Well, you knew it had to come eventually.
Howard Berger has suggested that the Toronto Maple Leafs locker room may not be big enough for both Randy Carlyle and Nazem Kadri. He goes on to suggest that the Leafs may have to decide between the two by the March 5 trade deadline.
I’ve beat the “Should We Trade Kadri?” drum to death, so I’ll come at it from a different direction. Should Carlyle be fired?
I can’t believe this is an even an option.
All Carlyle has done for the Leafs is get them to the playoffs last season and has also coached them into a playoff spot for most of this season. Can you really fire a coach for not being able to develop one player? It doesn’t matter how great the player is, unless his name is Gretzky or Lemieux, it’s just stupid to fire a coach for that reason alone.
If Carlyle is fired, it won’t be just because of Kadri’s situation. It will be because the Leafs have completely fallen out of the playoff race and have no chance of making the playoffs. I don’t think there is any chance of that happening in about of the equivalent of a month of playing time with the Olympic break in between.
Ever since the Leafs fired Pat Quinn, the Leafs haven’t had a coach where the fans didn’t demand his firing within a year or two. Whether it’s Paul Maurice, Ron Wilson or Carlyle, everyone of them has felt the fans wrath at some point.
The Leafs need to find some consistency behind the bench and firing Carlyle would go against that. Perhaps the bigger question is, if the Leafs were to fire Carlyle, who would replace him? Wayne Gretzky? I don’t think there is many top potential candidates out there and I would hate to see what fans would do to a young coach.
So, with all that said…