Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Toronto Maple Leafs fire head coach Randy Carlyle

The Toronto Maple Leafs have fired head coach Randy Carlyle. Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press
Torstar News Service
Randy Carlyle has been fired by the Maple Leafs.

No immediate replacement was named by GM David Nonis although the team said assistant coaches Peter Horachek and Steve Spott will handle coaching duties in the next game Wednesday night as the Leafs host the Washington Capitals.

The Leafs (21-16-3) are fourth in the Atlantic Division with 45 points, one point ahead of the Boston Bruins for the second Eastern Conference wild-card berth in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

“I want to thank Randy for all of his hard work and dedication,” Nonis said in a statement. “It’s never an easy decision to make when changing your leadership but our team was not trending in the right direction and we felt an immediate change was necessary.”

Hired by the Maple Leafs on March 2, 2012, Carlyle compiled a record of 91-78-19 record in 188 games. The 58-year-old holds a career NHL coaching record of 364-260-80 overall record in 704 games with the Anaheim Ducks and Toronto.

Carlyle was absent from the Leafs’ outdoor practice Monday, causing some to speculate he had been fired. However, the Leafs said Carlyle had a doctor’s appointment.

Carlyle’s future looked especially grim on Saturday when Leaf president Brendan Shanahan showed up in Winnipeg and the Leafs went on to lose 5-1.

As the Star’s Dave Feschuk reported this week, Carlyle make a point of levelling jabs at a couple of key tentacles of the operation after the loss.

“You don’t always have the luxury to say that you’d like this player or that player or this type of player. That’s not the way it works,” Carlyle said. “How it works is you have an organization that provides you with players, and our job, as we’ve said all along, is just to coach ’em up.”

Shanahan had been pacing the corridor outside the Leafs dressing room only moments before Carlyle said those words.

Carlyle took pains to share publicly how difficult the task of coaching this group continues to prove.

“We’ve been trying and preaching and begging, coddling, kicking — doing whatever you have to do to get more people back in the puck recovery zone,” he said.

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