Toronto didn’t waste much time, firing Interim Coach Peter Horachek and General Manager Dave Nonis on the first day of the offseason. Sloppy and disinterested play soon became the hallmark of the Maple Leafs, as snipers like Kessel and Kadri slumped and the club slid into irrelevance. The front office purge is aggressive and wide-reaching:
The team also announced assistant coaches Steve Spott, Chris Dennis, and Rick St. Croix have been relieved of their duties while Steve Staios will stay on as Manager of Player Development.
Assistant GM Kyle Dubas and Director of Player Personnel Mark Hunter will share GM duties on an interim basis.
Horachek took over for the fired Randy Carlyle on January 6 and was at the helm of one of the worst second halves of the season in the league. He inherited a 21-16-3 record, good enough for a wildcard playoff spot at the time, and guided the team to a 9-28-5 record the rest of the way.
While Horachek was hardly the primary problem in Toronto, that 9-28-5 record is enough to sink almost any NHL coach, and good on the Leafs for firing more than just a handful of coaches. Many teams are unwilling to fire more than one or two members of their coaching staff at once — and for teams performing as poorly as the Leafs, there’s little reason to retain leadership that produces such awful results. Toronto fans seem to be largely supportive of the measure:
That's the right call by the Leafs. Good start to a very long offseason.
— Down Goes Brown (@DownGoesBrown) April 12, 2015
On the firing line over the next couple of days: Claude Julien, Todd McLellan, Ted Nolan, Craig Berube, Peter Horachek.
— Ken Campbell (@THNKenCampbell) April 12, 2015
i truly feel bad for peter horachek. he inherited a slop pile.
— brooklyn (@brooklynnw) April 12, 2015
I think it’s clear the Leafs are heading in the right direction, and Shannahan has trimmed some very necessary fat from the organization. The coaching staff simply was not effective, and the team was right to want to move quickly to stop the bleeding. This move must be followed by an equally swift rearrangement of the roster. Hockey operations has been shaken up, now the players who dragged this fanbase through that 9-28 record need to get the same message loud and clear: shape up or ship out.