Wednesday January 7th, 2015

Who do you get a coach a team that's been deemed “uncoachable”?

NHL
NHL Roundtable: What's next in Toronto; hot teams for real?; more

For the Toronto Maple Leafs, the answer is Peter Horachek ... at least on an interim basis.

Horachek was tabbed on Wednesday to replace Randy Carlyle in a move that is utterly devoid of sizzle but loaded with implications for the men wearing the blue and white.

That GM Dave Nonis temporarily handed the baton to one of Carlyle's former assistants makes it clear that no one's job is safe. Not Horachek, who can—and almost certainly will—be replaced as soon as a higher profile candidate can be identified. And not the players, who no longer have Carlyle's archaic system to shield them from their own failings.

And if anyone on the team really is uncoachable, as Carlyle's own predecessor Ron Wilson suggested, they have half a season to get their heads on straight or get their bags packed.

Wilson made headlines on Tuesday when he suggested that the blame for the team's failures lie with its star players.

NHL
Shakeup looming for Bruins; Maple Leafs to be schooled by Caps?; more

“Some of the core players have failed under two or three different coaches, so it’s got to be the player’s fault,” he told TSN 1290.

“I think you can win with Phil Kessel,” Wilson said. “[But] you can’t rely on Phil. It’s just the way it is. He comes and goes, and he gets emotional. He lets that affect his game and his relationship with other players.”

• Video: Kessel jumps ugly with beat reporter after blunt question

Wilson also mentioned young defensemen Jake Gardiner and Morgan Rielly as difficult players. Both have been the subjects of criticism in the past.

Horachek's first game behind the bench is tonight against Barry Trotz and the Washington Capitals. Horachek spent 10 seasons as Trotz's assistant in Nashville.

• With Carlyle gone pressure is now squarely on the Maple Leafs players

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.