The Toronto Maple Leafs announced Tuesday morning that they had fired head coach Randy Carlyle. Assistant Coaches Peter Horachek and Steve Spott will take over coaching duties until the club can find a replacement head coach.
Carlyle’s firing does not really come to much of a surprise, the Leafs’ are currently seventeenth in the league with a record of 21-16-3. Over his career with the Leafs 91-78-19 in 188 games, which is not a record a team needs to win the Stanley Cup. In actuality Carlyle’s firing has been in the works since last season when the Leafs failed to make the playoffs due to their lackluster play the entire season.
So now the question becomes who will the Leafs’ bring in as head coach? There are rumors that the organization might be waiting to see if Mike Babcock, the Detroit Red Wings head coach, would be available after this season. But should the Leafs wait that long?
Dan Bylsma, the former Pittsburgh Penguins head coach, could be a valid option to take over. Yes his last couple of seasons in Pittsburgh didn’t result in his club winning the Stanley Cup, but he was able to take the team to a deep run into the playoffs last year. He was also able to keep the team winning when they were constantly plagued by injuries with Sidney Crosby’s concussion, Evgeni Malkin’s season ending knee injury, etc. What’s important is that he was hired midway through the 2008-09 season and was able to take the Penguins to the Stanley Cup final where they won. His record with the Penguins makes him an excellent option for head coach.
So while there is no doubt that the assistant coaches should have no problems coaching the team, the team can’t go that long without a head coach. We’ll see who the Leafs will bring it to coach the team and in the meantime let’s hope this sparks a fire under the boys to snap their two game losing streak.