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Leafs sign coach Randy Carlyle to 2-year contract extension

3 assistant coaches let go

Randy Carlyle
The Canadian Press

Despite a late-season collapse that sent the Leafs to the golf course, Randy Carlyle is sticking around as the team's head coach.

The Leafs have extended Carlyle's contract by two years while parting ways with assistant coaches Dave Farrish, Greg Cronin and Scott Gordon.

There had been speculation that the disastrous end to this season would mean the end of Carlyle's time in Toronto, especially after Brendan Shanahan signed on as Leafs president a few weeks ago. But general manager Dave Nonis says he and Shanahan "decided together that Randy Carlyle was the right person to lead this team."

"In Randy, we know that we have a leader who has enjoyed a high level of success as both a player and a coach, including a Stanley Cup championship," Nonis said in a statement. "It was important that the positives Randy brings to our team were not overshadowed by a finish to the season that we all must take responsibility for."

Toronto went 2-12-0 in its last 14 games under Carlyle after being as high as second place in the Atlantic Division.

"I appreciate the support of Brendan, Dave and the entire organization and am looking forward to working with them to get the Maple Leafs back into the playoffs," said Carlyle. "We have a strong foundation here and everyone wants to get back to work to deliver the results that we know this team is capable of."

Newstalk 1010 Sports guy Mike Toth thinks the bench boss has a short rope though when it comes to delivering those results. He says the incoming assistant coaches could be key.

"I think what they need now is some upbeat assistant coaches, maybe to blend with Randy's hard rock approach and make the dressing room a little bit more player-friendly," says Toth.

He says the good cop/bad cop approach could help get the most out of Captain Dion Phaneuf, Phil Kessel and David Clarkson, who all struggled this season.

"Maybe everybody can take a deep breath and maybe have a little bit more fun. Because fun is the operative word when you're dealing with a pressure-packed environment like Toronto. It can't be negative all the time."

Carlyle led the Leafs to the playoffs in the lockout-shortened 2013 season, the club's first post-season appearance since 2004. But their post-season run ended with a spectacular breakdown as the Leafs lost to the Bruins in the Eastern Conference quarter-finals after blowing a three-goal, third-period lead in Game 7.

Carlyle replaced Ron Wilson as coach when he was fired in March of 2012, months after Wilson signed a contract extension.

In parts of Carlyle's three seasons with Toronto the Leafs have a 70-62-16 record.

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