Randy Carlyle put his Toronto Maple Leafs through over an hour of high-tempo work on Sunday, March 4, his first practice at the helm of the team. There isn't much time for the veteran NHL coach, and former Leaf player, to settle in and start winning.
“That’s kind of the practice we’ve had for the hockey clubs we’ve coached in the past,” said Carlyle, referring to he and his assistant, Dave Farrish, who Burke hired along with Carlyle. “There’s things we need to work on, and really it was about an hour because of all the board time we had. We had some 75-second skates with a few minutes rest in between because we did it in two groups. But that’s what will be required here.”
Carlyle said a goal with the first workout under his direction was to get players feeling positive about where they were at and help them stop "squeezing their sticks." Accomplishing that was doubtless made easier with their 3-1 victory in Montreal on Saturday night, Carlyle's first behind the Leaf bench and first NHL game since being fired in Anaheim. Toronto had been on a 1-9-1 skid that saw them fall out of a playoff spot; that losing skid cost Ron Wilson his job.
Randy Carlyle: played for Maple Leafs
The former defenceman played the first 94 games of his NHL career in Toronto, finishing with 2 goals and 16 assists for 18 points before moving on to extensive, and successful runs as a Pittsburgh Penguin and as a member of the old Winnipeg Jets. He finished his NHL career with 148 goals, 499 assists and 647 points.
As a head coach in the NHL, prior to Toronto Carlyle had 245 wins, all with Anaheim