One day after the Toronto Maple Leafs lost 9-2 to the Nashville Predators at Air Canada Centre, Randy Carlyle acknowledged he wonders about his job security.
"You know, I was asked the same question last night, and the answer is you're always in a position of doubt when things go awry with your hockey club," Carlyle said after practice Wednesday. "And there's always, when you take these jobs, you can expect that. In this market, that's a little more intense at times."
The Maple Leafs have lost three in a row and have been outscored 15-4 in consecutive losses to the Predators and Buffalo Sabres.
Toronto general manager Dave Nonis put the onus on the players.
"It's easy to put blame on the coach," he said Wednesday. "It's the first thing that people talk about: the media, fans, whatever. As a group, we have to do a better job. Our players, I think, will tell you, and I'm sure they've told you already, that they have to play better, and again play like they did seven days ago. We're not asking them to go back 12 months into their careers or two years or to something they haven't done before; we're asking them to play like they've played this year on a consistent basis."
The Maple Leafs (9-8-2) got back to work Wednesday in preparation for their game Thursday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
"Obviously when we lose the way that we did [Tuesday] night, everyone is disappointed, everyone's frustration level is extremely high," captain Dion Phaneuf said. "But with saying that, today was a new day. We come to work. We came to work with the right attitude. We had a good practice.
"We support Randy, and our job is to play. You guys obviously are going to ask questions and point fingers, and that's part of playing in a market like this," Phaneuf added. "When we get beat like we got beat, us as players deserve to take the blame because he’s not out there playing, the coaching staff is not out there playing."
Carlyle said he's taking a next-game approach to getting the Maple Leafs back on track.
"We can't correct everything in one day. Our job is to get this group focused and ready for [Thursday] night, for the Tampa Bay Lightning," Carlyle said. "Yes, we can touch on some things that were problematic for us last night, but again we're not going to be able to fix it all in one day.
"But what we have to do is reset, and reset the process. We can make a lot of statements about we're going to do this or we're going to do that, but we've got to go out and do the things that we're capable of doing and do them at a very high rate."