone from the organization with the net return of exactly negative one compliance buyout.

Nonis owns a bigger share of all of this, given he is – or was – the ultimate decision maker. Among this litany of dubious asset management there’s also little doubt Carlyle and his version of roster management has been a chief actor. We can debate the ins and outs and order of things in each one of the above points as subjects of their own, but it’s difficult to argue with the general conclusions that a) the results have not been there in the short term, and b) he has waged damage to this organization long term and must be prevented from further turning any dials.

It’s possible Leaf management decides that, with two coaches with long track records of success in Wilson and Carlyle failing to get improved results out of this squad (especially defensively), it’s time to stop scapegoating the coach and instead opt for a serious personnel overhaul. Maybe we’ll just see a replacement of his assistants. That is to ignore a damning body of work by Carlyle, any way you slice it.

In the meantime we wait.

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Alec Brownscombe is the founder of MapleLeafsHotStove.com, where he has written daily about the Leafs since September of 2008. He was also the editor of the 2009-12 Maple Leafs Annuals. You can contact him at [email protected]
  • MLHS_Luke

    The decision on weather or not I watch the Leafs next season is coming soon..

  • Great Dane

    If they keep Nonis, keep  Carlyle and keep most of the players, what is the purpose of bringing in shanahan.

    The message from Shanahan most be loud and clear: Fire Carlyle and trade at least one or two 2 core players. That would include the captain – as much as I like him on the Leafs

  • Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs

    I have to disagree Alec. Naturally I respect your opinions and they are valid but I honestly think its time to settle down and stop this merry go round of trainer changes when 1 bad season happens. By that token we should get rid of the entire team.
    Carlyle is a stanley cup winning coach, simple as. The difference between Anaheim and here is that Anaheim has adequate management and an eye for players and prospects.
    After Wilsons departure we see the players put in place for a long reign of Wilson (as dictated by his extension) come into the fould. Wilson gone and now the “change of style” coach has players that no longer fit. Is that Carlyles fault. I dont think so.
    As far as Im concerned the issue is this.
    Like you said the fantastic Grabbo Kuli and McArthur line was destroyed and we paid for the destruction. As far as Im concerned even an imbecile would attempt to get a bag of pucks for that, not pay for the privilege.
    A third/second line player on a NJ team catapulted to the first line due to the exodus and the inevitable Zajac injury meant knee jerk Nonis overpays for a plug. (for those who dont get it its Clarkson).
    Due to zero ability to chose players that havent as yet been in all the newspapers Nonis was unable to spot an up and coming dman, not affording or willing to trade for a decent stay at home guy he opts to let 2 young, defensively unaware (natural they are young and still learning) man the top two defensive pairing. He carries on giving all the minutes to Phaneuf, over working him. Now many would say that is Carlyles fault – he allocates minutes. But he can hardly be blamed when experienced players liek Liles are dumped, Kostka thrown away, Holzers development retarded (thats stopped not mentally non-proficient) Fraser thrown away. What is the option? Give more PK minutes to Gardiner? Throw Rielly to the lions?
    Letting Kamorov walk back to the KHL for a measly extra million on what we were prepared to give him is bordering on plane stupid and mental illness. Prepared to throw over an extra million on Clarkson on what hes worth and take it off Komorov so they fit under the cap is mental.
    Now had Nonis signed Komarov for 2 million and told Carlyle to put Gardiner on the wing for a year, then even the signing of Clarkson and the wash that is Bolland (this one not Nonis fault) I believe over 82 games we would be in the playoffs and probably still in it.
    Its been obvious to everyone that a No1 center and stay at home guy is paramount to any sort of success. This is Nonis job. Carlyle cannot be expected to polish a turd in the hope elbow grease turns shit into diamonds.
    My take.
    Carlyle stays
    Nonis is shown the door, laughed at and have cake thrown at his fat dinner munching face as he leaves the building. All Nonis managed to do all year was sit in the press box, dream of the after match meal with dignitaries and have a fat and carb induced heart scare. All at the expense of our passion for the game and our team.

  • Zep2

    Thanks Alec . Good early morning reading after which the choice seems simple, fire Carlyle

    Unless Shanahan thinks after his interviews decides its a leader ship or character issue

    If thats the case ,Lupul or Dion could be sent packing, perhaps to Florida for their #1 

    Ive been solidly on the fence re Dion, but leadership goes beyond  turning up the volume on the Boombox.

  • Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs

    Zep2  
    Im staying in the keep Carlyle camp. It doesnt mean I would respect Shanahans decision should he fire him. That totally depends on whether Carlyle fits into Shanahans idea of how hockey should be played OR if he fits the transition between the lacklustre way we play now and the end goal. I really dont think its fair that Carlyle is sacked for not having the players that suit his style to do what is asked of him.
    Everyone seems to shit on Carlyle but he is infinitely more decorated than any of the Leafs the past 40 odd years and do we really have the right to say hes wrong.
    What is wrong is the knee jerk reaction to sack coach to save the GMs face in the eyes of the media. It seems we have a plan but the press and the fan base continually force the hand of team management to make changes when the job is only half done. We were all expecting a transition period when Burke took over BUT he was unceremoniously dumped because he didnt bring play off hockey during the early years of transition. So what do we do – blow up the ship. 
    Is it our fault, hell no. We have a right to criticise, we pay the wages. The fault lies with ownership in being so weak minded and lilly livered that they cant hire a guy with an opinion. A guy with strength who can handle the pressure and face up to the press, They sacked that guy and replaced him with a puppet.

  • Zep2

    Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs Zep2  
    Shanahan has too make a decision on what caused the 14 game collapse

    Did the players quit on Randy, or did Randy ride too small a group until they collapsed

    Bolland / Bozak  Back to back injuries put enormous pressures on this team. 
    The team played about 16% of their games with the centres they broke camp with

  • peterbleafs

    First off I want to make one point clear, I do not want to go to work!!!!  Okay next, the last several years we have watched really dumb coaching, roster and positioning decisions all the way through the lineup.  It was stunningly consistent in the on ice presentation.  Therefore, fire BOTH Nonis and Carlyle.  And then watch Phaneuf scamper frantically, in the sights of your high powered trade rifle.

  • Loric76

    Well happy fucking Tuesday morning to you too Alec.  You’re spot on with the article but there’s no need for this much doom and gloom first thing in the morning lol.

  • MaxwellHowe

    Poor Alec, just waiting with the “Carlyle is TOAST” headline in his back pocket.

  • Uncle Otis

    MaxwellHowe
    haha..Alec’s “hating” on Randy again
    I love how we can’t give Randy ANY credit for the three amigos he’s points out as having won games,but we can BLAME him for their failure during the stretch run. The fact he helped transform JVR’s game/net presence doesn’t count I guess.
    According to our boards,Randy must be the worst coach in the history of our franchise.
    Bring back Mike Nykoluk

  • MaxwellHowe

    Randy deserves some credit – he seems to have had a positive influence on Kadri and JVR.  Even Kessel backchecked for stretches.  Bozak’s game improved.  He put trust in Morgan Rielly.  But overall, the team stats are too astoundingly bad to retain RC, in my opinion anyway

  • Uncle Otis

    Says here the biggest problem this team has had is the disconnect that goes back to Ronnie Boy and Burkie
    Ronnie wanted faster,riverboat style players…and convinced Burkie that was the way to build a team in the “new era”
    Had Carlyle,or a coach similar,been here from the get go,I suspect this team might more resemble the Blues or LA Kings by now.
    So here we go with more changes..and who knows what direction we take now.
    Constant upheaval is the only constant,with a team philosophy forever in flux
    Choose a path,blow this thing the hell up,and stay the course.
    Over to you Shanny

  • MaxwellHowe

    This is Cocks (thanks Phook) article on seeking the Panthers #1 pick. 
    http://www.thestar.com/sports/leafs/2014/05/05/maple_leafs_might_want_to_make_a_play_for_panthers_no_1_pick_cox.html
    On point caught my attention, to some degree because myself, Uncle Otis and others have discussed it at length.
    He suggests Gardiner or Kadri could fetch that pick.  Maybe.
    But in reference to trading Kessel or JVR for that pick, he simply concludes that Kessel or JVR would be too expensive.
    Now maybe he’s saying that would be too high a cost to pay – but I don’t think so.  I think he is suggesting their paid too much.  This is clearly nonsense from JVR’s perspective.  And Kessel?  Well the Panthers took on Luongo’s contract, didn’t they?  They are paying Brian Campbell $7.5 million a year. 
    Ok, so maybe he means the price of Kessel is too high – i see the point, Kessel cost 2 first rounders and a second before the Leafs knew he would turn out as he did.
    But the first overall pick is, arguably, at least as valuable as two indeterminate first round picks – am I right?

  • MLHS_Luke

    CanuckUKinToronto MLHS_Luke  While I think most of the team’s futility over the last few years has been because the team caves to fan pressure, this seems like a no brainer.  If they gut the team and keep Carlyle, ok, I’m willing to at least consider that.  Seems highly unlikely and probably not needed.

  • Mind Bomb

    Good morning Folks

  • Great Dane

    Uncle Otis That is our basic problem.  There is no red line in the strategy

  • Mind Bomb

    MaxwellHowe  

    ut the first overall pick is, arguably, at least as valuable as two indeterminate first round picks – am I right?

    Yes, you are :) unless the picks are 3rd an 5th lol

  • Uncle Otis

    MaxwellHowe
    And two firsts would be less “expensive”
    Might be a pipe dream though…Fla would be more inclined to hand over Ek and a higher tiered “prospect”
    Besides,there will likely be a bidding war
    Probably getting excited over a long shot..just hope Shanny goes after it hard.

  • Uncle Otis

    Mind Bomb
    Morning Bomber
    Back to back sunny mornings in the great brown north
    Things are looking up :)

  • Mind Bomb

    Uncle Otis Mind Bomb  Hellz ya bro, a good lookin day Here, I am already flirting with the Meat section at Loblaws lol, Am I BBQ’ steak, burgers, maybe a Salmon Steak tonight, 

    its Beers BBQ and Sunshine today, just have to kill of work

  • Uncle Otis

    MaxwellHowe
    Ya,I think he should go too
    It’s just the constant piling on that gets to me after a while around here.
    Usually from peeps that want to absolve many of our core and get ultra pissy when we suggest they too deserve much blame…and should be moved to start over/retool big time.

  • Uncle Otis

    Mind Bomb Uncle Otis
    Go with the strip loins..maybe some grilled peppers and a Caesar
    Think they were on sale?
    Fack,now I’m getting hungry:)

  • MaxwellHowe

    Yup,m the notion that replacing the coach will turn the Leafs into a contender is a little, well, wacko

  • 4evrblue

    Good morning MLHS

  • Burtonboy

    http://www.thestar.com/sports/leafs/2014/05/06/maple_leafs_should_go_big_with_babcock_feschuk.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

  • 4evrblue

    Uncle Otis Mind Bomb woke up this morning to snow on the ground. It’s not exactly burning hot in London but I’m going tomorrow and can’t wait

  • Burtonboy

    Ricky_Vaives_slapshot Burtonboy  Wishful thinking probably but stranger things have happened.

  • Mind Bomb

    4evrblue   Monring Blue

  • Mind Bomb

    Ricky_Vaives_slapshot   Morning Rick

  • Mind Bomb

    Uncle Otis Mind Bomb   Hmm good call,

  • Uncle Otis

    Ricky_Vaives_slapshot Burtonboy
    For a coach/non union guy…can it be done with $$$$$$$$$$?

  • Burtonboy

    Uncle Otis Ricky_Vaives_slapshot Burtonboy  Yes indeed . You can pay a coach what you like . There is no cap

  • Uncle Otis

    Burtonboy Uncle OtisRicky_Vaives_slapshot
    Sorry..I meant in terms of remuneration for the Wings

  • Burtonboy

    Uncle Otis Burtonboy Ricky_Vaives_slapshot  I doubt the League would allow that Uncle O

  • Burtonboy

    https://twitter.com/MurphysLaw74 https://twitter.com/MurphysLaw74/status/463649604936810496
    Heard from multiple sources that there is strong interest from both sides for Peter Laviolette to become head coach of Nashville Predators.

  • Wilbur

    Uncle Otis Burtonboy Ricky_Vaives_slapshot  At the beginning of the previous CBA the NHL also decided compensation in any form could no longer be paid for non-hockey players (i.e. coaches). You used to be able to trade picks, players, cash for coaches, GMs etc…Can’t do that anymore. Can’t do anything that even smells like that. Feschuk should know that as a hockey writer.

  • Great Dane

    BurtonboyBB – This story is coming around from several sources now and I am starting to believe there is something about this. 

    1) Leiweke likes to go big – this is big.

    2) Somethings up in hockey town.

    3) Datsuyk and Zetterberg are in their last years.

    4) “Babcock is a better fit for this Leafs roster than Carlyle ever will be.
    For two-plus seasons Carlyle’s been trying to get a speed and finesse
    team to play a power game. It would be intriguing to see Babcock, a
    believer in the power of puck possession, trying to flip Toronto’s
    notoriously hopeless shot differential on its head.”
    Furthermore a lot of players would like to play for Babcock.
    Make it happen

  • Great Dane

    Burtonboy Uncle OtisRicky_Vaives_slapshot They will if there is a friendly agreement. 

    If they don’t want to extend Babcock next year – then why not now

  • Cameron19

    MaxwellHowe  No, i think he’s saying it would be too much for us to give up expensive. 

    Also, the two 1sts weren’t totally indeterminate. We expected them, best case scenario to be 10-14. The Bruins knew they were most likely getting two hockey players with those picks.

  • WendelGilmour

    Anyone know what the net impact of the “top line” was?

  • Great Dane

    Burtonboy Best news in a long time.

  • Burtonboy

    Wilbur Uncle Otis Burtonboy Ricky_Vaives_slapshot  Don’t think he was insinuating the Leafs would be trying to trade for  or buy Babcock Wilbur

  • Burtonboy

    Great Dane Burtonboy  Only possibility of this happening is if Babcock actually wants out.

  • Cameron19

    Uncle Otis  The problem is, you can’t decide on a philosophy that you don’t have any means of supporting. Saying “we want to be like the Bruins” is great, but it’s also very silly. We’d need 5 or 6 major additions and swaps to make that even start to look like a reality, and the coach in the meantime, no matter who he is, would be unable to deliver results. 

    Smartest thing Shanahan has done is not reveal his vision. I don’t really want him to ever reveal it – until it’s close to being realized, anyways. 

    Also, I don’t think we’d be better off with Carlyle being here the whole time. He chased all the size out of Anaheim to the point that Bob Murray said “we woke up one day and realized we were suddenly a small team”. Carlyle thinks he wants size and toughness, but because of his ridiculous system, he actually needs high speed and skill to be successful.

  • Great Dane

    Regarding Babcock:

    His style of play is much more suited for the Leafs and RC’s.

    We have a lot players that actually can handle and skate with the puck. Now we just need to fill up the bottom forward lines with some hockey players from the Marlies + Komorov. 

    Solve the center problem and get a top 2 d-man. Easy LOL

  • wendelsway1

    Mind Bomb Uncle Otis  I’m going with homemade burgers, chili cheese corn on the cob and assorted salads tonight.  :)

  • Cameron19

    Great Dane Burtonboy  I don’t think Carlyle’s been trying to get us to play a power game at all. I think that’s just RC’s reputation.

  • Burtonboy

    Cameron19 Great Dane Burtonboy  Frankly I have no idea what Carlyle is trying to do . Its a total mess

  • MaxwellHowe

    Maybe, but I find his phrasing a little vague.  I wouldn’t be trading JVR for the pick, his contract is awesome. 
    I still think the first overall pick is worth two first round picks, even if you know the two picks are between 10-14.

  • Great Dane

    Burtonboy Cameron19Great Dane BB you nailed that one