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that Randy Carlyle was the “right person” to continue lead thei

in Tomahawk 24.05.2019 08:31
von Dogcat250 • 1.150 Beiträge

TORONTO – Two months ago, the Maple Leafs management team deemed that Randy Carlyle was the “right person” to continue lead their team, but felt the need for change somewhere in light of another late season spiral. Three assistant coaches were fired that day in early May – in a unique move that saw the head coach remain – replaced Friday by Marlies coach Steve Spott and longtime Predators assistant Peter Horachek in a bid to further alter the atmosphere of a team deemed to be requiring “culture change” by MLSE president Tim Leiweke. “Im not the big culture change kind of guy,” said general manager Dave Nonis, shortly after the announcement of the new two new assistants. “I think you cant flip a switch with two coaches and say that everythings going to be different. I think people bring things to the table that either help you achieve success or dont. These guys theyve shown in the past that they can do that.” Carlyle bellowed long and loudly for change last year, frustrated by his clubs inability to compete to a level he deemed appropriate. Weak foundations – poor defensive play, possession and penalty killing – were propped up by terrific goaltending, a mostly potent power-play and a dominant first line. He saw the flaws early, but ultimately was unable to affect much change as the year lingered on. “6-1 is only a stat,” he said in mid-October after his team won six of its first seven games. “Its a nervous time in the coaches office because of the shot differential and the quality of chances that were giving up.” Employment of personnel didnt help matters, particularly an overreliance on veterans like Jay McClement and an underuse of young players on a fourth line fronted by heavyweight Colton Orr. Somewhere along the way his message didnt stick or perhaps grew stale. In shaking up the assistants who surround Carlyle, management is hoping that will change. “Part of the changes that we are looking to make is in the atmosphere and thats not a knock on the other coaches because they had their strengths for sure,” said Nonis. “But relationships and developing relationships with the players is probably as big an issue now around the league as anything. Players have to want to play for you. I think these guys have had a pretty good track record in that regard.” Leaf players were surprised by the late spring firings of Dave Farrish, Greg Cronin and Scott Gordon, particularly Farrish whose fate was thought to be tied to Carlyle, his longtime associate. Farrish, who ran the defence and Torontos sixth-ranked power-play, was known as a lighter voice in the room – a stark contrast to the harder-edged Carlyle – capable of brightening the mood in dark times.? Cronin and Gordon, who led the Leafs once hopeful but ultimately disastrous penalty kill, appeared to be sounding boards, often locked into long conversations with players after practice (Gordon on multiple occasions with Phil Kessel). Management deemed that their replacements have previous head coaching experience – Farrish, Cronin and Gordon were all head coaches themselves prior to coming to Toronto – believing that to be valuable in support of Carlyle. Both new hirings will be expected to share in dealings with the media, a considerable change from recent years where assistants under both Carlyle and Ron Wilson were consistently unavailable to press. “I think if youve walked in those shoes before it makes it easier to help,” said Nonis of head coaching experience. It wasnt immediately clear how duties would be split between Spott and Horachek – one will likely run power-play, the other penalty kill as with most clubs – but Nonis indicated Carlyle playing a “big or bigger role than hes had in the past” in terms of special teams. Spott, who did a terrific job guiding the youthful Marlies to within one game of the Calder Cup final, will be relied upon for his experience in guiding Torontos young talent. Management viewed him as a candidate to join the NHL staff from the outset, waiting to make their interest clear until his team was quieted in a Western Conference final loss to the eventual champs from Texas. “It wasnt just veterans carrying the ball,” Nonis said of Spotts success as a first-year American League coach. “He used young players all the time. He put them in different situations. He allowed some of those players to grow despite some mistakes that they were making.” Formerly the bench boss in Kitchener and the Canadian World Jr. team (2013), Spott has coached prospective Leafs like Petter Granberg, Carter Ashton, Stuart Percy, and Peter Holland, not to mention current Leafs such as Nazem Kadri, Morgan Rielly and David Clarkson, the latter maintaining a close relationship with Spott. The Leafs appear to be trending younger, team president Brendan Shanahan speaking earlier in the week of his desire for “our young players…to have job opportunities”. “We need our young players to have an impact,” Nonis said. “The assistant coaches will have a major role in that.” The Leafs continue to view Spott as a future NHL head coach. Horachek, a native of Stoney Creek, Ontario, spent nine seasons as an assistant to Barry Trotz in Nashville before being fired in 2013. He resurfaced as a head coach with the AHLs San Antonio Rampage the following season before ascending to the top job with the Panthers when Kevin Dineen was let go. The 54-year-old boasts an IHL championship from his days as the lead man in Orlando (Carlyle was the head coach of the IHLs Manitoba Moose at the time). Boasting a mismatched roster in Florida with uneven goaltending last season, Horacheks Panthers had awful special teams – last in both power-play and penalty kill – but decent possession numbers considering the talent. “Hes a firm guy,” Nonis said of Horachek, consulting with longtime Predators general manager David Poile prior to the hiring. “I think hes kind of a no-nonsense coach, but hes very well groomed. Hes got a players background and again a very long and I think impressive coaching background. “When it came down to it he was the guy that really fit the type of coach we needed and we feel that Randy needs as well.” In reconstructing their roster this summer the organization went hard after players with solid leadership and character credentials – Stephane Robidas, Dan Boyle and Josh Gorges among the targets – seemingly concerned by the mix that fell hard out of the playoffs for the second time in three seasons. In adding Spott and Horachek, it appears they are trying to do the same with a coaching staff that missed a step a year ago – albeit with the same head man leading the charge. Consistent in managements view of both hires was their ability to build strong relationships with players, communication not known to be a strong suit of an old-school type like Carlyle. Whether that leads to a more consistent and successful product on the ice remains to be seen. 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The NFL fined Tomlin $100,000 on Wednesday for interfering with Baltimores Jacoby Jones on a kickoff return in the third quarter of a 22-20 loss to the Ravens on Thanksgiving night.SAN ANTONIO -- The open shots that fell so easily for the San Antonio Spurs in the first half were bouncing off the rim and the collapsing defence was suddenly on top of them. San Antonio was out of energy and emotion, which is usually when coach Gregg Popovich turns to Manu Ginobili for a boost. Ginobili is no longer the only player giving the Spurs a jolt of enthusiasm and showmanship off the bench. Six Spurs scored in double figures, led by Tony Parker with 16 points, and San Antonio never trailed in strolling to a 92-79 victory over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night. Boris Diaw had 15 points, Kawhi Leonard added 13 points, and Ginobili and Marco Belinelli each had 10 for San Antonio, which has trailed for only 11 seconds in its last four games. Tiago Splitter had 12 points and nine rebounds. Martell Webster scored 21 points, Bradley Beal added 19 points and John Wall had 14 points and eight assists for Washington, which has lost three straight. Wall left the game after being raked across the face by Jeff Ayres under the basket. Walls right eye immediately began to swell and was puffy at the bottom and outside following the game. San Antonio had 28 assists, with 17 coming from its reserves, including a season-high eight by Belinelli. "When you have a team like that, not just the first group, but the second group plays the exact same way and third group plays the same way," Beal said. "So, its really tough when you have a team like that who is capable of just moving the ball, passing the ball, cutting every second; and not getting tired on top of that. Thats a great team." After the starters exploited defensive mismatches early in the game, the second unit of Ginobili, Belinelli, Diaw, Ayres and Patty Mills put on a passing clinic late in the third quarter to keep the Spurs unbeaten at home. "I was very happy about that," Ginobili said. "The unit that started the third quarter was beginning to wind down on energy. We talked about it with Pop and he asked us to bring it back up, play with more emotion, push the ball and be more aggressive. It really worked out in the end." After trailing by double digits since early in the second quarter, the Wizards got within 60-57 on a 14-foot, turnaround jumper by Webster with 3:27 left in the third. San Antonios second unit regained the edge, with Ginobili hitting a layup high off the glass over three defenders and consecutive 3s by Belinelli and Mills to put the Spurs ahead 68-57 with 11:44 left in the third.dddddddddddd "After 60-57, we came down and took six of the worst shots you could possibly take," Washington coach Randy Wittman said. "Six. It might be more after I look at the film. Zero or one pass. All of a sudden, were going to play hero. We cant do that. We dont have a hero here. We got to play with five guys." The Wizards need only look to the Spurs to see how to share the ball. After dribbling the ball into the frontcourt, Belinelli fired a pass through the lane to Diaw past several unsuspecting defenders for an open layup. Belinelli, who signed as a free agent after playing with the Chicago Bulls last season, was 2 for 2 on 3-pointers and doubled his season high in assists. "I think offensively the last two or three games he has really looked comfortable," Popovich said. "Pump-faking, getting his shot off, finding open people while hes dribbling the ball. Hes working hard on defence, so I think hes fitting in really well." Popovich emptied its bench with about 6 minutes left in the game. The third unit continued the ball movement, with Nando De Colo picking up two assists in 8 minutes. De Colo drove to the basket and flipped a no-look, two-foot pass to fellow Diaw under the basket for a tip-in layup. The Spurs held a double digit lead for all but about 15 minutes. Leonard scored San Antonios first eight points, first rising over Trevor Ariza for a short jumper off the glass and then draining consecutive 3-pointers. The Wizards started 2 for 12, having their shots blocked as many times as they went in over the first 7 minutes. Wall rallied Washington, scoring three consecutive baskets and running Mills down from behind to block an attempted fast-break layup. NOTES: San Antonio wore camouflage uniforms in honour of its Military Celebration Night. The jerseys were auctioned and autographed by each player after the game with all the proceeds going to the teams Silver and Black Give Back program. ... Spurs F Matt Bonner missed the game with tightness in his left calf. ... Wizards forwards Otto Porter (right hip flexor) and Chris Singleton (fractured left foot) both sat out the game. ... Ariza left the game late in the first half after straining his right hamstring while attempting to run down Leonard on a fast break. Ariza gingerly walked toward Washingtons bench after grabbing Leonards arm from behind to prevent a layup. ... The Wizards have not beaten the Spurs since a 99-89 victory Dec. 11, 1999, in San Antonio. 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