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article imageOp-Ed: Unlike Canucks, Maple Leafs leave coach Carlyle twisting in wind

By Marcus Hondro     May 4, 2014 in Sports
The situation with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks are roughly analogous. Each had a disastrous 2013-14 NHL season and missed the postseason, for the Leafs it was more of the same, for the Canucks their first miss in six years.
And then there's the first off-season moves of the two. Vancouver went out and hired a former NHL star, Trevor Linden, to become their president, while the Toronto Maple Leafs hired a former NHL star, Brendan Shanahan, to become their president.
That Linden was a star mostly for the Canucks and Shanahan never played for the Leafs is a difference between the hires, though a bigger point is that the Leafs kept GM Dave Nonis, the Canucks let GM Mike Gillis go. An even bigger point? That may be that Linden, in one of his first duties as team president, fired coach John Tortorella and his assistant, Mike Sullivan. The Leafs? They've left coach Randy Carlyle twisting in the wind.
Randy Carlyle: does he stay or does he go?
Reports have it that he's neither been given an endorsement from his new boss, nor has he been told if he's going to go. Maple Leafs Sport Entertainment president, Tim Leiweke, was asked about Carlyle on the FAN 590 sports radio station Wednesday and he, well, didn't exactly clear things up for the coach or the Leafs Nation.
“It gives me a lot of comfort that we’re going to make the right decisions in a lot of different areas soon,” Leiweke told the FAN 590. “So you will see decisions on our part in the near future based on the work he’s done (that Shanahan's done) and the intelligence and the information that he is now digesting.”
It is not likely they're waiting to see what other coaches are out there, or simply waiting for the playoffs to end — it's customary to fire coaches during round one of the postseason. The wait is all the more puzzling given that, unlike Linden and the Canucks, the Leafs still have their GM in place, so he's there to make the decision. Linden fired Tortorella (with $8 million remaining on his contract) despite not having a GM to approve of the move.
Michael Traikos speculates on Maple Leafs
National Post writer Michael Traikos suggested (among other possibilities) that the reason for not jettisoning Carlyle yet might just be out of respect for the NBA Raptors (eliminated today) and not wanting to steal their thunder. If that is the case then the hammer should fall tomorrow.
However all due respect to Traikos, a great writer and a strong NHL source, that seems unlikely. There was time between games to make such an announcement, indeed there were three two-day breaks and an announcement on day one of a two-day break would not have been considered a foul. If it were coming, would it not have come by now?
On the other hand, were he being retained, wouldn't Shanahan and GM Nonis have given him a ringing endorsement by now? Point out that, with the exception of a season-ending swoon, Carlyle had the team playing its best hockey in a decade and deserved to build on his 70-62-16 record behind the Leafs bench? The coach has, after all, really only had two seasons and he did make the playoffs in one, an accomplishment Ron Wilson never managed in four seasons in T.O.
So does he stay or does he go? Should he stay or should he go? Either way, you have to be scratching your head wondering why the minds of Brendan Shanahan and Dave Nonis haven't been made up yet.
Expect a decision by the end of the coming week.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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