Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

Dallas Eakins Should Be Coaching The Toronto Maple Leafs


When Brian Burke fired Ron Wilson in early March, you could see it coming. Burke was in full panic mode trying to salvage the season and the make the playoffs for the first time in his tenure. He brought in Randy Carlyle who he won with before in Anaheim. I mean if it worked before it should work again right?

Carlyle is very similar to Wilson in many respects. Both are more old school than black and white television, and each rules with an iron fist mentality. Burke essentially replaced one loud message that never stuck with a slightly different one. Yes let’s give Carlyle a bit of credit, as he did coach a team to a Stanley Cup victory. However, players like Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Chris Pronger, Teemu Selanne, and Scott Niedermayer may have had more to do with it. You know the old saying, “The key to good coaching is having good players.”

It seems like as long as you’ve won at any point during your coaching career you are set for life. Mike Shanahan hasn’t done anything in well over a decade, but since he won two Super Bowls in the mid 90′s with some guy named John Elway at quarterback, he will probably have a coaching job somewhere until he is 100.

Heaven forbid that a Toronto sports team, other than Dwane Casey with the Raptors, would make a progressive coaching change. I mean, its not like they have anyone sitting right in their own backyard or anything. Or someone that has guided their AHL affiliate to a 114-91-12-19 record behind the bench in two seasons. Or someone who led the Marlies to the Calder Cup final and the league’s best penalty kill, which is something the Leafs definitely could improve on. No, Dallas Eakins would be too easy of a choice.

The Leafs are actually fortunate to still have Eakins in their organization as he is one of the more sought after young coaches in the game today. Now, I’m not saying Burke should have fired Wilson and hired Eakins right there on the spot, but why not let an assistant finish out the year and let him start fresh in 2012-13. Or, with the Leafs chances of making it to the playoffs only alive in the most naive fans minds, and possibly Burke’s, it may have made sense to just let Wilson finish the campaign out and then bring Eakins in during the summer.

The AHL is now a trendy place to snatch coaches from. NHL teams are realizing that the development and the systems that are being played down there are forward thinking. I’m not trying to rain on Carlyle’s parade because he is an accomplished coach, but Eakins was the better choice here. Hopefully someone in the organization realizes that before it’s too late.

Tags: Dallas Eakins Leafs Marlies

3 Comments on Dallas Eakins Should Be Coaching The Toronto Maple Leafs

  1. I concur. Eakins coached the most impressive Marlies campaign last season. He would appear to address, as you mentioned, the dire needs of our franchise: the defensive structure and the penalty killing system.
    But let’s splash our face with cold water here, it is Brian Burke calling all the shots in Toronto. As much as I think he’s doing right at this point, he still has too much of a homer mentality. His ties with Anaheim are far too closely-knit. Unless you’re trading for Corey Perry, I’ve seen just about enough of former Ducks players and personnel come through our system.

  2. If the key to good coaching is having good players what difference does it make ?

    Eakins has a record of 114-91-31 and a winning percentage of .549 in the AHL, without winning a championship and has made the playoffs once in three full years.

    Carlyle has a winning percentage of .582 in the NHL, has made the playoffs 5 times in seven full years and won a Stanley Cup , so of course Eakins is the better, coaching option.

  3. Dirk Hoogendoorn says:

    You mention in the article that the key to good coaching is having good players in the case of Carlisle then by that same logic Eakins had good players last year with the Marlies, but by your own logic you say the Leafs will not make the playoffs so then Eakins would not make a great deal of difference. This year so far Eakins does not look quite as great with a real good American Hockey League cast as he did last year.

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