Leafs fire Maurice
The Toronto Maple Leafs have fired coach Paul Maurice, sources tell TSN.
Maurice had one year remaining on his original three-year contract.
The native of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario was hired by dismissed Leafs GM John Ferguson Jr. Ferguson has since been replaced by interim GM Cliff Fletcher, who had been non-committal about Maurice's future with the club.
This is a surprising move, not because Maurice was fired, as he's coming off two playoff-less seasons, but because Toronto doesn't yet have a new general manager. I find it very hard to believe the organization would want to make this move without any word from Ferguson's potential replacement, which in my mind means we're very close to hearing who the next GM is.
Maurice is relatively popular with the media here, but the fact is that this team underachieved in his two years, finishing with a 76-65-22 record, and he would have likely been turfed by any incoming management. He had a year remaining on his contract.
This move could have been a preemptive strike, with potential GM candidates that have been interviewed thus far indicating they'd want their own coach. Or, maybe more likely, we'll know who the new GM is at 3 p.m.
There are plenty of great coaching candidates available, from Pat Burns to Pat Quinn, Peter DeBoer, Craig Hartsburg, John Anderson, Bob Hartley and potentially even San Jose's Ron Wilson.
UPDATE Pension Plan Puppets thinks this should have happened in January.
UPDATE The talking heads on Sportsnet seem to think this is a move made by interim GM Cliff Fletcher to "clear the decks" for the new boss, although that makes me wonder why this wasn't done earlier.
UPDATE Former Stars GM Doug Armstrong was on the Fan 590 today and said he has yet to be contacted by the Leafs about their open position, which strikes me as odd.
The only other reason I can think of for today's press conference could be that Toronto has signed Fabian Brunnstrom.
UPDATE The Globe and Mail's David Shoalts spoke with Maurice and has a good handle on what this means in the GM search. In short, we won't know who the new leader is for a while.
I'll have another entry to cover off whatever happens in the 3 p.m. announcement.
Labels: Maple Leafs