Toronto Maple Leafs Fire Lamoriello, and Good Riddance

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 23: Lou Lamoriello of the Toronto Maple Leafs attends the 2017 NHL Draft at the United Center on June 23, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 23: Lou Lamoriello of the Toronto Maple Leafs attends the 2017 NHL Draft at the United Center on June 23, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs have fired Lou Lamoriello.

Now, out of respect, you might have read that the Toronto Maple Leafs and Lou Lamoriello “mutually agreed to part ways,”  and that “this was the plan all along.

Now, I don’t dispute that that was the plan.  But Lou Lamoriello is already being linked to the Islanders, and it seems that just about no one is buying the line about him being an ‘advisor.’  He didn’t sound like a very enthusiastic team member in his interview yesterday, so it seems like  a firing to me. Does anyone really think that if the Leafs made a bigger splash at the deadline and won a round in the Playoffs that they’d be getting a new GM today? I don’t.

Semantics – who needs em?

When the Leafs hired Lamoriello, I thought it was a good move.  He’s got the experience, and he’s got the track record of success.  Also, his origin story is awesome – he was a math teacher who never played in the NHL, was hired out of spite, and went on to a Hall of Fame career.

But the Leafs were edging towards being one of the NHL’s most forward thinking, analytics based teams.  Then along came Babcock and Lamoriello, and the Leafs seemed to split the difference.  I liked Lamoriello as an advisor, but as the big chief, I think he’s past his prime.

I would rather see the Leafs embrace the new way the game is played – and to their credit, they have –  but I’d also like to things like no stay-at-home-defenseman,  no cutting effective players like Martin Marincin, and an emphasis data and not feelings.

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Nothing against Lamoriello, he’s pretty damn cool and everything – but his cone of silence, his not allowing the players to grow facial hair – it’s all so damned stupid, outdated and even immature.

It’s 2018, not 1952.

Leafs Already Better

The NHL is a place where people who play a game for a living come together and have fun being highly skilled millionaires.  Lou treats the team like they’re in the military or something and I can’t stand it.  I want long haired players who look like bums.  I want guys who aren’t afraid to talk to the media.  And I want some rumours about the team.

Most of all, I want the team to be run by someone accessible and friendly.  Not some grumpy old guy who looks like Ace Ventura’s landlord.

The game changes and I think a smart young guy like Kyle Dubas is a 100x more equipped to run a team in today’s NHL than someone who’s made their living on hunches and feelings.

I also think the Leafs blew an opportunity this year to improve.  With all their best players so young and cheap, the Leafs could have spend some assets to improve.  They didn’t have to go into the Playoffs with Ron Hainsey on their top pairing (by FAR their biggest mistake) and I think I wrote about that every day for six months.  (Figuratively at least).

Without blowing up the future, the Leafs could have done more to take a shot this year.   Instead, they added Tomas Plakanec and made him shave his trademark goatee (all goatee wearers should be so lucky, but still).

Anyways, I respect Lamoriello, but I’m glad the Leafs have moved on.  Kyle Dubas is going to make a great GM and I am very enthusiastic about the idea of giving a bright young person a shot at the big time.  People make too big a deal about the age.  They also make too much of him being ‘an analytics guy.’  Since he’s smart, he’s not going to disregard one of the easiest ways to get an edge over the competition (especially in such a dinosaur league) but to think of him in a binary way is a mistake.

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Much like Chayka in Arizona, Dubas has a reputation as one thing, while being far more of a combination of many things than people looking for easy categorization want to admit.

In closing, I give this move 100000 thumbs up, six Wendal Clarks, 11 Sundins and a Matthews.  I’m not sure exactly what that means, but it’s high praise.  If you’re apprehensive, keep in mind that Dubas’ trade of Kessel (that brought Kapanen, and then eventually Andersen and Matthews) was far better than anything Lamoriello did while at the helm.

Good day for the Leafs.