Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Paul Maurice: Death of a Salesman?

I’m trying to think of bright spots from the Leafs 2008-09 season and not many are coming to mind.

Big comeback wins over the Rangers and Flyers, the emergence of Ian White, a first round pick that softened the blow from each loss, all the pre-trade deadline day chatter (back when fans thought Leaf players were actually worth something) and the sweet feeling when coaches were fired after losses to the Leafs. Both Michel Therrien in Pittsburgh and Tom Renney in New York were cashiered after their clubs fell to my beloved Blue and White.

Now, I’m not one to take pleasure in the suffering of others, but as a Leaf fan I have to take whatever bright spots I can find.

Fast forward a year and there haven’t been too many more bright spots for the Leafs.

Thirteen games in there’s Jonas Gustavsson grabbing the starter’s job, the debut of Phil Kessel, and Kaberle’s premier production. Sadly, that’s about it.

That may change when the Leafs play the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday. Not only will the Leafs have a shot at getting win #2 (good Lord, how low have I sunk? I’ve been reduced to hoping for a win per month) but they may also have a second shot at axing Carolina Hurricanes head coach Paul Maurice.

The Canes have floundered out of the gate with an atrocious 2-8-3 2-9-3 start including losses in nine, possibly 10 straight (as of this writing, they’re on the ice against the Panthers).

Given the horrific start, I’m sure Maurice has advised Canes fans to load up on some (iced?) Chamomile tea to help them through these troubling times.

Or maybe not, after a decade of this Canes fans should be used to Maurice’s, um, performance. In his 10 years behind the bench in Carolina, he’s made the post season just four times (he’s four for 12 in his NHL career) and his overall coaching record isn’t even .500.

When you think about it, Paul Maurice is the Willy Loman of the NHL. Great with words, not so great at delivering results. Totally convinced that his lackluster teams are destined for truly great things. (I guess that makes the 2007 Stanley Cup bound Toronto Maple Leafs Hap Loman. Always thinking they can find happiness with a new UFA, meant for greater things than their actual talent and abilities would suggest, helmed by a coach who looked at a thin, talentless club and saw 23 men that could challenge for the Cup).

Paul Maurice may be wonderful in front of a microphone, but I'd argue he's incompetent behind the bench. If the Leafs hand the Canes their 11th 12th straight loss don't be surprised if he's the first coaching casualty of the young season.


  1. It's very true that Paul Maurice has done quite a mediocre job as the coach of the Canes, especially with the likes of Staal, Brind'amour, Whitney, Ward, etc but I don't think the administration would fire him so early after he went as far as he did in the playoffs last year.

    He may not have made it pretty, but the Canes-Bruins series last year was beyond exciting. The conference finals give credit to a coach no matter what, and I think he's going to be given a longer chance to dig himself out of this hole, especially with Staal now out of the line up.

    Did you check the standings by the way? Leafs aren't last anymore!! Time to put a couple points in between Leafs and the Canes while chasing the Wild. Brett Hull always said that when goals are coming, as long as chances are, the problem will solve itself eventually. The Leafs definitely have the chances and let's hope this applies to teams as well!

  2. Anonymous9:28 am

    Let's not forget that Maurice was once fired not long after bring an awful Hurricanes team to the Stanley Cup final in the early 2000's....

  3. A most apt comparison. Nicely done, MF.

  4. Anonymous2:19 pm

    Cnaes fan here, unfortunatley our GM has us handcuffed as we still continue to pay for Laviolette as well. Coach Mo, pains me to say this, is not going to go. At least not yet.

  5. Anonymous6:41 pm

    i like mo and all but his style of coaching...yelling? threatening? no strategy, no power plays, too simplistic basic hockey....seems hopeless. he doesn't have that special something of intuitiveness as a coach but no way jr will have egg on his face by paying TWO coaches full salaries then having a third coach come in and maybe not do any better? and pk also (owner) ain't going to either. last night was less painful but not sure why francis isn't helping either. i like mo but i wonder if he shouldn't go back to the ahl rather than be in the nhl. he has too many good players for them to have the record they have right now. doesn't make sense.