NHL Canadian Corner – May 9, 2014

Bruins square their series against the Canadiens, updates on the Canucks and Oilers, and the Maple Leafs extend coach Randy Carlyle’s contract. 

Matt Fraser (right) celebrates his overtime goal over the Canadiens.

Matt Fraser (right) celebrates his overtime goal over the Canadiens.

MONTREAL GAZETTE/BOSTON GLOBE: Call-up Matt Fraser’s goal early in overtime gave the Boston Bruins a 1-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens, squaring their series at two games apiece.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a true goaltenders duel between the Canadiens’ Carey Price (34 saves) and Boston’s Tuukka Rask (33 saves). The latter rose to the occasion and answered his critics with a solid performance. It was another blown opportunity for the Canadiens to seize control of the series. 

VANCOUVER SUN/VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa has been named captain of Team Canada at the World Championship, while the Canucks and Washington Capitals have interest in hiring Bruins assistant GM Jim Benning for their respective vacant general manager positions.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers signed prospect Bogdan Yakimov to a three-year entry-level deal.

And now, Maple Leafs fans, the moment you’ve been waiting for….

THE GLOBE AND MAIL/TORONTO SUN/TORONTO STAR/NATIONAL POST/CBC.CA: David Shoalts, James Mirtle, Steve Simmons, Rosie DiManno, Bruce Arthur, Michael Traikos and Elliotte Friedman all weighed in on yesterday’s announcement the Toronto Maple Leafs extended the contract of head coach Randy Carlyle for two more years whilst firing his assistant coaches.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll have my take in an upcoming Soapbox this weekend. Opinion is split among the Toronto punditry, though most questioned this move. Feel free to offer up your opinion, folks. It’s not just limited to Leafs fans. Was it a good or bad idea for the Leafs to retain Carlyle? And let’s keep the debate reasonable, free of silly name-calling and childish arguments. 


  1. No ranting and raving here, its a dumb move and hopefully by American Thanksgiving, Nonis and all the management staff are fired and Randy has his 2 year severance package. I knoww I wont be purchasing the Leafs television package or be spending the ridculious ammount of money or time I normally do to go to Toronto to watch this team. Not because I think its affecting their bottom line or anything so naive as that, Ill just use it to purchase a package to watch another team like the Hawks or Flyers that I enjoy watching. Ill always be a Leaf fan and probably watch them somehow with the new broadcasts (for free) but until Nonis and the boneheads are gone Im not supporting this club any further.

  2. Hmmm…by dumping the assistant coaches who are largely responsible for running the specialty teams, the brain trust have put Carlyle in a do or die situation here as MLSE can always fire Carlyle later down the road if this change proves to have no long team improvement in the teams performance.

    We don’t know what the players had to say one on one to either Shanny or Nonis but it was clearly evident that they had quit on whatever the “coaching staff” were saying to them during that collapse.

    Guess if history starts repeating itself next season, they can always can Carlyle but I also believe that in light of this, a few player personnel changes are definitely coming.

  3. I am a leafs fan, so let’s get that out of the way.

    Randy Carlyle is a better than competent coach. He is not the reason the TML players were not able to be professional enough to adhere to the system the coaching team was looking to establish. He is not the reason they lost. The media in Toronto know but like to quickly forget the bad coaches we’ve had, and look for blood, as ‘if it bleeds it leads’ still applies. The media need controversy to sell advertising.

    There isn’t enough talent on my favourite team to contend for the cup as of yet, but there is enough talent to scratch and claw into the playoffs and learn what it takes provided they act as professionals, and diligently follow the system. ANY system in this modern era would do – one of which Carlyle had tried to instill in the team.

    I do think this team was overvalued after a successful entry into the playoffs last year (i.e. a couple of character guys is what the team needs to get to the ‘next level’) so this off season will be an interesting one I expect.

    • When you preach accountability as an organization and you reward a guy like for failure (Hitchcock was only extended for 1 year snd he made the playoffs with a good team) whats thst say to the players about professionalism?
      When your leader is constantly “mind boggled” and admits he doesnt know how to fix things this is the guy you want in charge?
      Its his job to get the team to buy in…how that work out?
      Would you not say that an 82 game schedule is probably a better indication of how your team will perform for a coach than a 48 game?
      Randy won a cup, did Torts and Laviolette not win cups did you hear the ridiculious whos better argument for not firing them?
      It can go on and on keeping Carlyle in these circumstances is going to be a huge mistake.

      • As a guy who’s had to speak to the media I can say there’s a difference between what is relayed to reporters for public consumption (strategically so) and what is known behind closed doors.

        There are players on the team that either will not, or cannot conform or fit into the system they intended to utilize. Their minutes need to be diminished until they buy in. I’m not claiming Randy’s flawless, he’s not. I’m stating he’s not the reason the team on the ICE couldn’t get their heads out of their asses.

        • So if what you are saying is true wouldnt be an easier or more productive course of action to find a coach that has a system more suited to the players instead of being the only team in the nhl that plays 3 lines down the stretch, I m npt sure what talking to the media has anything to do with anything. Pro athelets hockey or other wise want to win, its a coaches job to get themto play a system. Randys system dosent work if you look at the Ducks they had 2 norris winning D playing D one of the best centers in the game elite goaltending numbers and a great scoring winger. They won a cup despite coaching not because of it.

          • Shticky while those hall of famers in ANA could inflate any coaches value, I don’t agree they ignored the system. They played it, they didn’t freewheel like our boys in blue and white do.

            I personally expect players to ‘ride the pine’ a great deal more this year if they don’t adhere to the system (in the same way Babcock handles players in Detroit. The system is more important than any one player).

          • I would have to partly agree w Joseph. It would be really dumb, but great for us, if the team’s spokesperson or what they say to the press is true…they obviously can not be frank and open about anything as it would be an advantage given to the other 29 teams. Everything anyone in the organization says has been filtered to be deemed ok for public consumption; hence the generic quotes we get. It part of the show now.

            But back to the team and keeping the coach and canning the assistants. The system. We have been told there is a system and by the players admission its a system many other teams also utilize. If that is true well then the on ice players failed to perform and/or the assistants failed to properly instruct the players how to effectly execute the system. The head coaches role really is the person who hands out ice time. And on that note, I don’t understand why this coach didn’t know why his team was ‘gassed’ at the end of the season and had no idea why they collapsed. Well someone should of told the man that can happen when the rest of the league is playing with four lines and the leafs rolled out only 3 for most of the season which remember was compressed due to the Olympics. That irresponsibility lies with the coach. If that wasn’t enough, he would over use certain players until they would no longer be an effective player like using Dion against the toughest competition with the most dzone starts in the whole league or leaning too much on the top line. The team is not void of very good players in fact they have many young very good pieces but this coach may not think so…and that is were I find exception with keeping this coach.

            I hope with the firing of the assistants, Randy is on a short leash and have absolutely no say in who stays and who goes. I don’t want to see them sign players like Bolland and Mcclement at the cost of losing Kadri or Gardnier. Or thinking we need a Boston like 4th line because we all know guys that play about 7-8 mins a game dictate the outcome, not the other players who play 2-3 times that. That’s a flawed BS mentality that makes good fodder for the masses… character, grid, passion…. Aka BS just like the Leafs, the team with the identity of being the butt of a joke, the laughing stocks of the league except in the checkbook.

  4. As a long suffering Leafs fan, it puzzles me how they can fire the assistant coaches and not the coach. Don’t the assistants just carry out the vision of the coach? You cannot teach a player how to score but you sure as hell ought be able to teach a team to get the puck out of your own end, especially if you are a former NHL defenseman. Either fire the coach and get someone who can work with the talent at hand , or keep the coach and get players to fit the coach’s system(if he even has one). “Wait till next year” is just getting too tired . Enough said

  5. Like virtually all Leaf fans, even the Carlyle supporters, I was shocked by this move. It just doesn’t follow the normal pattern of “a team fails down the stretch; so, you fire the Head Coach.”
    Now the question is – how do the players react? I’m sure they all expected Carlyle to be gone but he’s back – now what?
    Well, for starters, we can expect the Leafs to be active in the trade market. We can expect them to give prospects from the Marlies a real chance to play with the big club. We can expect the hiring of assistant coaches along the lines of Kirk Muller to make a positive change to special teams.
    Finally we can expect everyone from Dave Nonis down to be on a short leash next year. Training camp should be as competitive as the playoffs and I would think the Leafs will start strong or be blown up.

    • This move is part of a message to the players they will keep that it wasn’t all the coaching staffs fault but also some players and soon we will find out what their ‘data’ shows was the problem when they start moving players.

      Well on to year six on this, no time for a five year fix rebuild. This team, coach and management reminds me of the years the leafs employed Brophy. So sad. I kinda hope they have renewed Randy simply because the man they want us not available and he is a stop gap. I hope at least one of the assistants will have some head coaching experience or someone that can run with the team if Randy is let go at a moments notice. This team needs a good cerebral coach and I don’t believe Randy is that guy. The game has changed and I can only hope that this team changes with the times or risk losing the next generation of fans to other sports or teams.

      • Some thought has to be to guys like Renny Oates and Muller, all candidates that Id be OK with. Mullers connection to the team cant be overlooked I think.

  6. Randy Carlyle is a great coach with winning pedigree. FULL STOP.

    With that said, he probably isn’t the proper coach for THIS Toronto team. He employs a much more defensive style of game that these Leafs are not current capable of playing. But maybe that is the part that is being overlooked in all of this. Could Randy Carlyle have been kept because the ideas of Shanny & Nonis are that instead of finding a coach to fit the team, they need to provide more puck possession players to the coach? I might be reading too deeply into this, but perhaps there is just simply a change of philosophy regarding the type of player the Leafs want to acquire and they want to give Carlyle the chance with better suited players.

  7. So, in keeping with the precedents established with Grabovski and Reimer, what member of the 2014-15 Leafs will have his career essentially ruined by Carlyle next season? My money’s on Lupul, if they don’t trade him first, but I fear any trade involving the Leafs will see a young player with upside shipped out, and a grizzled veteran, renown for his leadership and character, joining the blue and white, because that’s how they’ve always tried to fix things.Yesterday’s answers to today’s problems! They talk about the ghosts of the Montreal Forum and how they can positively impact things in Les Habs favour, particularly come play-off time, well I believe the Leafs are haunted by ghosts of their past as well, but certainly not in a benevolent or acrimonious sense. These ghosts are taking great delight in Toronto’s continued failures. Those who don’t learn from history, are destined to repeat it, or as Pete Townsend and The Who so bluntly put it, “Meet the new boss… same as the old boss.”

    • Bravo!

  8. Harold Ballard once said that; ” Why should I put a bunch of Cadillacs on the ice, when I can sell out with a bunch of Volkswagen’s”….Now just when Harold(R.I.P.) said this is uncertain; but in his maniacal wisdom, no truer testament to Maple Leaf hockey mantra and dedication and devotion to a team that last won in 1967 has been said with such vision that remains intact today.

    Ted can wank all he wants about winning formula’s etc…Hiring Shanny, while not a publicly bad move, does not really change much around this team as firing the assistants because your head coach has not much clue does not sit all that well with me. Randy, is not necessarily a bad coach, but i”m not confident he’s the right coach with this current group of players.

    Carlyle got his Stanley Cup in Quackland…I get that…but he doesn’t have the Twin towers on his blueline here either. He doesn’t have a front line #1 centre either; nor does he have 4; top 4 paring dman either. He’s got one NHL caliber starter and one backup/future starter in Reimer who he personally ball cut so not too sure why they resigned a ball cutting coach on a team who clearly said “F**k U in the end.

    But as Harold once said ” Why should I put a bunch of Cadillacs on the ice, when I can sell out with a bunch of Volkswagen’s” so I’m prepared for another 82 games of Volkswagen’s..R U?