Yesterday, midway through a season of inconsistent play, Maple Leaf’s coach Randy Carlyle was let go. Maple Leafs General Manager called it the toughest decision he’s ever made, but necessary.
It came as no shock to some Maple Leaf fans, though. This year, the Leafs are actually doing worse defensively than they did last season. Last season, the Leafs laid claim to one of the worst defensive efforts in NHL history. The number of shots they allowed rivaled that of Islanders in 1973-74, the Capitals in ’74-75, and the Sharks in ’92-93. And Carlyle has now paid the price.
“This isn’t throwing in the towel,” Nonis told CTV News. “We feel that this team has a chance to do some good things, and today was the first step in trying to push our team back in that direction.” [Source: CTV.com]
The question now is: What is the group capable of? As of right now, they probably will make it to the playoffs this year, even with a horrible start to the season. But their chance of winning the Stanley Cup is a whole different ball game. In fact, the Toronto Leafs has not won the Stanley Cup since 1967; that’s 47 seasons.
“I think we had a good team,” Kessel told the Canadian Press following Sportsnet’s Ball Hockey Challenge at Rexall Centre in Toronto, where he and other NHL players played ball hockey with tennis star Roger Federer. “We were there last year. We had a bad stretch. We don’t have that stretch, we’re right in it.” [Source: NHL.com]
Even with Carlyle being sacked, the team has bigger fish to fry. You can only sweep so much dirt under the rug before you have to flip it over to retrieve the mess. Carlyle is simply a scapegoat and hockey critics are certain that there will be more tough decisions being made before next season begins.
Today, the team is playing the Washington Capitals at the Air Canada Center. Let’s hope that under new leadership the team will be able to get its act together and give this city a reason to “break the Internet”!
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