Saturday, March 3, 2012

What the doctor ordered | Leafs hire Carlyle

The Leafs bringing in a new coach is exactly the type of thing (barring making a trade of any immediate substance) that could spark a renewed interest in the team for me.

When GM Brian Burke argues that Toronto has one of the most sophisticated and intelligent hockey audiences, he's right, and that means you don't have to slap together a high-scoring run-and-gun franchise that only the most elite teams can succeed at.

This is exactly the type of market that will absolutely respect a strong discipline and dedication in a team game that builds on structure and grit, rather than trying to outscore other teams. When you see low-scoring teams like St. Louis or Nashville, you'd believe that the defense and goaltending in Toronto wouldn't be strong enough to succeed at a defensive game, but that's not the truth - restructuring the entire team to dedicate itself in a strategic way to find success from the net out is essential.

In any case, it sounds like a bastardly coach in Randy Carlyle is just what the doctor ordered, to nip any bad habits in the bud and restructure the team's play in a way that relies less on high-end skill (of which they're desperately short of) and turns to the banging, grinding, defensive, well-positioned "x and o"s type of structure. Throw in a system where the entire team contains the opposition, rather than always seeing the captain left on his own while the forwards take a running start across the blueline to blow past him to the net.

Let's see what Carlyle does - this is exactly the type of move I was hoping for, and I'm glad we're not breaking a rookie head coach in on this one. Looking forward to it!

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