Fire Randy Carlyle!
Trade Dion Phaneuf!
That was the impassioned plea of Leafs Nation after last night’s humiliating 9-2 loss to Nashville, a defeat that came just days after a humiliating 6-2 loss in Buffalo.
But GM Dave Nonis has other ideas.
“If there’s a deal there to be made that helps us, then we’ll do it. And if not, it’s up to this group to get their play back to where it was. It’s not like we’re asking them to do something they’ve never done before. We’re asking them to play like they played seven days ago. That shouldn’t be too much to ask.”
As for the criticism his coach is receiving?
“No one was here after the Boston game, when we were 6-1-1 (in our last eight games) asking about his job security,” said Nonis. “We haven’t done a good enough job the last two games, as a group. Coaches. Players. Management. We’ve got some things to work on, but we just need to get back to where we were a week ago.”
He added: “We talked about it in the beginning of the year. Consistency is probably the biggest issue that we’ve had. It’s not that we can’t raise our level of play, because we’ve seen the team do it. … Over that eight-game period, we played some pretty good hockey against some pretty good teams.”
Nonis is right that his team has looked good on occasion this season, that 6-1 victory over Boston last Wednesday in particular. But what NHL team hasn’t had the odd impressive night? It’s the Leafs’ overall body of work, and not just this season’s, that’s led to calls for change.
Still, Nonis was preaching patience.
“Last night was frustrating. It’s embarrassing as an organization to play that way at home,” he said. “It’s embarrassing to play that way on the road, but when you have people that have paid to come and watch and you play that way, it’s difficult to swallow.
“But you can’t lose sight of the fact that it’s one game. We have to move forward. You can’t dwell on it forever. We have to address the things we did last night, which, I think, there were numerous failings, and prepare for tomorrow.”
Toronto hosts Tampa Bay Thursday.