You don’t make a coaching change this late in the season unless there’s something seriously wrong and you’re trying to fight for one last shot at the postseason. For Leafs GM Brian Burke, firing Ron Wilson and hiring Randy Carlyle all came about because the season spiraled out of control for the Leafs.
How badly though? Burke sums it up nicely during his press conference introducing Carlyle as the new coach.
“I’ve never had a team fall off a cliff like this before,” Burke said.
“This is akin to an 18-wheeler going off a cliff. I’ve never seen anything like this in my life, I don’t know what happened.”
With the Leafs having won just once in their last 11 games, it’ll be up to Carlyle to find a way to make sure that 18-wheeler finds a soft landing and helps Toronto perhaps make the playoffs. Does Randy Carlyle have a Superman outfit under the suit?
If he can’t turn things around, as Burke said during the presser, it’s about getting a head start on next season with Carlyle in place. It seems desperate now, but with the Eastern Conference being an abject mess with no one seemingly wanting to win, Toronto has as good of a shot as any other team. If they get hot, it can be done. Being five points out of eighth right now, however, doesn’t make things easy.