bleacher report maple leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs fired head coach Randy Carlyle on Tuesday.Many NHL coaches are fired too early, because its an easy thing to do in a salary cap world where making a midseason trade requires Herculean effort. That isnt the case for the Maple Leafs, who managed the twin feats of not only giving Carlyle plenty of rope but also of firing him while the teams 2014-15 season was still salvageable.This isnt a move that comes out of the clear blue sky, either. The Leafs have been in a terrible funk lately, losing seven of their last nine games. On Saturday the club fell 5-1 to the Winnipeg Jets; the team was crushed 40-21 on the shot clock and outplayed throughout the contest. Teams on those kinds of runs tend to make moves, particularly if they have legitimate playoff aspirations.Given Carlyles checkered history with the team, he likely would have been in the crosshairs of management anyway, but he probably didnt help his case by taking thinly-veiled shots at the men above him in the organization following that loss. Via the Toronto Stars Dave Feschuk:You dont always have the luxury to say that youd like this player or that player or this type of player. Thats not the way it works. How it works is you have an organization that provides you with players, and our job, as weve said all along, is just to coach em up.Its a pretty incredible comment from a coach in Carlyles position, and must have made the decision to fire him even easier. Its one thing for the team to struggle on the ice in the short-term, and its worse if those struggles follow a track record of indifferent performance stretching back several years. But when a coach starts emphasizing the gap between himself and the management group above himparticularly when that same management group has seen massive turnover since his hiringhes all but asking to be dismissed.It’s especially damning given how hard the organization worked to make the coach happy. After the organization re-signed Tyler Bozak and added David Clarkson, theNational Postwent so far as to say it seemed like the head coach was pulling the strings on player movement.”[General manager Dave Nonis’s] job has been to get Carlyle players who can play the type of hockey the coach advocates,” wrote Michael Traikos two summers ago. “Players who are gritty, rougher around the edges and, to steal a word from Brian Burke, truculent. This summer, the GM has done just that.” Carlyle probably should have been fired in the summer of 2014, following an ugly season in which the Leafs collapsed down the stretch after living on unsustainable percentages in the early going. Instead, Torontos management settled for a compromise; they fired Carlyles assistants and gave him a two-year extension. In the world of NHL coaches, that two-year extension was a warning in and of itself; the team wasnt giving him a one-year kiss of death but wasnt committing itself long-term, either. Never a good possession team under Carlyle, the Leafs had flat-lined of late. Over that nine-game run Toronto had generated just 320 shot attempts at even-strength as opposed to the oppositions 457, meaning that only 41.2 percent of the Corsi events in an average game were positive ones. Only the Buffalo Sabres have posted a worse Corsi number this season.Carlyle was given a second chance to get the Leafs moving in the right direction in 2014-15; not only could he not get the job done but he started pointing fingers at the men who had given him that opportunity.He deserved dismissal. Statistics courtesy ofNHL.comand war-on-ice.com.Jonathan Willis covers theNHLfor Bleacher Report.Follow him on Twitterfor more of his work.
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