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Carlyle on Leafs’ future: “There’s obviously some work to be done”

Apr 7, 2012, 11:23 AM EDT

Randy Carlyle Leafs

Say this about Randy Carlyle — he’s a realist.

On the eve of the final game of the regular season — one in which Toronto looked like it was playoff bound, then crumbled, then fired Ron Wilson, then hired Carlyle — the Maple Leafs bench boss acknowledged his team is far from a finished product.

“I think that there’s obviously some work to be done from a coaching standpoint,” Carlyle told the National Post. “We’re trying to create a hockey club that can play somewhat of a different style than what they were previously. I don’t know if you can say the results were where we wanted them, but I think at times we’ve displayed that we have the ability to do that.

“I think there’s an adjustment period that’s taking place here that’s one where there’s an understanding of what’s expected.”

(I have no idea what that last quote meant either.)

Understandably, Carlyle is looking ahead to next season and the prospect of a full year of playing his preferred style of hockey. There’s just one catch — will he have to teach it all over again?

The Leafs face a number of personnel decisions this summer. Nikolai Kulemin, Matt Frattin, Joey Crabb, Cody Franson, Jonas Gustavsson and Ben Scrivens are all either restricted or unrestricted free agents and it became clear that, as Toronto plummeted out of the playoff picture, the current roster simply isn’t good enough.

GM Brian Burke will need to upgrade his core group while trying to retain some of his UFAs/RFAs, but that’s no easy task given the Leafs already have $57 million committed in salary next season.

As for Carlyle, he wasn’t ready to dismiss his current group of players…but he wasn’t exactly ready to endorse them, either.

“I think there are times where they have proven they can and there are times when they have proven they can’t,” he said. “For you to ask that question about personnel, I think it’s a little premature … to me, I don’t think you make statements about your team’s ability to make the playoffs in the summer, in the spring or in the fall.

  1. Buffalo Grumblings - Apr 7, 2012 at 11:27 AM

    Start by resurrecting Punch Imlach

  2. id4joey - Apr 7, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    Fire Burke….. What a disgrace.

  3. iinformeduthusly - Apr 7, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    Start by firing the 3rd worst GM in hockey (Howson and Lombardi) , and then the coach.

  4. babar61 - Apr 7, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    No way they fire Burke this year. I wonder how many more years he does get though. We can play the Toronto maple leafs playoff game though. Just full in the blank. “last time the leafs made the playoffs______________”

    It can be hockey related, world events, or pop culture. I’ll start:

    last time the leafs made the playoffs, Andrew raycroft was the Calder trophy winner.

  5. cowboyscanada - Apr 7, 2012 at 1:21 PM

    I hope they keep Burke around forever. One of the worst GM’s in all of sport. Hard to believe he is still as cocky as ever! Its laughable.

  6. quonce - Apr 7, 2012 at 1:32 PM

    The last time Toronto made the playoffs, the Maple Leafs didn’t have a selection in the Entry Draft until late in the THIRD round (90), and selected Justin Pogge.

    This may or may not be a bad move by them based on their draft record however

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