Toronto Maple Leafs: Were They Right to Fire Dave Nonis and Peter Horachek?


Toronto Maple Leafs: Were They Right to Fire Dave Nonis and Peter Horachek?

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The Toronto Maple Leafs have announced the firing of General Manager Dave Nonis and interim head coach Peter Horachek. The moves come just a day after the Leafs completed a season which saw them finish with the fourth-worst record in the NHL.

In many respects, these decisions come as little surprise. However, it could be argued Nonis and Hornachek have been unfairly treated by Leafs President Brendan Shanahan, especially after the team intentionally decided to tank the season – whether they admit this or not.

Mar 21, 2015; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs head Coach Peter Horachek calls out to his team on the ice during the third period against the Ottawa Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre. The Senators defeated the Maple Leafs 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Nonis took over as GM after the Leafs fired Brian Burke. He was responsible for several moves which were met with strong criticism, including the long-term contracts handed out to captain Dion Phaneuf and star winger Phil Kessel.

Nonis finished with a record of 94-97-21 in his position of GM. He initially joined the Leafs in December 2008 as Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations.

Horachek suffered a nightmare after taking over as interim head coach, going 9-28-5, including a 1-19-3 record on the road. It’s also worth noting that the Leafs were seven points ahead of the Ottawa Senators when Randy Carlyle was fired.

As reported by Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun, other coaches fired by the Leafs included Steve Spott, Chris Dennis and Rick St. Croix. One person fortunate to avoid the axe was Steve Staios, who will return to his duties as manager of player development, after finishing the season behind the bench.

It will be interesting to see what Shanahan and the Leafs decide to do next, with it being strongly rumoured that they will pursue Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock. In terms of Nonis’ position, assistant general manager Kyle Dubas and director of player personnel Mark Hunter will split GM duties on an interim basis.