The Toronto Maple Leafs have authored an epic late season collapse. Losers of their last eight games, the Maple Leafs have gone from a team eyeing home-ice advantage to a desperate club unlikely to qualify for the postseason, in the blink of an eye.
The club's epic struggles in the latter half of March could ultimately cost head coach Randy Carlyle his job, to hear TSN's Bob McKenzie tell it. Here's how McKenzie's summarized Carlyle's situation on an Insider Trading segment broadcast on TSN Tuesday evening:
If the Toronto Maple Leafs miss the playoffs and they're certainly trending in that direction, the expectation is that Randy Carlyle is most vulnerable and the most likely to pay the price. General manager Dave Nonis has never fired a coach in his tenure in Toronto and he never hired Randy Carlyle - that was a Brian Burke hire. The sense seems to be that if the masses are crying for somebody's head it would more likely be Carlyle's than anyone else's.
McKenzie's colleague Darren Dreger added that MLSE CEO Tim Leiweke is something of a "wild card" in the internal evaluations likely to take place at seasons end:
Leiweke says there will be no knee jerk decision between now and the end of the regular season, which obviously isn't that far away. (Leiweke is) also well schooled on the long-term plans of the general manager, Dave Nonis, and Tim Leiweke is often around the players as well.
So if there's improvements the players feel need to be made, then he's going to know that, and he'll be heavily involved in the review process.
Dreger also suggested that Carlyle "is likely to be fired" during an appearance on TSN Radio 1050 in Toronto on Tuesday evening.