Goalie coach Francois Allaire (right) never quite meshed with the Leafs' hands-on management style.

Leafs Goalie Coach Jumps Ship After Three Seasons


Toronto Maple Leafs goaltending coach Francois Allaire submitted his resignation with general manager Brian Burke this morning after three lacklustre seasons with the club.

RDS reporter Renaud Lavoie broke the news via Twitter:

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National Post Leafs beat reporter Michael Traikos confirmed it:

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Allaire joined the Leafs in November 2009, after working under Burke previously in Anaheim. Allaire was credited with developing Jean-Sebastien Giguere into one of the best goalies in the league during his time with the Ducks.

Despite their past accomplishments together, it seems the relationship between Burke and Allaire soured considerably over the course of last season.

“To be honest, I don’t think the Leafs need a goalie coach,” Alliaire told Traikos today. “I think they have enough of them. They have two or three guys who were making decisions with the goalies. In the NHL, that’s not the way it works.”

Leafs starting goalie James Reimer echoed that sentiment to Traikos as well.

“I don’t know if everyone clicked last year. There was some trouble in some areas and … I don’t know if I want to get into it that much or comment on it too much. But I know that there were times when he was frustrated that we didn’t have more time to work on some stuff.”

Allaire arrived in Toronto with much hoopla, being lauded as the foremost goaltending authority in all of hockey. His three Stanley Cups (1986, ’93 with Montreal and ’07 with Anaheim) speak for themselves.

Allaire was seen as a major factor in luring high-profile free agents Jonas Gustavsson, Ben Scrivens, Jussi Rynnas and Mark Owuya to T.O. It’s safe to say the Gustavsson experiment failed after he signed with the Red Wings this off-season, but Scrivens, Rynnas and Owuya are all expected to challenge for NHL jobs in the near-future.

Reimer said he’ll miss working with Allaire.

“Obviously, I don’t hold anything against Frankie and the decision he made. I completely understand it. But from a personal standpoint, I’m disappointed that I can’t work with arguably (one of) the best goalie coaches in the game. I hope that I can give him a call or a text some time to let him know how much he meant to me.”

At the end of the day, results speak for themselves. And those results weren’t too flattering for Allaire’s coaching resume.

The Leafs finished 29th in the league in goals-against average in 2009, before making a mild jump to 24th the following year. Last year, however, the Leafs fell back to 29th in GAA.

Allaire had been in the league a long time and was probably used to a “My way or the highway” approach that worked in Montreal and Anaheim.

But for whatever reason, Allaire was given less autonomy with the Leafs by Burke, obviously feeling that there were, as the saying goes, too many cooks in the kitchen.

Allaire’s unsuccesful stint with the Leafs will likely do little to deter potential suitors. He’s still probably considered one of the best goalie coaches in the fraternity, and that fraternity has a habit of recycling their members.

In other words, don’t be surprised if he rejoins the Habs just to see Burke’s reaction.

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Tags: Brian Burke Coach Francois Allaire Goaltender James Reimer Maple Leafs

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