Good start to a tough week ahead


Photo: Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

Randy Carlyle is 1-0-0 as Leafs head coach following a 3-1 win at the Bell Centre last night. The Leafs had not limited the opposition to less than two goals in their eleven games prior to last night. After an early goal was conceded and it seemed like March was already a continuation of February’s struggles, the Leafs buckled down in impressive fashion, playing a more diligent defensive game and letting the opportunities come naturally at the other end.

According to the players, the focus in yesterday’s practice, the team’s first under Randy Carlyle, zeroed in on the defensive side of the puck. Said Luke Schenn:

“We were talking more about defence than we were offence, obviously we changed up the forecheck a little bit and some neutral zone stuff, but it was more about being on the right side of the puck defensively and that created chances for us tonight.”

Obviously, the last placed team in the Conference with a bottom ten offense wasn’t the stiffest of tests, especially compared to the string of highly ominous offensive opponents coming up this week. The Leafs will play Boston, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, the league’s three highest scoring teams, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday respectively. It’s a daunting test for Carlyle’s group as the new head coach, along with incoming defensive coach Dave Farrish, try to stabilize the Leafs‘ defensive game in short order.


Randy Carlyle Post Game Interview:



Carlyle’s Style – How it can help the Leafs
Cam Charron looks at zone starts and figures Carlyle will pay more attention to starting his better defensive players in the defensive zone (and vice versa) than Ron Wilson ever did.

Midseason coaching changes rare in Toronto, but could the impact this time be like the spring of ’59?
Let us hope.

Jay Rosehill has been placed on re-entry waivers
Carlyle is looking to make the Leafs lineup a little meaner. I’d expect Komisarek, who only played three games in February, to stay in the lineup for the time being as well.

Randy Carlyle starts remaking Maple Leafs’ damaged season in first game as coach
From Dave Feschuk.

The Randy Carlyle introductory press conference in case you missed it.
The video and summary from yesterday on MLHS.

Maple Leafs GM stands tall in defeat
From Bruce Arthur at the Post.

Don Cherry blasts Leafs’ GM Rrian Burke on Ron Wilson firing
The usual malarkey from Canada’s crazy grandpa is capped off by this rich quote: “we pay his salary from Ontario. The fans of Ontario.” Funny, I often feel ripped off in the same manner by the CBC and Don Cherry.

One bit that is actually notable from the rant is when Cherry accuses Burke of trying to get him fired behind his back.

Carlyle brings grueling practices, gruff style, savvy for reading team
An Anaheim Ducks reporter special to the Globe and Mail provides insights on Carlyle’s coaching style. Good read.