The Toronto Maple Leafs just made one of the most polarizing decisions in franchise history
The 4-2 loss against Vegas last night was clearly the final straw in what was a series of brutal events that Babcock had been claimed responsible for this season. His post-game comments seemed unmotivated, much like the players on the ice, and it was as if he already knew that it was his final game behind the Leafs bench.
Babcock’s time as a head coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs was limited, no doubt about that, but I can safely say that I think this was much sooner than expected. That is not because firing Babcock was not necessarily warranted, as there have been many lapses in judgement in terms of on-ice decisions and line combinations, but because I never thought the organization had the guts to get rid of a guy they have been betting on for so long.
The system was simply not working.
Whoever you want to place the blame on, something had to change, and Shanahan seems to have a lot more faith in Kyle Dubas’ ability to grow this team than he does in Mike Babcock.
Replacing a coach was the least complicated move to make, as teams are not necessarily interested in making trades this early in the season. Sheldon Keefe has built himself a resume to be offered a chance in the NHL, and there is
There is no question that Kyle Dubas and Sheldon Keefe have a chemistry that could potentially translate very well to an NHL level, and honestly I am excited to see this tremendously talented team be taken on by a new set of eyes.
There are a lot of scenarios in which the Leafs could have dealt with Babcock, and relieving him of his role at this point in the season is very risky.
Bringing Keefe into a team where the morale is clearly low, being on a six-game losing streak, has the potential for both good and bad outcomes.
Now, the Leafs made their decision, and are going to have to live with it. There is absolutely no room for error, and Shanahan and Dubas could be the next to go if anything goes awry.
Sheldon Keefe will make his coaching debut against Arizona tomorrow night after an impressive 10-2-2 start to the 2019-20 season with the Toronto Marlies, and hopefully this could be the first of many positive things to come out of the Maple Leafs organization for the remainder of the season.