The Toronto Maple Leafs retention of Randy Carlyle as head coach may have come as a surprise to many fans, but to a pair of Leafs players it wasn’t.
Forward Nazem Kadri and defenseman Morgan Rielly are playing for Team Canada at the 2014 World Championships in Minsk and both players anticipated Carlyle sticking around as Stephen Whyno of The Canadian Press shared.
“I wasn’t too sure how to react,” Rielly said. “I personally like Randy, I think he’s a great coach. I think we have a pretty good relationship. I didn’t really know what was going to happen with him either here or if he’s gone and then obviously all the other coaches. So you just have to keep an open mind about it.”
Kadri shared Rielly’s sentiments. With the seemingly contentious nature of his relationship with Carlyle, he put the blame of the Maple Leafs collapse this season on himself and his teammates saying, “I think the players got to be a little better and a little more prepared.”
Carlyle signed a two-year extension on Friday while his three assistant coaches were fired. Toronto ended the season going 2-12-0 falling from third-best in the Eastern Conference to out of the playoffs in 12th.