Tuesday morning David Nonis, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs announced that they had relieved head coach Randy Carlyle of his duties. At present assistant coaches Peter Horachek and Steve Spott will handle the coaching of the team while the Club seeks a new head coach. The team is scheduled to take on the Washington Capitals on Wednesday.
At the time of this decision the Maple Leafs sit in fourth place in the Atlantic Division with 45 points, just one point ahead of the Boston Bruins—another struggling team, in the second Eastern Conference wild-card spot for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Leafs have played 40 games (21-16-3) but have been struggling of late to maintain a lead in a game.
“I want to thank Randy for all of his hard work and dedication,” said Nonis. “It’s never an easy decision to make when changing your leadership but out team was not trending in the right direction and we felt an immediate change was necessary.”
This comes on the heels of discussion among NHL media that while the team was certainly having its issues, that they did not see any drastic action coming in the near future.
Carlyle was hired by the Maple Leafs on March 2, 2012. In his time behind the Leafs’ bench for 188 games he amassed a 91-78-19 record. However, the 58-year-old has coached 704 games to date between the Anaheim Ducks and the Toronto Maple Leafs and has a 364-260-80 overall record.
The Leafs have lost four of their last five games. In their win against the Boston Bruins they actually started up two goals and ended up going to a shootout. It will be interesting to see how the team performs against the Capitals, who sit in third place in the Metropolitan division just two points ahead of the Leafs. A win over the Washington Capitals could move them into the first spot of the Wild Card, provided the New York Rangers, who are playing the Ducks later on Wednesday evening, were to lose.