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Leafs name Horacek, Spott assistant coaches

Jul 11, 2014, 12:53 PM EST

Randy Carlyle AP

The big decision everyone’s been waiting for — no, not that one — has finally been made. The Toronto Maple Leafs have hired Peter Horachek and Steve Spott to be assistant coaches on Randy Carlyle’s staff.

From the press release:

Peter Horachek, 54, served as head coach of the Florida Panthers last season after being named interim coach on November 8, 2014. In 66 games under Horachek, the Panthers posted a 26-36-4 record.

Spott, 46, served as head coach of the Toronto Marlies during the 2013-14 season, posting a 45-25-6 record and leading the team to the AHL’s North Division title and a berth in the Western Conference Final.

The Maple Leafs cut ties with assistant coaches Dave Farrish, Scott Gordon and Greg Cronin in May, after the team’s disastrous finish to the 2013-14 season.

At the same time the club announced Farrish, Gordon and Cronin would not be back, Carlyle was given a contract extension. Which was, not surprisingly, a controversial decision in Toronto, given the team’s precipitous fall from third to 12th in the Eastern Conference — a collapse that took less than a month to occur.

Unlike some, though, Leafs management felt Carlyle didn’t deserve to take the fall for that.

“It was important that the positives Randy brings to our team were not overshadowed by a finish to the season that we all must take responsibility for,” said general manager Dave Nonis.

Still, with a former NHL head coach, Horacek, and the club’s most recent AHL head coach, Spott, joining the staff, there will be at least two potential Carlyle replacements already behind the bench should the Leafs falter early in 2014-15.

  1. dueman - Jul 11, 2014 at 2:33 PM

    I don’t know much about what Horachek is like personality wise, but I do know that Spot is a real motivator. That is something the Leafs coaching staff never really had. With Carlyle, and his abrasive coaching methods, a guy like Spot will help to keep things balanced. Spot is also really good with the younger players, where Carlyle, as everybody knows, is not…

    • blomfeld - Jul 12, 2014 at 2:20 AM

      May God have mercy upon ‘those’ who think that ‘they’re’ all that …

      signed, SC Champion LA Kings Nation :) :) :)

  2. sweetzinger - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:31 PM

    So, it’s unofficially official: the Leafs will start tanking. Within 1 year, maybe 2, either Spott or Horacek will be the head coach. Why? Because the Leafs are going to go with a youth movement. And a real youth movement. Not this “we’re the youngest team in the league” garbage they have now.

    About time.

  3. Hard to BeLeaf - Jul 11, 2014 at 11:26 PM

    “At the same time the club announced Farrish, Gordon and Cronin would not be back, Carlyle was given a contract extension. Which was, not surprisingly, a controversial decision in Toronto”

    To be honest, even if they fired Carlyle with the other guys, it would still be a huge controversy in Toronto. The media in Toronto whines and complains about EVERY move, good or bad.

  4. leaf1956 - Jul 13, 2014 at 7:09 PM

    They needed to have head coaching experience because if Carlyle falters they cannot get Babcock til next year

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