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Fired Leafs assistant coach blames complacency of players

May 13, 2014, 2:31 PM EST

Maple Leafs Panthers Hockey AP

Unlike head coach Randy Carlyle, Scott Gordon didn’t survive the disastrous collapse of the 2013-14 Toronto Maple Leafs.

His job didn’t survive it, we mean. Gordon’s still breathing. But he — along with Carlyle’s two other assistants, Dave Farrish and Greg Cronin — were relieved of their duties.

In a lengthy interview with the Globe and Mail, Gordon spoke about the trouble Toronto’s coaching staff had convincing the Leafs to play the way they were being taught, and also to avoid complacency.

“It’s not that our guys weren’t capable of it,” he said. “They showed it last year, and the majority of them were here. … As coaches we tried to address it and get the players to understand what we saw, but at the end of the day, they’ve got to go out and play. And it just didn’t click all of the time.”

Gordon isn’t overly critical of anyone in the published interview, but it’s still interesting to hear insider tidbits like, “There’s this perception that Randy doesn’t like Jake Gardiner, and it’s comical,” because there definitely is a perception that Carlyle doesn’t like Gardiner (and vice-versa), and many believe the coach is the reason the young defenseman could be traded.

But in fact, according to Gordon, “I can’t tell you how many times that Randy has said that the thought of trading Jake can’t even be discussed until he’s played 300 games.”

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