Coyote ugly! Changes needed

LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:02 AM ET

PHOENIX -- That wasn't a pre-recorded howl of a Coyote after five goals against the Toronto Maple Leafs last night. It was the sound of fans all the way from Toronto, howling for someone's blue and white scalp.

Whether it's GM John Ferguson, coach Paul Maurice, goalie Andrew Raycroft or any number of error-prone defencemen or unproductive forwards, some kind of change is needed and we don't mean last night's token benching of Jiri Tlusty.

Almost every other struggling team in the NHL has made a move and if it's not as drastic as purging the GM as the Dallas Stars did, or the firing of coaches in Atlanta and Washington, and if the salary cap won't fit a trade, then it has to be a significant benching or call-up.

Though the Leafs are big on promoting past glory, losing 5-1 in the middle of the desert to a no-name team that plays at Jobing.com Arena gives no hint of an illustrious future. They began the night in 12th place and the Coyotes' victory now leaves the Leafs at 8-11-5, just four points out of last place in the conference. The Leafs have played more games than almost everyone in the league, too.

Just by getting an earful from captain Shane Doan a few days ago and then adding a new body in goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, Phoenix has gone from 3-6 to 8-4.

Ferguson has been under the gun since last season for trades and free-agent signings that haven't worked, but Maurice will have a hard time explaining how the Leafs let Friday's 3-1 loss in Dallas bleed into a horrible start last night.

With Raycroft missing another chance to re-establish himself in goal and the Bryan McCabe-Tomas Kaberle tandem on for three early goals, the Leafs sunk lower. While not as animated as his Nov. 6 rant in Ottawa, Maurice could coax only one goal out of the Leafs, who looked terrible on a 5-on-3 in the second.

Darcy Tucker and Mark Bell dropped the gloves in a noble attempt at sparking the team, but it would be more useful if they got around to raising their hands in goal celebrations.


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