Tag: front office changes

Randy Carlyle, Toronto Maple Leafs

Maple Leafs fire Randy Carlyle


The Randy Carlyle era is suddenly – some might argue, mercifully – over in Toronto, as the Maple Leafs announced his firing on Tuesday morning.

The team’s exact phrase is “head coach Randy Carlyle has been relieved of his duties.” While that’s soaking with corporate speak, it almost feels right in this case, as coaching in the pressure cooker that is Toronto must generate a massive helping of stress.

The Leafs noted that assistant coaches Peter Horachek and Steve Spott will guide the ship for Wednesday’s game against the Washington Capitals, but didn’t announce plans beyond that contest.

“I want to thank Randy for all of his hard work and dedication,” GM Dave Nonis said. “It’s never an easy decision to make when changing your leadership but our team was not trending in the right direction and we felt an immediate change was necessary.”

The Maple Leafs generated a 91-78-19 record during parts of four seasons with Carlyle at the helm. He helped Toronto break a six-season playoff drought, although the 2013 postseason run memorably ended in a disastrous fashion against the Boston Bruins.

Toronto is currently on a two-game losing streak and has dropped seven of nine games. Saturday’s 5-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets seemed like a microcosm of critics’ biggest beefs with Carlyle: the Jets generated a 40-21 shot edge and prompted a fan to chuck a Leafs jersey on the ice (in Winnipeg).

This stretch seemed like the last straw, although one cannot help but wonder if the writing was on the wall once exec Brendan Shanahan began transitioning the franchise toward a more stats-leaning path. Even a contract extension did little to stop calls for Carlyle’s head, and as we’ve now found out, such speculation was justified.

One interesting thought on the timing of this firing:

Naturally, the replacement rumors will only rev up now that the inevitable happened …

An abbreviated look at the unraveling of the Carlyle era

Nonis puts onus on players back in November

Why he was failing at his job

Cody Franson said players weren’t trying to get him fired

Leafs hand Carlyle a contract extension

A lot of jerseys were lost in the making of this firing

Is it time to blow up the San Jose Sharks?


CSNBayArea.com’s Kevin Kurz caught up with Joe Thornton after the San Jose Sharks’ early first round exit (via a 3-1 loss in Game 5) and Jumbo Joe’s sentiment was simple: “[The St. Louis Blues] played great, but it’s a terrible feeling.” Thornton was talking about the five-game series in particular, but it’s tough not to wonder if that terrible feeling might be rooted in that sensation you get when an era is about to come to an end.

(In other words, maybe it’s the hockey answer to “We need to talk …”)

Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock was effusive with his praise of the Sharks, claiming that they made a five-game series feel like “a nine-game series.” Thornton’s effort was pretty evident during the series, but one might not say the same for other stars like Joe Pavelski and Patrick Marleau, who failed to register a single point in the five-game set.

Front office outlook

There’s likely to be the usual round of finger-pointing in San Jose, yet this year might feel different to some. GM Doug Wilson seemed to go all-in by trading for Brent Burns and Martin Havlat, but his trade deadline moves were mediocre at best. (Just watch a Sharks fan cringe when you utter the name “Jamie McGinn.”) Todd McLellan came into town with Red Wings clout and then coached in two series victories against his old employers, but now he’s out of the playoffs in five games just like his old team.

Team structure

If you look at the structure of the Sharks team at CapGeek, you get the feeling that everything is built to last until 2013-14 or so. Thornton, Marleau, Pavelski, Logan Couture and Dan Boyle’s deals run out after 2013-14. Meanwhile, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Doug Murray, Jason Demers and Ryane Clowe will need new contracts after 2012-13 while Antti Niemi and Burns are wrapped up a little longer.


What does that all mean? Breaking up the Sharks would have to come in a series of conscious decisions. Front office people would need to be fired and players would need to be traded or bought out. If that happens, it sounds like it certainly wouldn’t be easy.

Then doesn’t necessarily mean such a decision would be wrong, either, though. What do you think? Should the Sharks make major changes or small tweaks? What exactly should that entail? Fill us in via your witty and revealing comments.

It’s official: Terry Pegula is the new owner of the Buffalo Sabres

Terry Pegula

If you’ve been following along with us, this shouldn’t come as a surprise, but the NHL announced that its Board of Governors unanimously approved the sale of the Buffalo Sabres to Terry Pegula today.

To refresh your memory, the total cost of the sale is said to be approximately $189 million. While you can never be certain how an owner will conduct his hockey business – especially in such an unstable economic climate – all indications point to Pegula being an “upgrade” as the Sabres’ owner.

It appears as if he boasts two qualities that can be very helpful in a great owner: he’s really rich (reportedly a billionaire) and is a genuine fan of hockey. That combination could be especially useful during the trade deadline, although the team might not be in a position to “buy” since they’re locked in a ninth-place tie in the East right now.

So in the worst case scenario, Pegula might not have a chance to showcase a new Sabres era until the free agent frenzy in the summer. Here is what Gary Bettman said about Buffalo’s behind the scenes shuffle.

“We are pleased to welcome Terry to the National Hockey League,” Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “Terry’s clear commitment to the Sabres and the NHL signal the start of an exciting new chapter in the history of the franchise. We also thank Tom Golisano and Larry Quinn for their devotion to the Sabres, the fans and the city of Buffalo.”

(Photo of Terry Pegula via The Associated Press.)