Fantasy Impact: The Maple Leafs have (finally) fired head coach Ron Wilson, replacing him with former Anaheim Ducks bench boss Randy Carlyle.
Wilson’s style: Tie and shirt combinations that belong in the courtroom of a John Grisham novel. Oh, you mean coaching style? Wilson is a run-and-gun coach. The Toronto PK has been atrocious since he took over a few years ago – the personnel hasn’t been top notch, but at some point coaching has to be called into question. He failed to establish any sort of structure or work ethic with Toronto’s skill players, and it often led to the Leafs having to outscore their problems – something they could only do for so long.
Carlyle’s style: Carlyle won a cup with Burke and the Ducks back in 2007. He and Joffrey Lupul have butted heads in the past, and it will be an interesting situation to watch. From that article:
"In my conversation with Randy, he said he didn't think I had the skill to play left wing in this league being on my off side," Lupul said. "So he wasn't going to give me that opportunity here. And I'm not going to knock Corey Perry or Teemu Selanne off their right wing spot.
"So pretty much after that conversation, I realized that I probably wasn't in their plans here."
He’s a no-nonsense coach who demands hard work above all else. Much like Alain Vigneault, he leaves the dressing room to the players.
“Goaltender J.S. Giguere, the former Leaf, who was still with the Ducks at the time, had this to say about Carlyle: "There are all kinds of different coaches. Some coaches like to control the room as well as everything else, but Randy sort of just stays away from the room and just leaves it to the players. And it's kind of nice, because that's the one thing we can control. For the most part, we're pretty much being told what to do, whether it's on the ice or at the hotel or stuff like that.”
The impact on key players:
I’m not sure if it too late to save the season for the Leafs. Carlyle will have the team working harder and he will at least attempt to implement a more regimented, structured game. This could hurt the numbers from Lupul, Kessel, and the offensive stars, at least as they try to learn the new system. I don’t expect major philosophical changes until the summer though – there is only so much you can teach in a few weeks.
I think this could benefit Jake Gardiner and Carl Gunnarsson for the long term – more structure, which should help them improve defensively (which often leads to more ice time and more offensive opportunities). The same goes for Phaneuf – he is at his best when balancing smart, responsible plays with some aggression and instinctual offensive plays.
The Toronto media are the real losers here. Ron Wilson was full of “interesting” post game quotes in his press conferences and scrums. Randy Carlyle is a man of few words. And don’t even think of asking him about his goaltenders….