Big day in Toronto.
First, to the surprise of few, the Maple Leafs announced that Peter Horachek has been named the club’s interim head coach following yesterday’s dismissal of Randy Carlyle. Horachek, who had previous head coaching experience in Florida, will run the bench along with Steve Spott and ex-NHLer Steve Staois, who’s headed down to ice level after serving in a player development role.
Horachek’s first order of business as bench boss? Shuffling the lines ahead of tonight’s game versus Washington.
Daniel Winnik was promoted to a more prominent offensive role alongside Nazem Kadri and Phil Kessel, leaving Kessel’s frequent running mates — James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak — to skate with Mike Santorelli.
Trevor Smith centered Leo Komarov and David Clarkson, while recently-recalled Sam Carrick centered the fourth line, which featured Richard Panik, Greg McKegg and Carter Ashton.
Today’s morning skate also had a few new onlookers:
Entire Leafs management group on hand for today’s skate. Not entirely unusual but not a common occurrence either.
— Jonas Siegel (@jonasTSN1050) January 7, 2015
In goal, Jonathan Bernier will start against the Caps tonight after James Reimer was torched for five goals in Saturday’s disappointing loss in Winnipeg.