Before I begin let me get something off my chest, and this is directed to Maple Leafs Sports Entertainment.
I loathe you. Right now, in the month of May, there should be three scenarios that I SHOULD be partaking in.
Number one, I should be watching my team fight through thick and thin in an attempt to reach the Stanley cup finals.
Number two, I should be recovering from the hangover of an exciting season, with a short playoff run. And last but not least, I should be feeling confident and assured that the Maple Leafs organization is competent enough to look after what needs to be done for the next season. I feel neither confident nor assured. In fact, every moment that you come to mind, my left eye begins to twitch. I conclude with this statement…
Fix the problem
Ahh, it feels good to get that off my chest. Now, back to reality and the realization that MSLE won't fix the problem. So, like every other Leaf fan that has the privilege to write articles about their favorite team, I'll begin to speculate on how they can begin to fix the problem. Today's topic will be:
The New Head Coach: Who's Got The Guff?
This past week the Colorado Avalanche parted ways with their head coach, Joel Quenneville. That puts him near, if not at, the top of the candidates list for the new Leafs bench boss.
Another candidate, mainly due to fan speculation and a weird sense of early 90's nostalgia hanging over Leafs Nation is, Pat Burns. Currently, Burns is working for Team Canada as an assistant coach.
Other than that, there is just a collection of names randomly thrown out by the hockey press for poops and giggles. That's right I just wrote, poops.
Candidate #1: Joel Quenneville
Although Joel Quenneville is the most experienced coach out there, next to Pat Burns, and although some fans may see no problem with hiring him, there are plenty of reasons not to.
|Team||Year||Regular Season||Post Season|
|STL||1996-97||40||18||15||7||-||(83)||4th in Central||Lost in First Round|
|STL||1997-98||82||45||29||8||-||98||3rd in Central||Lost in Second Round|
|STL||1998-99||82||37||32||13||-||87||2nd in Central||Lost in Second Round|
|STL||1999-00||82||51||19||11||1||114||1st in Central||Lost in First Round|
|STL||2000-01||82||43||22||12||5||103||2nd in Central||Lost in Conf. Finals|
|STL||2001-02||82||43||27||8||4||98||2nd in Central||Lost in Second Round|
|STL||2002-03||82||41||24||11||6||99||2nd in Central||Lost in First Round|
|STL||2003-04||61||29||23||7||2||(91)||2nd in Central||(fired)|
|COL||2005-06||82||43||30||-||9||95||2nd in Northwest||Lost in Second Round|
Look at the chart (care of Wikipedia), Joel Quenneville has coached only two NHL teams in his career, he's won a division title only once, and has been to the conference finals only once. And we want him behind our bench!?! ... ... Okay, I'll concede he has won a Jack Adams award, but my point still stands.
Candidate #2: Pat Burns
Pat Burns is a three time Jack Adams award winner, a Stanley Cup Champion as coach, and has coached over 1000 NHL games. Now, here's the kicker... He's the best candidate out there! But let's be real folks, it's not happening, as an assistant coach for Team Canada he's been asked about returning to the NHL and has said: "To get back into coaching is something that I'm going to look at, and this is like taking baby steps back into it." The first step you take after taking baby steps to the NHL is not a job with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Candidate #3: Poops and Giggles
Since none of the candidates listed are viable options, we have to start digging through the garbage to find the Leafs new head coach. If you're a Leafs fan, then idea of this might make you squirm, but rest assured Leafs Nation, there is a diamond in the rough.
Yes, that's right, John Anderson. The former Toronto Maple Leafs forward, and current coach of the AHL team, the Chicago Wolves. Now, before some of you start whining to me that Quenneville would be a better fit and has far more experience then Anderson, just do me a favour and hold your horses for one moment.
Though I'm not the first to mention Anderson, I am most definitely the first to call him a diamond in the rough. John Anderson in 12 seasons as a head coach has never had a team go below .500, he has won three championships with the Chicago Wolves, and he might add a fourth at the end of this season. Now, if this doesn't convince you that he is a winner then let me share one more fact with you.
In the NHL's 1982-83 season, John Anderson posted 80 points in 80 games with the Maple Leafs. Let me repeat that again, the 1982-83 season with the Toronto Maple Leafs. For those who are unaware or are suffering from a case self-induced amnesia, the Leafs of that season were in an era known as "the Ballard years". And although I wasn't alive and kicking just yet, folklore of this time in Leaf history is enough to send shivers down my spine. So, posting 80 points with any Ballard run Leafs team is a feat in itself.
For me, the line of coaches in the NHL have been reused and recycled for far too long now. The league needs some talented new blood injected behind its benches, and if the Leafs play their cards right, they will hire such a coach, with no NHL experience, like the Canadiens in 1989 when they hired Pat Burns. And this coach may just lead the Leafs to glory while picking up a Jack Adams Award along the way.