The Toronto Maple Leafs announced today that Steve Spott and Peter Horachek have been appointed as Randy Carlyle’s new Assistant Coaches.
Leafs announce today that Steve Spott and Peter Horachek have been named as assistant coaches. #TMLtalk
— Paul Hendrick (@HennyTweets) July 11, 2014
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:
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…
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The offense was ranked 29th overall (2.29 per game), but again, Horachek was coaching mostly rookies and AHLer over the final 23 games.
- 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.
Also worth knowing re: Horachek:
@mirtle Seems like they were a good shade above 50% before injuries to guys like Barkov pulled them down.
— Draglikepull (@draglikepull) July 11, 2014
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
|1990-91||Nashville Knights||ECHL||Head||64||29||31||0||4||0.484||Out of Playoffs|
|1991-92||St. Thomas Wildcats||CoHL||Head||60||24||29||7||0||0.458||Lost in Finals|
|1992-93||St. Thomas Wildcats||CoHL||Head||60||27||27||0||6||0.5||Lost in Finals|
|1993-94||Flint Generals||CoHL||Head||64||32||23||9||0||0.57||Lost in round 2|
|1994-95||Flint Generals||CoHL||Head||74||34||34||6||0||0.5||Lost in round 1|
|1995-96||Orlando Solar Bears||IHL||Assistant|
|1996-97||Orlando Solar Bears||IHL||Assistant|
|1997-98||Orlando Solar Bears||IHL||Assistant|
|1998-99||Orlando Solar Bears||IHL||Assistant|
|1999-00||Orlando Solar Bears||IHL||Head||82||47||23||0||12||0.646||Lost in round 2|
|Jan-00||Orlando Solar Bears||IHL||Head||82||47||28||0||7||0.616||Won Championship|
|Feb-01||Trenton Titans||ECHL||Head||72||46||16||0||10||0.708||Lost in round 3|
|Mar-02||Milwaukee Admirals||AHL||Head||80||32||27||14||7||0.531||Lost in round 1|
|2013-14||San Antonio Rampage||AHL||Head||76||30||37||0||9||0.454||Out of Playoffs|
Which Leafs are you most excited to watch this year?
Leafs: Rielly, Gardiner, Kadri, Kontiola
Marlies: Biggs, Finn, Brown, Nilsson, Sparks... fuck it, I could go all day naming them
Funny..in a info starved hockey city like T.O....where are the stories/dirt on Sir George?
Funny how the MSM falls into line with the true power brokers
@TheCanucksnaphook Great deal maker. If he dealt Gunner for Polk you'd probably see the pick coming from the Blues not the Leafs to get it done. Nonis needs to be a better negotiator.
@Bruffins I'd rather see Loov find success with the Marlies before moving to the Leafs. I feel your excitement with Loov but I'd rather play it a little safer
@Tim Horton Good to hear there is progress there. Would be nice if he had a huge season in the Q and carried that right into the AHL the next year with little to no transition period.
shows Nylander (white) and Connor Brown (blue)
Burkie really liked the World Cup.
Burkie!! Surprised he didn't bring up the diving though, that is what really bothers me about pro soccer
@DeclanK Totally disagree but got to love Burkie, always good for a laugh.
When you ditch a player and he ends up having to sign with the NY Islanders you know you made the right move...
@Yaknowwhat No, but neither has Gardiner so what's your point?
Pictures of our hockey equipment eh? Surely it cant get worse than this...come on Nonis....give us some news...
@TheCanucksnaphook i just bought this one but im worried i might still get stingers as its not overly tankish
@Cloud09 Of the three big stars who might be UFA in the next two - four years, Stamkos is probably the least likely to come here.
@Dewy Keon Hogturd @hometeem @Cameron19 @Cloud09 More than likely due to being in Florida, where he makes more money than god through no income tax and huge endorsement deals. And no crazy fans or media to hound him either.
On the flip side he could be like Lebron and have a huge emotional attachment to the Leafs and Toronto and wants to be the guy who is able to bring a cup to the Leafs.
@Dewy Keon Hogturd @hometeem @Cameron19 @Cloud09 He's in an ideal situation. The Bolts are primed to be one of the top 2 teams in the division. He's got a manager who loves him. The tax benefits and the ability to sign him for 8 years vs. 7 makes them easily able to offer the best contract.
By comparison, Tavares has been on a terrible team, probably one of the only groups in the league with worse management than us. Subban has had issues with management, and we've heard rumors that he would welcome being a Leaf - plus we know he's friends with Kessel and some other Leafs; and works for Snet in Toronto whenever he can (you know, the owners of the team). O'Reilly clearly can't wait to leave Colorado.
@Dewy Keon Hogturd @Cameron19 @hometeem @Cloud09 I just don't see him being interested in leaving a team that is heading in the right direction and being managed very well, with a very nice line of prospects coming up. Not when they can give him the best deal, and they're located in a city where he can wear his sandals to the rink and have zero pressure.
I mean, maybe if we looked like a real contender in two years, and Tampa starts to falter again, and they also get cheap, but I don't see that perfect storm developing.
@Bobsyouruncle @Cameron19 Really? Interesting. Thanks for the details. Still, I think the team issues and lifestyle issues are probably the more pressing issues anyways. On players who can make 100M on a contract, I doubt they're too concerned about taxing - but perhaps a minor issue. Probably gets considered a great deal more by players in the low-middle end of the scale - or that would be my guess.