Apr 7, 2012, 11:23 AM EDT
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.
- Report: Plotnikov paid $500K to get out of KHL contract 11
- Philadelphia signs ’15 first rounder Provorov 10
- Brandon Saad brings championship experience to Blue Jackets 22
- Sharks sign Joel Ward to three-year deal 24
- Sabres lock up O’Reilly through 2022-23 73
- Locked in: Columbus signs Saad to six-year, $36M deal 27
- Oilers sign McDavid to entry-level contract 29
- ‘Hawks would like to re-sign Oduya, but still working through ‘financial hurdles’ 17
- Trade: Caps acquire Oshie from Blues for Brouwer, Copley and draft pick 73
- Voynov takes plea, gets 90 days in jail plus probation 66
- Blockbuster: Kessel traded to the Penguins (131)
- Trade: Flyers send Rinaldo to Bruins for 2017 third-rounder (105)
- Trade: Jackets land Saad; Anisimov and Dano headed to Chicago (93)
- Bypassing a buyout? Kings terminate Richards’ contract for ‘material breach’ (90)
- Trade: Caps acquire Oshie from Blues for Brouwer, Copley and draft pick (73)