Dear Leafs Nation,
First and foremost, I would like to express my sincerest gratitude for welcoming me into your historic organization so openly. It’s an absolute pleasure to serve as head coach of one of the most stories franchises in NHL history. And, as the highest paid coach in NHL history, I understand that expectations are at an all-time high—and rightfully so. However, as we embark on the 2015-16 NHL season, I would like to take a moment to clear the air and temper expectations accordingly.
I’d like to begin by reminding everyone that Phil Kessel is gone. Yes, I celebrated a little bit inside too, but that also means we lost one of only three players to score 20 or more goals last season. This is a fact not to be taken lightly. In fact, the Maple Leafs finished seventh-worst in the league in total goals scored last season. All things being equal, losing Phil’s 25 goals would put us at fourth-worst in the league—right above the New Jersey Devils (and, let’s be honest, the Devils couldn’t find the back of the net with two sticks and a flashlight).
Now, I wish I could tell you that our defense could help offset our poor goal production, similar to the Montreal Canadiens. Unfortunately, we aren’t too good in that category, either. We let in a lot of goals last year. Fifth-most, in fact. And we didn’t do much to help improve those stats during the offseason.
But hey, we did get rid of that coach-killer Phil Kessel, amiright?
Oh, but we still do have Dion Phaneuf. Hmm. We’ll address that later…like, at the trade deadline later. I hear my former employer is looking for some defensive “help.”
Speaking of my former employer, I thoroughly enjoyed my time behind the bench of the Detroit Red Wings. Winning the Stanley Cup was a dream come true, and I hope to repeat that feat again one day—but that’s not why I came to the Leafs. I mean, who could pass up the boatload of money you offered me!
I kid, I kid…I think…
Anyway, with the Red Wings we made it into the playoffs in each of the 10 years I was behind the bench. Now, I don’t want to give Leafs fans false hope, so I will put it plainly: We will not make the playoffs this year. Or next. Heck, there’s a good chance we don’t make the playoffs at all while I’m your head coach.
Now, this may seem counterproductive since you’re paying me like three times as much as any other coach in the league because I’m the best coach in the league, right? I mean, I won a Stanley Cup with the Red Wings and two gold medals with Team Canada. Well, I’ll be honest. Sidney did most of the heavy lifting on those Canada teams. They offered me free tacos and I couldn’t say no to tacos! Those teams basically could have coached themselves. Plus, thank the Lord for those selfish Russians! You can’t all have the puck at the same time! Silly Russians.
So I got off on a bit of a tangent there, but like I said, my main goal here is to temper expectations and make sure we’re all on the same page entering the “Mike Babcock era.” The truth is, we don’t have the talent to be competitive this year. Next year is questionable as well. As one of the best coaches in the game today, it’s my professional opinion that we should just take the next eight years off. I mean, we’re all making $6 million-plus every year, so why not?
Haha, anyway, good luck Leafs. I’m sure it will be a fun season. I need to call Kenny back to see what his plans are eight years from now.