Maple Leafs hire Spott and Horachek as assistant coaches

New Toronto Maple Leafs assistant coach Steve Spott. (QMI Agency)

New Toronto Maple Leafs assistant coach Steve Spott. (QMI Agency)

Lance Hornby, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:48 PM ET

TORONTO - A Maple Leafs team that one insider called “way too stiff” during its lost season should be a lot more loose now.

With outside criticism of head coach Randy Carlyle and the leadership group under captain Dion Phaneuf linked to the club’s shoddy defensive play and its spring collapse, the promised bench help arrived Friday after a two-month search.

Marlies coach Steve Spott, who made a positive impact on the farm in just one year and has a history with current Leafs David Clarkson and Nazem Kadri, was named assistant coach, along with former Florida Panthers head coach Peter Horachek.

“Part of the changes we’re making is in the atmosphere,” general manager Dave Nonis said. “That’s not a knock against the other coaches (Dave Farrish, Scott Gordon and Greg Cronin were all fired in May). But developing relationships with a player now is probably as big around the league as anything. Players have to want to play for you.”


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