I blogged in February on The Five Big Problems of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Happily Team President Brendan Shanahan agreed on the most important point. By hiring Mike Babcock as the new head coach – $50 million for eight years – Leafs management sends a clear message to media, fans and players alike: this team must win now.
There are many next steps, the most important of which is to address player leadership, but the first step is the most important.
Said Babcock this morning: “I believe this is Canada’s team and it’s time to put it back on the map. I came here to be involved in a Cup process. I have a burning desire to win. I want to build a team that the fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs can be proud of.”
The Toronto Maple Leafs are one of the most talented teams in hockey, and yet, as CBS Sports wrote,”They are extremely streaky and volatile. You never know which team is going to show up and what exactly is going to happen.”These players know how to play. They know how to pass. They know how to score. They know how to defend. They just need a coach to move them in the same direction.Current head coach, Randy Carlyle, is the one to blame for this inconsistency. As he admitted himself after the team lost recently to Carolina, the team with the worst record in the league: ”I don’t think we were mentally ready to go out and play the type of game that was required. Simple as that.” (Whose job is that? Oh, right, the coach.)
And so as simple as that, Carlyle has to go. Sign Dallas Eakins for the rest of the year and see how that goes. If it doesn’t work out, get Babcock. Now is the time to win.
Looks like 2015 might be a good year after all: Leafs Fire Carlyle.