Carlyle getting accustomed to a new world in Toronto
ETOBICOKE, Ont. -- As if the 10 camera crews and close to three dozen reporters hanging on his every word Monday afternoon weren't enough, these days all Toronto coach Randy Carlyle has to do is turn on his cell phone to realize how many people are interested in his new job and his new home.
"I didn't realize that I had so many friends that had area codes 416, 905 and 647," Carlyle said, listing the three main area codes in the greater Toronto area, the three main area codes from where he has received most of his text messages since the news broke late Friday that he was taking over as the new coach of the Maple Leafs.
Carlyle and his wife, Corey, are both from Sudbury, Ont. They have been spending their summers at their cottage on Manitoulin Island since 1979. He still has a sister that lives in Toronto. Both he and Corey still have family in Sudbury.
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He will coach his first home game behind the Maple Leafs' bench Tuesday at Air Canada Centre against Boston.
"There are lots of ties with the Ontario market," Carlyle said, "and obviously with the number of cameras that are here today and the number of you people (media members), there's lots of coverage and exposure to the Leafs."
Ex-Leafs coach Paul Maurice knows that all too well. The Sault Ste. Marie native spent two seasons as coach of the Maple Leafs from 2006-08. Ron Wilson took over for him.
Maurice didn't feel it was appropriate to offer any particular advice to Carlyle, but he hinted that the new coach better be prepared to lose some of the privacy he had for six-plus seasons in Anaheim.
"I was truly surprised at how recognized you are everywhere you go," Maurice told NHL.com on Monday. "That takes a little getting used to, to be honest with you. It is pretty much everywhere. If I wasn't with the Leafs, I was at one of my kids' hockey rinks, and everyone there is a hockey fan. You're going to get recognized."
Carlyle has definitely gotten that since Saturday morning in Montreal, where he held his first press conference as the Leafs coach. But, as Maurice pointed out, the actual pressures of the job in Toronto aren't any different than they are in say Carolina or Anaheim.
The difference, Maurice said, is how much more in tune the coach has to be with what is going on in the locker room due to the unrelenting attention driven by the media and now fueled even further by the Twitterverse.
"In a small market, you can have a young player not score in five or six games, move him from the second to fourth line, and neither the coach nor the player has to deal with it even remotely relative to how you have to deal with it in Toronto," Maurice said. "Those players have to grow up so much faster in that market in terms of how they handle themselves. They have to answer for every shift.
"The pressure is more about how do you handle the scrutiny of the locker room where every mistake gets answered for, and how do you keep the confidence of a young team?"
Carlyle has spent the last two days trying to instill the lost confidence back into the Maple Leafs, who are one of the youngest teams in the NHL and played like it for most of their recent 1-9-1 stretch. Between Sunday and Monday he worked them over in practice, covering roughly three and a half hours of on-ice teaching and drills.
"The pressure is more about how do you handle the scrutiny of the locker room where every mistake gets answered for, and how do you keep the confidence of a young team?" -- Former Maple Leafs' coach Paul Maurice on coaching in Toronto
In the meantime, he's also spent his personal time trying to fully comprehend the new world he's living in.
"It's quite a whirlwind when you think of it," Carlyle said. "I was golfing in Anaheim on Wednesday of last week, and then on Thursday morning I was on a plane to Boston. On Friday night I was at a team meeting and Saturday night I was coaching an NHL team. There have been a lot of things that have gone through my mind and a lot of deep thought on what I want to do.
"Now, I'm immersed into the job."
It might help him stay that way if he keeps the constantly buzzing cell phone powered down for a while.
"There is no doubt you have the opportunity to rekindle some old friends if you left Ontario and come back as the Leafs coach," Maurice said. "You do get a taste of what it's like to be famous."