The Toronto Maple Leafs have announced that The Man With No Answers, Randy Carlyle, will return as the 2014-15 head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs. He'll have the opportunity to pick some new assistant coaches, because the organization thinks there are simple deck chairs to be re-arranged. Cronin and Gordon, by the way, were both hired under Wilson, which means the Leafs' bench could include even more Carlyle disciples next season.
At the press conference, if there is one, the Leafs will fail to provide any compelling reasons for his return, and won't mention how they plan to mitigate his terrible selection and usage of players, broken systems, and tendency to chase skilled players away from an organization.
Meanwhile for those of us stuck in the real world, the Leafs don't inherit Carlyle's cup win by keeping him on, and it's hard to find a single indicator that the team has been any better with Carlyle than without him. Unfortunately, no one pressed the Leafs decisionmakers to defend the decision - how many points would they expect this roster to have achieved without .
As I wrote in the season recap, it's hard to cheer for a dumb team. Leiweke promised accountability - a 'bold shakeup' in a culture too focused on the past - and has left us with empty, symbolic gestures. Shanahan was an unknown, and his first at bat is a huge swing-and-miss. There are rumors out there that Carlyle is a placeholder for another name - the Leafs were interested in McLellan, no wait it's Babcock, no wait it's... it's not important. Rolling the dice on any unknown, NHL-caliber coach could easily end up with an improvement over Carlyle, as I wrote back in 2013, the last offseason when it was obvious Carlyle needed to be fired. If Toronto has their eye on someone they expect will be available next year (like every hot-shot UFA they salivate over and miss out on), it's the perfect time to try and find a diamond in the rough. But no, let's lean on a man who has demonstrated little more than an ability to lean on hall of famers and hot goaltenders.
BREAKING: The Leafs will announce coaching situation later today. It's expected Randy Carlyle returns but I can't get that confirmed.— steve simmons (@simmonssteve) May 8, 2014
Dreger "it's going to take a significant level of disappointment for Carlyle to lose his job this summer"— Hope_Smoke (@Hope_Smoke) January 13, 2014
Sorry Leafs fans, I guess we just aren't disappointed enough yet. Here's to year six of not being interested in a five year rebuild.
Edit: It's worse than we thought.
Carlyle extended for two more years beyond next season. #leafs— Kevin McGran (@kevin_mcgran) May 8, 2014