Ron Wilson fired.No replacement named.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) March 3, 2012
UPDATE: Friday, March 2 at 9:00 p.m. ET
According to Darren Millard of Sportsnet, former Ducks coach Randy Carlyle will be the new head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Sources have confirmed to me randy carlyle will be the leafs next head coach.— Daren Millard (@darenmillard) March 3, 2012
Former Anaheim Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle, who was fired earlier this season, is the most likely replacement for Wilson.
After starting the season strongly, the Leafs began to struggle over the last few months, and their disastrous February record of 4-10 caused them to fall out of the playoff race in the Eastern Conference.
The Leafs have lost six straight games and are currently five points behind the eighth and final playoff spot.
Wilson took over the Leafs in June of 2008 after failing to get the San Jose Sharks to the Stanley Cup Final. In almost four complete seasons with the Leafs, Wilson was unable to get the team into the playoffs for the first time since the 2003-04 NHL season.
What does it mean?
The Maple Leafs have some serious goaltending and defensive issues that have hurt their team's ability to win games in recent weeks.
Who should be the next Leafs coach?
As the head coach, Wilson took much of the blame for his team's poor performance. To Wilson's credit, general manager Brian Burke did nothing at the trade deadline to improve the team and give his head coach a better roster to work with.
The players ultimately need to be held accountable, and even though there's no excuse for them under performing, the head coach will almost always be the one who loses his job over it.
After "fire Wilson" chants broke out at the Air Canada Centre last week, it was clear that the fans were not very supportive of Wilson.
The most logical replacements for Wilson are former head coaches Marc Crawford and Randy Carlyle.
Carlyle very likely to be next coach of the Leafs. New coach will be on the bench in Mtl tomorrow.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) March 3, 2012
Carlyle, if hired, will bring a more disciplined style of hockey to the Leafs which should help their penalty killing and overall play in the defensive zone.
Carlyle also has a proven track record of postseason success, evidenced by his 2007 Stanley Cup championship run with the Ducks. The general manager of that teams was Brian Burke, who of course is now running the Leafs.