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Leafs fire head coach Wilson, name Carlyle replacement

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TSN.ca Staff
3/3/2012 10:14:34 AM
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The Toronto Maple Leafs' slide out of a playoff position has cost head coach Ron Wilson his job.

The club relieved Wilson of his duties on Friday evening after nearly four seasons in Toronto. Taking over for Wilson will be former Anaheim Ducks coach Randy Carlyle.

The Leafs, who only have one win in their last 11 games, have fallen out of a playoff spot, and currently sit in 12th place in the Eastern Conference.

"This was not an easy decision for me to make," general manager Brian Burke said in a statement. "I want to thank Ron for all of his hard work and dedication to our organization over the past four seasons."

The move comes just a few months after Wilson was given a one-year contract extension in late December.

Carlyle, who has signed a contract with the team for three years after this season, has a history with Burke, as the two were together during the Ducks Stanley Cup title in 2007. 

Carlyle was replaced by Bruce Boudreau as head coach of the Ducks last December after the team opened the season with a 7-13-4 record.

"He's not a sensitive guy and he's not going to hug you after you come off the ice after a bad shift," NHL on TSN analyst Keith Jones said on Friday.  "This is a tough, hard-nosed hockey coach that knows how to win."

"All the things that Brian Burke wanted from a hockey club when he came and talked about what he wanted to do with the Maple Leafs, that's the way Randy Carlyle's teams play." former Carolina Hurricanes and Maple Leafs coach Paul Maurice said on the NHL on TSN.  "You saw it in Anaheim, very physical." 

"They played a mean game, a hard game."

NHL on NBC studio analyst Jeremy Roenick was on the Team 1040 Radio in Vancouver and said that he was surprised by the change.  The former NHL'er also stated that he felt things were going to get tougher for the current Leafs.

"All those players in the Maple Leafs locker room are going to wish they played harder and more correctly for Ron Wilson," Roenick said.

Chants of "Fire Wilson!" echoed through Air Canada Centre when the Maple Leafs fell 5-3 to the Florida Panthers on (Tuesday) Feb. 28. The game marked Wilson's 1,400th career NHL game coached, tying him with Pat Quinn for fourth on the all-time list.

Hired in 2008, Wilson was unable to guide the Maple Leafs to the playoffs during his tenure. The team currently owns the NHL's second-longest playoff drought at seven years.

Wilson recorded a 34-35-13 mark in his first season as head coach with the Maple Leafs, the club finishing 12th in the Eastern Conference. The following year, the team posted a 30-38-14 record and finished last in the Conference. Last season, Wilson had his first winning season with the Maple Leafs, going 37-34-11, which was good enough for 10th in the Conference.

Through 64 games this season, the Maple Leafs have 65 points and a 29-28-7 record.  Wilson leaves the Toronto with a 130-135-45 record overall with the Leafs.

Carlyle becomes the 16th man to have both played for the Maple Leafs and then taken on the reins as the team's coach.

The Maple Leafs also announced that assistant coach Rob Zettler has been reassigned to other duties within the organization.

RonWilson (Photo: Marianne Helm/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Marianne Helm/Getty Images)
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