A Carolina Hurricanes blog with occasional news about the rest of the NHL.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Chairman Mo given the axe

On Wednesday, the Maple Leafs announced that they have fired head coach Paul "Chairman Mo" Maurice. They have also relieved his long-time assistant Randy Ladouceur. Maruice had one year remaining on his contract, but had coached the Leafs to two consecutive losing seasons and the last two of three straight playoff-less seasons in Toronto. This lack of success is unacceptable in Toronto, and I'm pretty surprised that he lasted this long. Frankly, I'm surprised that they hired him in the first place.

Maurice was the head coach of the Whaler/Canes team between 1995 and 2003. When he was fired in December of 2003, he was the longest tenured coach in the NHL, and one of the youngest. Randy Ladouceur had been with him every step of the way.

Maurice had his job on the line in 2002, but the boys put together a miracle run to the Stanley Cup Finals, saving the Sault Ste Marie native's job. The following year, the Canes were the worst team in hockey and the natives were restless. They stumbled out of the gates again in 2003-04, and Maurice was quickly fired after starting the season 8-12-8-2.

He didn't coach at all during the lockout, then lucked into a head coaching job with the Toronto Marlies for the 2005-06 season. He parlayed that into a job with the Leafs, but it didn't go well.

Maurice is remembered around here for the bag skate he put the boys through at the tail end of "the season from hell" (2002-03). The tactic had worked the previous season, but that time, it didn't. There was a bit of a rebellion, a mutiny headed up by Jeff O'Neill. The two got in a highly publicized shouting match, and neither the player or the coach were the same afterwards. Most importantly, the coach had lost his control of the room.

Interim general manager Cliff Fletcher has stated that the point of firing Maurice and Ladouceur is that it will give an incoming GM the freedom to put his own coaches into place.

There are a few people around here who think that Jim Rutherford is in line for that GM position and that it would make sense for associate head coach Kevin McCarthy to go with. I'm not buying that, and I certainly won't be selling it.

Dave Nonis needs a job. Loads of other people are qualified and available for the
GM position in Toronto. I don't have any clue who will be Maurice's successor.

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