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Dave Nonis on the Leafs' coaching change

by Chris Lund / Toronto Maple Leafs


The Leafs announced today that Randy Carlyle has been relieved of his duties as head coach of the team. General Manager Dave Nonis met with the media following the announcement...

Opening Remarks:

First of all I'd like to thank everyone for coming on such short notice, we didn't give you a lot of opportunity to get here. Before we open it up to questions I'd like to thank Randy for his efforts, which were significant. On behalf of the whole organization we wish him well going forward. He's a good man and a good coach and he'll be back in this game quickly.

On if he felt Carlyle's message wasn't getting through:

We felt that - one of the things you've heard me say since training camp - we needed to see some sort of consistency. We'd all agree that we've had some good periods and good stretches, but I don't think I can stand here in front of you and say we've been consistent. As recent as the last couple of games, we were happy with our game in Boston, played pretty well in Minnesota and had tough games in between. We just felt at this point that this was the right time to make the change and move ahead and try to get this team playing like we have played for periods this season.

On how long the wait will be before the make a full time hire:

We were focused on today and tomorrow night. There's a process you go through and there's doing things the right way. We wanted to take care and handle Randy the right way, focus on tomorrow night and move ahead after that.

On the core players playing for a different coach:

You're always looking at the core. People think that players are set in stone. I've said before - players are movable. None of them have full no-moves (no movement clauses). It's not any different than a month ago. If there's a player move that makes us better we'll look to do it. That hasn't changed and this doesn't change anything. It's not about the core not listening to Randy or anything like that. We felt we weren't going in the right direction, we're trending the wrong way right now. We're still in a decent position. This move was made to put ourselves in a better position, nothing other than that.

On when he told Randy:

I told Randy late last night. As you would expect he was disappointed but very professional. As gruff as you may think he is, he's a very intelligent man. He understands the game and understands our situation. It wasn't an extremely long conversation but it went as well as it you would expect from someone who was just let go.

On the timing of the move:

It just fell into place that this is where we're at. If this would have happened and we felt we were trending this way a month from now we would have done the same thing. Earlier in the season we had some pretty good stretches where we thought we were going to be the consistent team we wanted to be. That didn't happen and we couldn't wait longer. At this point we felt we needed to make this change.

On if he has a template in mind for a new coach:

We're going to look at that over the next couple of days. Today really was about making the change. We have two quality guys that have been head coaches that will be behind the bench tomorrow night and we'll approach how we're going to handle the coaching duties for the rest of the year over the next couple of days. Today wasn't the timeframe for that.

On if the players weren't able to play Carlyle's style:

They're able to, we've seen it. It's not that we have players who can't do it. The game in Boston, for example. They played the way we want to play. They played that way in Minnesota. It's not that they can't do it, it's that our consistency hasn't been there. It has been trending downward for the last little while where our consistency has been waning even more. You can chalk it up to players not listening if you'd like. I don't think it's because they're not capable, because they are. That's one of the reasons we did this today.

On if this conveys the message that struggles fall on the coach:

No, the coach takes part of the responsibility. The coach is easy to let go, that's the easy change to make - we all have to take responsibility, the players included. We did this to try and improve our group. This isn't throwing in the towel, we feel this team has a chance to do good things and today was the first step in trying to push them in that direction.

On what's missing from the consistency:

The numbers go beyond wins and losses. Some of the games where we have played well, like the Minnesota game, we played that game how we want to play. We had the puck and were decent in our zone and did most of the things we wanted to do and didn't follow that up. That has been the pattern of our group of late. You've seen it, it has been too much of a rollercoaster. It's not that they're not capable because they are. It's not that they haven't done it because they have. That's one of the biggest reasons for the change today.

On how difficult the change was to make:

It's always a tough decision. As I said, it's not about one game or one stretch. We felt that we had to make that change today because of the direction this team was trending. We need to move forward and get our team back to where it was when we were winning games and do it on a consistent basis. We can throw reasons out there all we like about why we've done certain things. I don't think that's helpful. We need to play better and felt we had to make the change today in order to get things back to where we need to be.

On when he made the decision:

We have been discussing it for a while. You don't want to take any of these decisions lightly, we discussed them at length and yesterday we made the decision that it was the right thing to do.

On if icetime vs. Minnesota played a role:

No, coaches have a feel for what they think is right during a game, how they want to distribute ice time. We're not going to micromanage a coaching staff on that. This isn't about one game, it's not about one player, it's about the direction of our group. There isn't a specific scenario that made it so we had to make a change. It was about the direction of our group right now. That's the real issue.

On if there will be any corresponding lineup moves:

Not with what happened today. You're always looking at your group and seeing if there are opportunities to improve it. We weren't focused on lineup changes. The players on the roster, by and large, should be here tomorrow. Hopefully we'll have some injury news that will be helpful as well but we don't foresee any changes in that regard at this point.

On if they could finish the year with interim coaches:

It's possible but we haven't gotten that far yet. We'll spend the next couple of days looking at our options. I think I spoke about it earlier but there is a process you want to go through when you let someone go. There's a right way and a wrong way to do it. We knew we had a game tomorrow night and we were focused on that. We have capable people that will lead us onto the ice tomorrow. Beyond that we haven't made any decisions.

On if they would have made this move last summer in hindsight:

No, Randy deserved to come back, he had done enough to come back. We've seen him do good things, we've seen him do good things this season. He's an excellent coach, you don't coach over 700 games without being good at it. Good coaches get let go and unfortunately today we had to do that. It has nothing to do with the summer or whether or not he was the right guy to bring back. He was. Unfortunately today this was the right decision for the team.

On how you get the players to put forth a consistent effort going forward:

The coaching staff understands what we expect and I would expect that our players understand as well, what we need going forward. It shouldn't take anything other than seeing what has happened today for them to understand we need to compete. They know they have the ability to do it. I've seen teams and been with teams that don't have the ability. The players look at each other and say we can't do this, we're not capable. That's not this group. We need to go out tomorrow and focus on tomorrow night and we'll go from there.

On how the players were notified:

I told them all this morning.

On if he is concerned about his job security:

I'm never worried about my job security. You make your decisions on what's best for the team and that's not going to change. We're going to do the things we need to do as a group to move this team forward. That's how I wake up every day and that's what I think about doing. If you're thinking about something else you're not going to be taking the right steps for the organization. That's not something I'm concerned about.

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