Carlyle will be replaced by assistant coaches Steve Spott and Peter Horachek for Wednesday night’s game against the Washington Capitals, while the hunt for a more permanent replacement is on.
“We need to move forward and get back to where it was when we were winning those games,” said vice president and general manager Dave Nonis. “We felt we needed to make the change to get back to where we needed to be.”
Toronto currently finds themselves with a 21-16-3 record and in possession of the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, but their last 10 games have been disastrous. They’ve gone 3-7-0, including a 2-5-0 road trip that saw a critical 5-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets seal the deal on Saturday. By the time Monday night rolled around, the deed was done and Carlyle was notified of his release.
Carlyle was hired by the Maple Leafs in March of 2012 and has posted a 91-78-19 record with the club. In May, he received a two year contract extension but now he joins the ranks of Dallas Eakins, Peter DeBoer and Paul MacLean as coaches fired this season.
Given that list, there are some serious options for the Maple Leafs in terms of who’ll be on board next. But Carlyle was always going to be on the outs in Toronto. He was a good target for fans and media alike, taking hits on team possession statistics and his lack of defensive prowess. That latter point was especially biting considering how good he was at his job in Anaheim.
Of course, it couldn’t be the team. Carlyle made things perfectly clear in Winnipeg, after all.
“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,” he said on Saturday. “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.”
“Coaching ‘em up” didn’t work that well with the group in Toronto, but it’s a new day. The Maple Leafs will obviously be looking for someone to break the mould and start working forward. They, according to Nonis, haven’t given up on the season and statistically there’s no reason to. But there’s also no reason to anticipate anything other than the status quo with this organization.