Steve Spott, Peter Horachek named Maple Leafs’ Assistant coaches

2495
Photo: Graig Abel

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced today that Steve Spott and Peter Horachek have been appointed as Randy Carlyle’s new Assistant Coaches.

It’s interesting that Dave Nonis has said since the announcement that he is looking to reduce the media scrutiny on Randy  Carlyle and anticipates the two new assistant coaches doing more interviewing throughout the year than Scott Gordon and Greg Cronin did during their time here.

Steve Spott is a well spoken individual. He speaks in full sentences, directly and with candor. He has the communication skills of a good teacher, which was his profession prior to hockey. There doesn’t seem to be any ulterior meaning to any of what he says; he’s direct and honest. He seemed to develop a rapport with the Marlies team in quick order.

Steve Spott will definitely make a case for playing time for some of the Marlies who helped him earn this promotion. It’s doubtful he comes in without a few ideas of his own or that he simply meshes into the background knowing his personality.

Same goes for Horachek, who is well known for his outspokenness and passion. He’ll be bringing a little head coaching experience to the bench along with a long history as an assistant coach in Nashville under Barry Trotz. Most importantly, he’s bringing an outside voice and perspective.

From Dirk Hoag of On The Forecheck, on Horacheck’s time in Nashville:

[quote_box_center]Peter Horachek did a little bit of everything, but during games I believe he usually coordinated the D pairings. Folks here love Horachek, he was very popular for being outspoken and passionate. His intermission interviews were required viewing…[/quote_box_center]

That was a successful defence in Nashville for many years under Trotz and Horachek.

There was an excellent breakdown in the Sun Sentinel about Horachek’s successes and failures in his brief interim role as head coach of the Panthers last season:

PROS

[quote_box_center]

  1. Throw out the first two games of his tenure when he wasn’t able to conduct a full-blown practice to incorporate his systematic changes. Then discount the 7-15-1 post-Olympic break mark when injuries, especially to rookie phenom Aleksander Barkov, and the trading of several veterans, had his lineup consisting of mostly 10 rookies and AHLers, then Horachek’s record would’ve been 19-19-3.
  2. Under Horachek, forward Scottie Upshall, who was buried in Dineen’s doghouse because of injuries and an apparent personality conflict, thrived with a career-best 37 points while evolving as a team leader. Horachek’s handling of castoff defenseman Tom Gilbert (25 assists) and oft-injured forward Jesse Winchester (career-high 9 goals) also paid off in resurgent seasons. Veteran forward Sean Bergenheim, who was out for more than a year with injuries, finished strong with 16 goals in 62 games.
  3. Under Horachek the Panthers were instantly more organized skating in and out of their zones, as evident by their respectable 17th-place standing in scoring when at an even-strength 5-on-5.
  4. Horachek had the uncanny ability to motivate players via benchings at the right time and then get the most out of them. A prime example is when he sat veteran winger Brad Boyes on Dec. 8 for not pursuing the puck hard enough. Boyes came back strong and revitalized a stagnant career by leading the Panthers with 21 goals. Horachek and Boyes were also the primary reasons for Florida’s franchise-best 8-6 shootout mark. Horachek could’ve lost veteran center Scott Gomez after scratching him in 35 games, yet by the end of the season, played him in 17 straight games and often on the top line, while praising his leadership.
  5. The Panthers never quit as evident by their double-digit comebacks from two-goal deficits to at least tie before winning or losing. The Panthers had 78 goals in the third period, tied for ninth-most in the league.
  6. Horachek, who was largely responsible for developing Predators’ draft picks from 2003 to 2012, put several Panthers rookies and young players in positions to succeed, specifically Barkov (24 points in 54 games), Jimmy Hayes (11 goals), Drew Shore, Nick Bjugstad (team-leading 38 points), Quinton Howden, Brandon Pirri (14 points in 21 games with Panthers) and to a lesser extent Vincent Trocheck.
  7. After a month on the job, the Panthers won 7-of-8 from Dec. 5-19, including two wins over the perennial playoff powerhouse Red Wings, and a 3-1 trip through Canada.

[/quote_box_center]

CONS

[quote_box_center]

  1. The special teams were awful under Dineen and not much better under Horachek as both the power play and penalty kill finished a league-worst 30th. The power play was a franchise-worst 10 percent efficiency, while the PK was at 76 percent, second lowest in team history. That said, once Horachek put the 6-foot-6 Hayes in front of the net on the power play, the Panthers had 10 PPGs in their last 24 games, compared to 17 PPGs in their first 58 games.
  2. The poor starts continued under Horachek as the Panthers were 29th in the league in fewest goals for in the first period (45) and tied for 30th in most goals allowed (84) in the opening period. The Panthers were a league-worst 6-28-4 when trailing after one, but on a positive note were 15-0-1 when leading after two.
  3. The Panthers’ defense didn’t improve under Horachek until they reacquired goalie Roberto Luongo. They were ranked 29th in goals against (3.2 per game), but only allowed 2.46 with Luongo in net.
  4. The offense was ranked 29th overall (2.29 per game), but again, Horachek was coaching mostly rookies and AHLer over the final 23 games.
  5. No matter what line Horachek placed reigning Calder Trophy winner Jonathan Huberdeau or veteran Tomas Fleischmann on, neither player could ever get untracked. Also, young defensemen Erik Gudbranson and Dmitry Kulikov were maddening inconsistent while veteran blue-liner Brian Campbell seemed to lose interest once the playoffs were out of reach.

[/quote_box_center]

Also worth knowing re: Horachek:

Florida Pathers 5v5 Fenwick Close
Credit: @Hope_Smoke / Extra Skater

By going from three main assistants down to two, it would seem to suggest Leafs management is trying to reduce the amount of white noise in the room. Some of the info that leaked following the conclusion of exit interviews suggested that there were some mixed messages and perhaps too much variety in the voices in the dressing room.

It’s not even clear to Horacheck and Spott themselves yet what their individual responsibilities will be in terms of special teams, defence pairs and the like, so we’ll wait to hear more on that front.

We’ll also wait to hear who steps into the Marlies head coaching role. Do recall that there were rumblings of DJ Smith, former St. John Maple Leaf and current head coach of the Oshawa Generals, interviewing for the Marlies head coach job a month or so ago.

Steve Spott on the Assistant Coach nod

Dave Nonis on hiring Steve Spott and Peter Horachek as Assistant Coaches

Peter Horachek Post Games (Playlist)

Peter Horachek Coaching Record

SeasonTeamLgeTypeGPWLTOTLPctResult
1987-88Saginaw HawksIHLAssistant
1988-89Flint SpiritsIHLAssistant
1990-91Nashville KnightsECHLHead642931040.484Out of Playoffs
1991-92St. Thomas WildcatsCoHLHead602429700.458Lost in Finals
1992-93St. Thomas WildcatsCoHLHead602727060.5Lost in Finals
1993-94Flint GeneralsCoHLHead643223900.57Lost in round 2
1994-95Flint GeneralsCoHLHead743434600.5Lost in round 1
1995-96Orlando Solar BearsIHLAssistant
1996-97Orlando Solar BearsIHLAssistant
1997-98Orlando Solar BearsIHLAssistant
1998-99Orlando Solar BearsIHLAssistant
1999-00Orlando Solar BearsIHLHead8247230120.646Lost in round 2
Jan-00Orlando Solar BearsIHLHead824728070.616Won Championship
Feb-01Trenton TitansECHLHead7246160100.708Lost in round 3
Mar-02Milwaukee AdmiralsAHLHead8032271470.531Lost in round 1
Apr-03Nashville PredatorsNHLAssistant
Jun-05Nashville PredatorsNHLAssistant
Jul-06Nashville PredatorsNHLAssistant
Aug-07Nashville PredatorsNHLAssistant
Sep-08Nashville PredatorsNHLAssistant
Oct-09Nashville PredatorsNHLAssistant
Nov-10Nashville PredatorsNHLAssistant
Dec-11Nashville PredatorsNHLAssociate
2012-13Nashville PredatorsNHLAssociate
2013-14Nashville PredatorsNHLAssociate
2013-14San Antonio RampageAHLHead763037090.454Out of Playoffs
2013-14Florida PanthersNHLHead*
Peter Horachek Coaching Record
  • oldrugbyguy

    Was going to write something Positive/Negative to this but Meh

  • Black_Hawk

    not bad, spott probably being molded for HC after RC

  • Black_Hawk

    who’s marlies HC now?

  • Great Dane

    I putting up 3 at 6 month on Spott becoming head coach

  • FRyan

    So what duties will Spott looking after and which ones will Horachek look after ? Great move by the leafs to promote with in

  • mr_hanie

    Only 2 assistant coaches ? I thought Leafs had 3 last year.

  • Yan28

    mr_hanie They said they’ll go with 2 a while back.

  • TheCanucksnaphook

    I am getting a Spott jersey.

  • MaxwellHowe

    Thats better.
    Going off topic already – I hope Tavares gets to one day make an “I’m coming home” announcement

  • wiski

    Nonis coming up on blue lunch

  • ProfessorRance

    Unreal hirings here. Love the Horachek hiring.

  • Mcost61

    Black_Hawk  RC is being molded for Marlies. (sarcasm)

  • skiingallday

    TheCanucksnaphook 

    Dear Phook,

    http://sports.nationalpost.com/2014/07/10/toronto-maple-leafs-prospect-camp-features-promising-swedish-contingent-and-not-by-happenstance/

    Enjoy,
    Skiing.

  • TheGroobster

    wiski Whats blue lunch? TSN 1050?

  • wiski

    TheGroobster wiski yep, it’s leaf lunch for the summer

  • mcloki

    Congrats to both men. I don’t envy them and the crucible they will be working under, but i do wish them the best of luck.

  • TheCanucksnaphook

    skiingallday TheCanucksnaphook fuckkkkk.

  • TheGroobster

    wiski TheGroobster Awesome thanks

  • skiingallday

    TheCanucksnaphook skiingallday JFJ even got a name drop in there.

  • Yan28

    mcloki People tell me Spott is got nerves of steel and when he talks people listen, he’ll never sugar coat nothing. Well respected out here in Ontario, heard it from a guy in Muskoka, his names rings bells all the way out there. They’ll manage.

  • Mcost61

    Gilbey93  Odd, a fan of the team. Most fans are fans of the man

  • mcloki

    jonasTSN1050
    Dave Nonis says it was important that both assistants had head coaching experience.
    https://twitter.com/jonastsn1050/status/487639935231746049
    Resounding support for Carlyle there.

  • mcloki

    Yan28 mcloki That’s good. But I think even the Pope would take a swing at Simmons and some of the other idiots in the Toronto media.

  • MaxwellHowe

    I bet it was Dave, i bet it was ……. #lastchance

  • Mcost61

    Gilbey93 Mcost61  Hearing Love is in Cav’s radar, possibly Wiggins in trade for him

  • Yan28

    mcloki Yan28 haha

  • leafmealone

    Well, I don’t like taking Spott away from the Marlies where I think he really had value bringing along the most valuable asset the Leafs currently have, their young in-house talent. Especially with the likelihood of so many more new faces showing up in the AHL this year. However, I will have to wait to see what the team does in replacing him before I see it as a complete mistake.

    I do really like the idea of bringing in Horachek though. As anyone who has worked under Barry Trotz for a number of years at least will know how to run a defensive system that is light years beyond what we watched last year. Especially as he was the D guy during his tenure there. Considering that the Leafs own a very young but very deep pool of talent coming along the D pipeline, I really like this hire as someone who can help them mature and maximize their NHL potential when making the transition.

    So, I guess, not ideal IMO, but it could have been far worse.

  • Yan28

    leafmealone At the end of the day it’s all about the Leafs and Spott will be that bridge between the Leafs and Marlies. He will actually give them more opportunity.

  • leafmealone

    mcloki Yan28 Depends on perspective. Every time I heard/read something from Simmons that was less than positive I would simply smile knowing that I was doing something right.

  • TheCanucksnaphook

    skiingallday For the record I dont hate Euros.

    I have been a huge fan of Granberg for a LONG time, as he plays the style I prefer.  I loved Salming.  Sundin was alright.

    I dont like the KHL bullshit with the Russians, and I truly believe North Americans covet the Stanley Cup more than anybody.

    If people dont like that…I really dont give a shit.

  • skiingallday

    I’m actually so stoke about the Scandinavian invasion.

  • Ze_theLeafsFan

    Sucks that Spott leaves the Marlies, but at the same time, he has familiarity with the Marlies players. So all good.

  • Black_Hawk

    TheCanucksnaphook skiingallday LOL Sundin was alright eh jus alright?

  • TheCanucksnaphook

    skiingallday It sure seems that way.  Borderline wood.

  • TheCanucksnaphook

    Black_Hawk TheCanucksnaphook skiingallday Yeah he wasnt my favorite player (I was more of a Gary Roberts guy)  but he was solid.

    More pissed that the organization saddled him with stiffs and never gave him a chance to win properly here in his last few years.

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ KingKadri

    Welcome back boys! Been finally getting enough time at work to start posting again!

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    Ze_theLeafsFan i think promoting Spott was smart….we should have a bunch of marlies make the jump this season and we all know that they will play hard for him. Spott is the players coach that hopefully gets the most out of the players this season

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ KingKadri

    AKA. Interested to see who coaches the marlies now

  • leafmealone

    Yan28 leafmealone I liked what Spott showed in one year of the AHL. But it was ONE YEAR. And he’s never coached at the NHL level ever. So I simply can’t get behind the Steve Spott will be our saviour when we fire RC bandwagon. It’ll be great if that works out. But I can’t understand anyone who’s wholeheartedly running under that assumption.

  • FRyan

    KingKadri
    Gotta think its someone will success in the OHL. Leafs have money to throw around.

  • TheCanucksnaphook

    KingKadri Whats that red headed guys name?  He is leading candidate?

  • TheGroobster

    mcloki Damnit did i miss the interview?

  • wendelsway1

    Hi ya Guys…..so we got our Asst. Coaches….best of luck to both of them.  Everything seems to happen when I’m out and about…….was gonna put off shopping ’til tomorrow…..think I’ll shop, later this afternoon….still a couple trades to come….no time like the present.  😉 lol

  • leafmealone

    Randy Carlyle. From winning a Stanley Cup as a Duck, to becoming the most obvious lame duck in the NHL.

  • FRyan

    Maybe Scott Walker of the Guelph Storm as the next Marlie Coach

  • Loric76

    https://twitter.com/mirtle https://twitter.com/mirtle/status/487646113655455744
    Quick thoughts: Leafs hire Spott, Horachek as assistant coaches http://t.co/TgszEwwC6n

  • mcloki

    TheCanucksnaphook KingKadri Ronald McDonald?

  • TheCanucksnaphook

    mcloki TheCanucksnaphook KingKadri Less hair….Derek King?

  • mcloki

    TheCanucksnaphook mcloki KingKadri Sorry Phook, 😉 couldn’t resist. It was lying there on a tee.

  • mcloki

    TheCanucksnaphook mcloki KingKadri And isn’t King up for Shanny’s old league job?