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.