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Leafs Fire Head Coach Mike Babcock After Troubling Start to Season

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 23: Head Coach Mike Babcock of the Toronto Maple Leafs exits the ice after the Maple Leafs lost 5-1 to the Boston Bruins in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden on April 23, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Toronto Maple Leafs v Boston Bruins - Game Seven | Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

This was supposed to be a make-or-break season for Mike Babcock and the Toronto Maple Leafs. An expensive payroll which includes the likes of Auston Matthews, John Tavares and Mitch Marner has not delivered, and the Leafs are making a move before things get out of control.

Babcock had been one of the most expensive head coaches in all of hockey, and one of the more experienced.

Nonetheless, his time in Toronto is now up.

The Leafs are fifth in the Atlantic division and have just one regulation win in their last 10 games. The last two defeats -- 6-1 at the hands of Pittsburgh and 4-2 against Vegas -- have been particularly frustrating, and forced Brendan Shanahan's hand, as his job could also be in jeopardy should Toronto fail to turn things around.

Firing a coach as experienced as Babcock likely isn't due to resume reasons. If anything, it's to light a fire under this talented group and turn things around. The comments of stars such as Matthews really haven't made a difference.

Unfortunately for Babcock, he's just a casualty of a necessary reaction to poor play.