The above picture is a face swap, based on the theory that Gerry Dee will replace Randy Carlyle as head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs when all is said and done. I do not believe this will happen, because Gerry Dee is a comedian, not a professional hockey coach. Though I’d love to see Mr. C become a smash-hit show on CBC. Especially if Randy has to teach the kids how to operate appliances.
Anyway, here’s five options that aren’t Gerry, even if he thinks he can do it. Maybe not the best options (that’s your call), but five nonetheless.
This may cause a bit of anger across the other side of the Nation’s Network, but it’s not the craziest idea in the world. The Leafs were unhappy to lose him to the Edmonton Oilers to begin with, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he returned to the organization in some capacity. Quite a few players on this roster have played with Eakins in the past, and many of them excelled under him in the American Hockey League.
The Marlies have been set up throughout their history to play a style that compliments the parent club, which means that Eakins has had experience using some of these guys in the pre-Carlyle rush-based system, including a Calder Cup Finals run. On the flip side, the Edmonton Oilers weren’t exactly world beaters with him.
There aren’t many coaches in this league who have seen the Leafs play as often as MacLean, as he went head to head against them multiple times a year as the coach of the Ottawa Senators. Ottawa’s possession numbers were generally solid over his tenure, but there is a contingent of people who believe that his personality killed him in Ottawa.
If he doesn’t have the personality to deal with a relatively low-profile Senators roster, how is he going to fare with a higher profile roster? If he isn’t able to deal with the Ottawa Media, how is he going to survive more than fourteen seconds in Toronto?
I don’t know. His team’s results make me curious, but if he’s struggling to communicate as a coach, Toronto may not be the place for him.
Why? Because Toronto loves winners and lunch buckets, and Bylsma brings both. He encourages a “hard working” style of game (read: highly physical), and was good at getting elite play from his elite players in Pittsburgh. Many have wondered if that abundance of top-end talent was what was actually carrying the team, however, and Jim Rutherford was quick to put this to the test, immediately firing Disco Dan after becoming General Manager.
The most underrated benefit of this potential option? He’s probably intimidated by Brendan Shanahan and won’t try anything rebellious.
Babcock’s reputation speaks for itself. From riding the Jean-Sebastien Giguere train to the Stanley Cup Finals as a rookie coach in 2003/04, to his storied career-to-date with the Detroit Red Wings (nine straight playoff appearances, a cup ring, and a finals appearance), to his international experience (back to back Olympic Gold Medals), he’s considered by many to be the best in the business. He’s also been rumoured to be on the Leafs’ radar since the second he had a year remaining on his contract with Detroit.
The only negative to this? Finding a way to convince him to hop on board, and do so without getting destroyed by the National Hockey League with tampering penalties.
If the Leafs can weather the storm and even turn things around a bit, is there any issue with just dropping the interim name? If an Interim CEO could turn a computer company into the biggest brand in the world, I’m pretty sure an interim coach could do some damage.
It’s not like Horachek is completely unproven at the NHL level, either. He interim’d last year for the Florida Panthers, and while they ultimately looked elsewhere for their replacement, the team was remarkably competitive given the holes in their roster. If Toronto can close the shot gaps and hold onto their playoff spot come April, I’m not losing sleep if he stays.
Randy Carlyle in a Costume
I don’t think this is realistic, but I’d like to speculate on what his costume of choice would be. I’m going with a top hat and moustache.