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article imageCarnage in Toronto as Maple Leafs fire GM, coaches, scouts

By Marcus Hondro     Apr 13, 2015 in Sports
When president of the Toronto Maple Leafs Brendan Shanahan got through with his exit interviews Sunday there really weren't many employees left to fire. Suffice to say the Zamboni driver was probably holding his breath.
Shanahan was definitely in the mood for moving forward a day after his team ended a woeful season with a 4-3 home-ice shootout loss to the Montreal Canadiens. The Leafs finished 2014-15 at 30-44-8 with a goal differential of minus 51. They were 26th overall, 30 points out of making the Stanley Cup playoffs, which they will miss for the ninth time in 10 seasons.
It is Shanny's team now as he fired GM Dave Nonis and interim coach Peter Horachek, along with assistant coaches Steve Spott, Chris Dennis (video coach) and Rick St. Croix (goalie coach). Also gone are the team's head of pro scouting Steve Kasper and the director of player development Jim Hughes. Other scouts were also let go but coach Steve Staios, Asst. GM Kyle Dubas and director of player personnel Mark Hunter all survived.
Along with the Zamboni driver.
The Leafs are in a position similar to that of the Vancouver Canucks a year ago, with the difference that Shanahan has most of a year on the job as president. Last year Vancouver fired president and GM Mike Gillis right after the season ended with the Canucks out of the playoffs.
They hired former great Trevor Linden as president and he fired coach John Tortorella and hired Jim Benning as his GM. Benning hired Willy Desjardins as coach and the club had a strong season, finishing second in their division and getting home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs.
A major difference with the Leafs is that the team not only showed they are incapable of winning, they showed they do not have much in the way of moxy, either. And unlike the Canucks, who had character players the likes of Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Kevin Bieska. Chris Tanev, Alex Edler and Alex Burrows, the Leafs have a roster full of underachieving veterans who were overpaid when signed, either by Nonis or former GM Brian Burke.
Shanahan will need a new GM within two months, if not sooner, and they will have to pull a hockey puck out of a hat to figure out a way to get something in return for Phil Kessel, Dion Phaneuf and Joffrey Lupul, to name three.
Kessel (six years left on a $64 million contract with a massive cap hit) and Phaneuf (he began a 7 year, $49 million extension this season) would seem to be, given their performance, untradable. Yet given the gong show those players presided over this season, keeping them seems to be out of the question.
Shanahan can outright rebuild or do as the Canucks successfully did and re-tool. Either way, he's got a good deal of moving forward to do before next season gets underway and he started doing just that today.
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