Leafs fire Babcock...
As per TSN:
Head coach Mike Babcock has been fired by the Toronto Maple Leafs after a disappointing 9-10-4 start to the season, the team announced.
Sheldon Keefe has been named the Club’s new head coach.
Babcock signed an eight-year, $50 million contract on May 25, 2015 with the hope he could lead the Maple Leafs to their first Stanley Cup championship since 1967.
“Mike’s commitment and tireless work ethic has put our organization in a better place and we are extremely grateful and appreciative of the foundation he has helped us build here," Leafs president Brendan Shanahan said in a release. “At this time, we collectively felt that it was best to make a change to Sheldon Keefe. Sheldon’s record with the Marlies in terms of development and on-ice success during his time in our organization has compelled us all to feel that he is the right person to take us to the next stage in our evolution.”
After missing the playoffs in his first season behind the bench, Toronto posted a 40-27-15 in 2016-17 to earn their first postseason appearance since 2013, thanks in large part to the arrivals of rookie forwards Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander as well as goalie Frederik Andersen. The Leafs fell in the opening round to the Washington Capitals in six games, but there was hope in the organization and fan base that the team was moving in the right direction.
Babcock led the Leafs to 49 wins and a 105-point season in 2017-18, their best point total in franchise history. Their regular season success ended with playoff disappointment as the Leafs fell to the rival Boston Bruins in seven games in the first round.
Year four under Babcock saw the Maple Leafs put up 100 points during the regular season once again, but were met with a similar fate in the playoffs. Toronto’s season ended with a Game 7 opening round loss at TD Garden for the third time in seven years as the Blue and White were hammered by the Bruins, 5-1.
Babcock and the Maple Leafs entered this season with the most pressure on them in years after locking up Matthews, Marner and Nylander to long-term, big-money deals plus adding a handful of new players to the lineup.
Following this season, the 56-year-old Babcock still has three years and $18.75 million left on his contract.
Prior to joining the Maple Leafs, Babcock spent a decade with the Detroit Red Wings, winning a Stanley Cup in 2008. He spent his first two years as an NHL head coach with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, leading them to the Stanley Cup Final in his rookie season in 2002-03.
The Saskatoon native has coached Canada to two Olympic gold medals in 2010 and 2014.