If you follow the game of Hockey, you likely felt this was coming. On Wednesday, the Toronto Maple Leafs fired their coach Mike Babcock after sputtering to a disappointing start.
First off, the Leafs have lost six in a row. While having one of the most talented rosters in the league on paper – something is lost in translation. Furthermore, a 9-10-4 start finally got Babcock fired for the first time in his significant career. Right now, he has 700 career wins as a head coach.
The Leafs have fired head coach Mike Babcock. pic.twitter.com/a3keOLRgbz
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) November 20, 2019
The Maple Leafs released a statement regarding the move:
“Today, we made the decision to relieve Mike Babcock of his coaching duties and named Sheldon Keefe our new head coach,” Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan said in the team’s press release. “Over parts of the last five seasons, Mike has played an integral role in changing the direction of our franchise.”
To be honest – as someone who has followed Toronto from afar – they have not achieved what they should have. With superstars like Auston Matthews and Jon Tavares – to only name a couple – the fact they are without a Stanley Cup Finals appearance is daunting.
Furthermore, the Leafs entered this season as +1000 to win the Stanley Cup; the fourth highest team in that category. What this means is they were supposed to be a great team.
All of this of course isn’t to say Babcock didn’t have some good moments. He was hired in 2015, and the Maple Leafs went 173-133-45 in 351 regular season games over his five-season tenure. This includes an 8-12 record in three consecutive post-season appearances.
Now, they’re a team looking for direction. Don’t be surprised if they get hot out of nowhere just due to a change in what might have become a stale voice. Sometimes, that happens in sports.