Today the Toronto Marlies played a School Day game which started at 11:00AM vs. the Syracuse Crunch. It started off normally, but, those of us in the press box quickly noticed someone was missing from both the official score-sheets, and the Marlies’ bench.
It was determined what happened not long after: the Maple Leafs organization had severed ties with Gord Dineen, previous head coach, and current, until today, assistant coach of the Toronto Marlies.
The Maple Leafs’ Assistant General Manager Kyle Dubas was at the game, and he made himself available to media who attended the post-game press scrum to ask about this development. Here is transcription of his remarks.
KYLE DUBAS: Earlier today, or yesterday, the decision was made for the organization and Gord Dineen to part ways. It was an organizational decision from top-down, and we’ll move ahead with the staff as is. We thank Gord [for his] great professionalism and character throughout his time with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
TODD CROCKER: Was it tough to make this call mid-way through the season, especially when the team is doing so well?
DUBAS: I think that convention says you always do these things when things aren’t going well and it’s probably easier to those things when things aren’t. We just thought, organisationally, this was the right time for everybody. That’s what the decision was, to move ahead with, and to give Gord some time to get everything moved ahead for himself, which, we felt in the end was the best thing to do.
CROCKER: On bench replacements, or, no?
DUBAS: Not at this time. It doesn’t appear that way. We’ll go the rest of the [season] with [A.J. MacLean and Sheldon Keefe].
CROCKER: Any thought [about] coaching the defence, or will that be both A.J. and Sheldon?
DUBAS: Yes. What will happen is A.J. will change the [defence], Sheldon will run the penalty kill. We’re very fortunate here in Toronto to have some great resources with our player development staff. We’ve got Scott Pellerin who was a big part of the Los Angeles Kings, developing their defensive use of Manchester [Monarchs], and you look at L.A. now and a lot of those guys came from Scott. We’ll rotate between him and Stephane Robidas in practice and in support as basically your eye in the sky during games.
REPORTER: Who will be involved in the decision making process for a new hire?
DUBAS: That will be myself, and with Sheldon. We won’t worry about that until after the [end of] the season.