The only coach to take the Toronto Maple Leafs to the playoffs in the last decade is Randy Carlyle. He returns to the Air Canada Centre tonight as coach of the Anaheim Ducks.
Naturally, Toronto media was interested in hearing from Carlyle in his first return to the building since being fired in January of 2015. Carlyle said all the right things: “It wasn’t a bad experience at all,” “It was a time of my life I enjoyed.”
Those are nice thoughts, but too many others have said otherwise about failed stints Leafs-land.
Flames President Brian Burke said when he was Toronto’s GM, it was tough playing other teams because so many players who grew up in Ontario wanted to beat the Maple Leafs. Former coach Ron Wilson, who never did get the Leafs to the playoffs in four seasons, once asked: “Doesn’t the media take a day off?” The answer is no. (Neither do the fans.)
Leafs fans now watch Brendan Shanahan, Lou Lamoriello and Mike Babcock, hoping for more wins, and fewer excuses.