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Allaire says he won't return as Leafs' goalie coach

Monday, 09.17.2012 / 12:46 PM / News

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Allaire says he won't return as Leafs' goalie coach
Francois Allaire says he won't return as Toronto Maple Leafs' goaltending coach.

Francois Allaire will not return to the Toronto Maple Leafs this season to serve as the club's goaltending coach.

"To be honest, I don't think the Leafs need a goalie coach," Allaire, whose contract expired at the end of the 2011-12 season, said in a phone interview with the National Post on Monday. "I think they have enough of them. They have two or three guys who were making decisions with the goalies. In the NHL, that's not the way it works.

"If that's the way they want to operate, then I'm not there."

The Leafs struggled to keep the puck out of the net during Allaire's three seasons. They allowed 3.16 goals per game last season, the second-worst mark in the League. In 2010-11, the Leafs ranked 25th in that category (2.99) and in 2009-10, the Leafs allowed 3.21 goals per game, 29th in the NHL.

Jonas Gustavsson, who signed with the Leafs out of Sweden before the 2009-10 season, never found consistency working with Allaire and signed as a free agent with the Detroit Red Wings this summer.

Allaire said he was approached by Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke about renewing his contract, but felt it was better to part ways.

"I didn't feel like I could do my job last year," Allaire told the National Post. "I wasn't getting enough ice time. I wasn't the only guy with [the goalies]. It's not fair to the kids, not fair to me, not fair to anybody … I didn't feel like I could work in this situation."

Goaltender James Reimer, who enters this season as the team's starter after joining the Leafs in the middle of the 2010-11 season, drew high praise from Allaire despite regressing during the 2011-12 season.

"James Reimer, the past two years that I worked with him, I was really happy with everything," Allaire said. "He's a great kid. He's going to be a great goalie."

Allaire told the Post he is undecided where he will go next. A three-time Stanley Cup winner with the Montreal Canadiens (1986, 1993) and the Anaheim Ducks (2007), Allaire said there are options to continue coaching in the NHL, but he is undecided.

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I'm just excited about the opportunity. I've been on the ice earlier than usual and in the weight room, pushing around a little more weights than usual. Every day I go into a workout with a smile on my face and ready to go. When you do have a little more responsibility, you want to take your lunch pail and get ready to work.

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