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Randy Carlyle fired

Toronto Maple Leafs fire coach Randy Carlyle

The Toronto Maple Leafs have fired head coach Randy Carlyle. The move is probably not that surprising in general -- many thought Carlyle would not return after a late losing skid cost the team a playoff birth last season -- but the timing is at least somewhat curious. The team currently sports a 21-16-3 record, and would make the playoffs if the season ended today.

It's possible team President Brendan Shannahan and GM Dave Nonis had a target record in mind by this point in the season, though neither have (or will) disclose the specific reasons behind the firing. At a press conference earlier this morning, Nonis sang Carlyle's praises and defended his decision to bring him back at the start of the year, but underscored the need for change.

"It's never an easy decision to make when changing your leadership but our team was not trending in the right direction and we felt an immediate change was necessary," he explained as part of a brief statement about the matter.

A replacement coach has yet to be named, which might also be cause for some eyebrow raising. In the interim, assistant coaches Peter Horachek and Steve Spott will handle bench duties. Don't expect that to last very long, though. The team will want a leader in place as soon as possible.

What do you think? Was this the right time to let go of Carlyle?

Photo via the Toronto Maple Leafs


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