Ok everybody, just breathe.
You’ve had some time to sleep on yesterday’s big decision. It’s not the end of the world, although it sure seemed that way on Twitter when news of Randy’s non-firing and extension broke.
Overall, there was a lot of negativity surrounding Shanahan’s first big decision, which was to keep the incumbent coach that lead the Leafs to one of the worst defensive performances in history. Sure, most of that negativity is completely 100 percent justified considering how the season played out, but everyone deserves a second chance in my opinion.
Seriously, why do we always have to be so negative about this team all the time? And don’t say years of experience.
What we all need to do right now is be optimistic and look on the bright side. What I’ve done here is compiled some best case scenarios for the future under our leader and likely saviour, Randy Carlyle. This is for those that are having a trouble seeing the light that Carlyle may soon shine on Leafs Nation.
Best Case Scenarios for the Leafs Under Randy Carlyle
1. Leafs Finally Find Identity
First things first, Randy goes on a vision quest with Dave Nonis over the summer to find the Maple Leafs missing identity. During this quest, Randy finds all the answers that were missing during the late season collapse. He informs Dave of his new found knowledge just in time for free agency season where Nonis signs ____________ (rugged gritty defensive stalwart), _____________ (grizzled veteran who grew up idolizing the Leafs) and of course _____________ (a proven winner who mucks and grinds like he can’t do any other hockey thing).
Finally, Carlyle will have the team he has envisioned in his dreams. With their newfound identity and having the right guys who are proven winners, the Leafs cruise to the playoffs as the wins just pile up thanks to grit, heart, leadership, high compete level, and other hockey buzzwords that haven’t been invented yet.
2. The Full Randy 3: Compete for Glory
If we’ve learned anything from the Hangover movie franchise, it’s that the first movie raised expectations far too high, the second movie was the same as the first one except everything was worse, and the third one crashed and burned and no one wanted to watch it anymore because of how bad that second one was.
Basically, if this upcoming season were a movie, it’s part three.
-Nonis signs more Carlyle players, ships out non-Carlyle players.
-Nonis resists urge to trade first round draft pick for 2015 after a scary dream he had. He calls Brian Burke the next morning to discuss what it all means.
-The season starts and the new players are very bad
-Carlyle surmises that they aren’t competing hard enough.
-Kessel, Phaneuf, and Bernier collide and tangle their legs together causing them all to simultaneously tear their ACL and MCLs in the seventh game of the season.
-All three are out for the season.
-Leafs who are still very bad, have now become worse.
-Carlyle continues not having any answers, double shifts Colton Orr because he tries the hardest out there.
-Carlyle goes full Randy, makes the craziest line-up choices yet. (No spoilers)
-Leafs continue their downward spiral into the abyss known as “worse than Buffalo” due to said decisions.
-Leafs finish 29th ahead of a rival team.
-Leafs win Draft Lottery over said rival team (this is the part of the movie with triumphant music and slow motion cheering).
-Through some miracle, the Leafs manage to not screw it up and choose McJesus at number one.
-Leiweke erects a statue of McDavid at the ACC before he plays a single game and begins planning the parade.
-Shanahan fires Carlyle, Nonis, and literally everyone in the front office (in the movie this scene is very dramatic, but a nice happy ending for everyone because the bad guys get fired).
-I buy a McDavid jersey and draft him in my fantasy keeper league and win for seven years straight (I’m not actually in this made-up movie, I just felt this was relevant).
3. Leafs Solve Internal Metrics Issues
By the Leafs internal metrics, the Leafs actually had a fine season. If anything they were a team on the rise with some luck issues according to some sources inside the organization.
Contrary to popular belief, the Leafs actually do look at some fancy stats within the organization including a modified version of Fenwick (shots + missed shots). While sites like ExtraSkater.com show that the Leafs got worse as the year went on, the reason Carlyle was so confused was actually because their internal metrics had it the other way around. The Leafs were actually getting more fenwicks than the other guys as the year went on. They’ve especially improved since Carlyle got here.
I was a bit skeptical of all this though, being an avid fancy-statter, so I asked to see some of the data since Carlyle’s arrival as head coach.
Oh boy… I’ll let them know they’ve been holding the charts upside down. Don’t worry guys this will be fixed soon just a silly mistake.
No wonder Randy was so confused during the late season collapse!
4. Proven Winner Once More
Something a lot of people seem to forget is that Randy’s a proven winner. He’s got a Cup. Who’s to say he can’t win another one? Especially since he was the sole reason the Ducks won. He was their leader, a true visionary.
With that being said, I really think Randy can do it again. I mean, he didn’t exactly have much that the Leafs don’t right now. Let’s look at the facts.
French-Canadian goalie who stops a large number of pucks no matter how many are thrown at him? Yup.
40 goal right winger whose boyish good looks make ladies and gentlemen around the city swoon? Yup.
Overrated shutdown centre who doesn’t provide much else? Yup.
Undrafted first line centre who would be a second line centre on most other teams who came straight from college? Yup.
Minute eating defenceman who doesn’t really score much but is pretty effective at shutting guys down, despite what fans may think of him? Yup.
See. It’s all there. The Leafs this year are pretty much exactly like the Ducks that won the Cup.
*checks roster again*
Oh yeah, two hall of fame defencemen… Hmm, we could use some of those…
An entire line of soon to be elite young talent on entry level contracts… Umm, well that must be nice to have nice things like that.
Well you know, none of that matters. All that matters is the following chart that just proves that Randy knows what he’s doing so just shut up okay.
5. Carlyle Too Smart For NHL; Recruited by NASA
Remember when Carlyle said concussions are caused by helmet sweat? Turns out he was on to something after all. It’s discovered that 99% of concussions occur when players wear helmets. Numbers don’t lie.
Since Carlyle was the brains behind the discovery, he becomes a revered mind in the science community. He gets offered many, many jobs once he leaves the Leafs (just as predicted by Toronto mainstream media). It’s a tough choice, but he decides to take his talents to NASA because he always dreamed about being an astronaut.
Carlyle’s mission? First manned voyage to the sun.
He’s skeptical at first, but he soon realizes that because he’ll be wearing a helmet so close to such a high temperature, he’ll be able to fully test his hypothesis on the connection between brain sweat and brain damage.
He seems really thrilled about it. Science!
Basically, what I’m saying is that just because Carlyle was extended doesn’t mean there’s reason to be a bunch of Debbie Downers or Negative Nancy’s.
Just be optimistic! Have some faith!
Something good might happen next year! Something good always happens to Leafs fans!
*horrible flashbacks of the last two years occur*
Oh right. That stuff.
Yup, we’re doomed.
Special thanks goes to Steve Tzemis who photoshopped the following photos while I was working:
-Mr. Golden Carlyle