Well, folks, there we have it. Another bizarre chapter in Leafs history was penned today as it was officially announced Randy Carlyle is staying on a Leafs head coach despite all basic logic suggesting otherwise. And he’s not only staying, but receiving the vote of confidence and financial reward of a two-year contract extension for his
accomplishments presence behind the bench.
You can’t make this stuff up.
Taking the fall, at least among the non-player personnel, are the remaining holdovers from the Ron Wilson era, assistant coaches Scott Gordon and Greg Cronin, as well as Carlyle hire Dave Farrish. In their place there will be an assistant with some head coaching experience hired, if we were to guess, who will be ready to take over the team at a moment’s notice. While it’s telling in the symbolic sense, the extension itself doesn’t mean all that much given it’s likely Randy will be fired inside a month if next season starts poorly. What is gravely concerning is this:
- Carlyle will continue to have input on roster decisions this summer as Nonis continues to try to mould the team in his image (think about McClement, Bolland free agent situations).
- Carlyle, according to Nonis, will be involved in the hiring process of his new assistants, meaning the guy likely to replace Carlyle if the season starts badly is someone Carlyle helped pick.
Just like that, any promise we felt from Brendan Shanahan’s initial press conference, where he looked to be coming in with carte blanche to fix what ails this team, where he seemed to bring new ideas and some fresh perspective, has been zapped by this decision to stay the course behind the bench. And it was announced in a press conference that imbued considerably less optimism. Just like how Carlyle went under the hood during the Olympic Break to fix the defensive issues and came up with apparently nothing for a solution, Leafs brass has been meeting for the last couple of weeks and there was not a serious answer (not even in a general, not-getting-into-specifics sort of way) mustered by Nonis or Carlyle as to what happened, why it happened and how it’s going to change offered in today’s press conference.
Is this Tim Leiweke’s idea of culture change? There is a valid point to be made that letting the players off the hook entirely doesn’t beget a culture change, but how does hiring a guy to okay a decision to hold onto the head coach who was out of ideas (by his own admission), or having the GM justify an absurd contract renewal because of Carlyle’s Cup ring in Anaheim (Nonis mentioned it in the press conference) inspire such accountability? There was need for change on both fronts, of which Carlyle needed to be a part. It’s pretty clear to anyone reading between the lines that Leafs management is trying to hold the players accountable by refusing another fire and hire at the head coaching position, but talk about cutting off the nose to spite the face, metaphorically speaking. They’re sticking by the wrong guy.
Again, we’ll repeat: There’s talent here. There’s a good young core. There was a chance to course-correct what went wrong last season with the right coach and the right few personnel moves (which Anthony Petrielli has begun breaking down). Instead, Shanahan, Nonis and co. have doubled down on the man with no answers. The 3-line coach in a 4-line league (Carlyle was asked in the presser what happened down the stretch and he suggested the team was “just gassed”) with the remedial defensive system that sets embarrassing records for shots against to the point where even its great goaltending can’t keep the team out of the bottom five in goals against. The coach who hasn’t allowed the youth who show promise the minutes or opportunity to really make a difference. The coach that has been corrosive in this organization’s attempts to manage its assets properly.
Dave Nonis and Brendan Shanahan have decided that the image Carlyle describes for his team, an up-tempo team that can cycle, is what they want and they will continue iterating the personnel to make it happen. Anyone who has been watching hockey with a passing interest for past few seasons can identify this. It doesn’t make him a good coach if there isn’t an ability to properly deploy his lineup, to actually maximize what’s here, and to take steps toward achieving those end goals.
Were we naive for thinking it might have played out any differently?
Gotta respect Shanahan's approach. You can't assess all your resources in a few weeks. Shanny needs to see exactly what Nonis,Carlyle and the players can do for half a season at least. Besides the kind of GM, coach star players that would want to be with the the Leafs right now are not the kind of GM, coach or players we need. Six months from now we should know.
@Darkwatcher I predict that the team will have a decent start, but most of the problems will persist. This time, before the deadline Shanahan will step in and force Nonis to fire Carlyle (one of the assistants will take over as interim coach), and tell him to sell off assets at the deadline. So Bozak, Lupul and Gunnarsson will go at that point, plus anyone else of reasonable value on an expiring deal heading to UFA. After the season is over, Nonis will be let go, and Shanahan will bring in the GM/coach combo he wants. The new GM's first order of business will be making decisions on Kessel, Phaneuf and Kadri, and what to do with the assistant coaches.
In my best attempt to explain the anger at Carlyle coming back,
it's that with how embarrassing the team finished off the season,
and, let's be serious, with the way they have been playing for the past two years,
i simply resolved "well, it's good that they're playing like this, because now we can get fire Randy".
So, when news came in that Randy was back, it just made the whole past two years utterly -
especially the end of last season - a waste. Ultimately, we were a playoff team that didn't make the playoffs.
Now, i understand that RC can at least manage the roster better next year, with or without his system,
but it seems like we're just throwing a whole 'nother year away...
I honestly don't care who the coach is, what his system is, who the players are...
i just wanted to watch playoff hockey in Toronto. Now, i have serious doubts that we can
get to the dance again next year...
@wiski @Reversethecurse13 yea, the draft is supposed to be very good. But i think this team is too good to properly bottom out, even with Carlyle. Maybe if Kessel or Phaneuf were injured, it could happen.
My two-bit prediction:
1. Leafs start out well, and either sneak into the playoffs or just miss out.
2. They start the year off horribly, Carlyle gone by the all-star break, the team becomes rejuvenated and gets close to the playoffs.
I just do not see a scenario where we even come close to the bottom 5. Look at where our stars took this team this year in spite of the system...Next year we'll probably fix the bottom six and other issues (like Franson/Ph9 on the same PP)
oooooh.... yep that was real dammit.
@mike_84 Ahl or NHL ?
@mike_84 Carllyle's coaching - Marlies.
I don't think Shanahan should allow Carlyle and Nonis to dictate the trading of Kadri and Gardiner. It seems like we're almost certainly heading for a tear down after next season, and I would prefer the next GM be in charge of that. Unless there is a sure fire home run to be made, Nonis should have a short leash on our big assets.
@leafersutherland @loomx @Cameron19 In all honesty, Grabo isn't a BAD player, but realistically how much different is he than Kadri in his skillsets, disregarding that Grabo is more polished and has more NHL service time. It's not the mix we needed. We needed a #2 centre with more emphasis on two way skill than offense and puck distribution.
@leafersutherland @loomx @Cameron19 "Much less the best two way player ever to don a blue and white uniform" Where did I say this. I said he was our best two-way centre. You think Kadri and Bozak are better? Not even close. Grabovski was just as good defensively when he played an offensive role. lol you think it's one and not the either? When he was producing points, he forgot how to play defense? and vice versa?
OFF-SEASON GAME PLAN: TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
@Yan28 They have us drafting Kasperi Kapanen, Nick Ritchie, Nikolaj Ehlers.
@Bobsyouruncle Well, there's you lesson today on don't make assumptions
@wiski 1st pick (Seguin), 1st pick (Hamilton), 2nd pick (Knight)
@leafersutherland @[BBirde] @wiski I like Kessel but that stat is a little unfair. Seguin was on fire this year playing in a role that allowed him success. Hamilton is a defenseman so you can't expect him to put up crazy points. Personally that trade was fair in all aspects. I like what we got and Boston seems to be doing fine with what they got.
@leafersutherland @loomx @Jordan29 @[BBirde] @wiski And look how that paid off. By the team this team is going to be good(I mean good good, not 48 game good), having Seguin, Hamilton, and Saad(even without Saad) would be better than having just Kessel. I like Kessel, I want him on this team, but that doesn't mean we didn't get fleeced and that Burke completely misjudged where his team was at.
@Cameron19 True. I have zero faith that management would have drafted Saad. But if we're living under that assumption, then just trade all our picks because then we can turn around and say "well we probably wouldn't have drafted that guy". sighhh
@leafersutherland @Loric76 @loomx @Jordan29 @[BBirde] @wiski @Cameron19 How am I a revisionist. Every body and their uncle could see that the Leafs were going to be bad for a while until they got good. If the Leafs were going to finish in or just outside the playoffs, then it would've been a good trade. It didn't take much foresight to see that just was not the case.
@leafersutherland @loomx @Loric76 @Jordan29 @[BBirde] @wiski @Cameron19 lol everybody keeps bringing this up. You need both high drafting and smart trades to build a good team. Oilers haven't made smart trades. Leafs haven't done either. Chicago drafted high, drafted smart, and made good trades and signings. You need all three. Leafs failed to do step one when they were at their worst.
@leafersutherland @loomx @Loric76 @Jordan29 @[BBirde] @wiski @Cameron19 The Blackhawks were Maple Leaf bad though at one point. To the point where they almost folded. But the got smart, and built a good team. There's not reason to not expect that from the richest franchise in the league who can outspend anyone for coaching, drafting, and management.