It seems like ages ago that the Toronto Maple Leafs were in the midst of a two-month-long downward spiral in the Eastern Conference standings. Toronto has won nine out of its last 11 games, snapping its funk and changing the direction of its season almost on a dime.
So why the sudden turnaround? General manager Dave Nonis met with the team and threatened the job security of everyone in the room, from coaches to players, according to a report from SportsNet's Chris Johnston.
This was only a couple weeks ago and the atmosphere in the dressing room couldn't have been any different than it is right now. Tensions were extremely high following a couple embarrassing losses and, according to one confidant, coach Randy Carlyle even feared that his job might be in danger. A few of his players had good reason to wonder if they might be shipped out of town, too.
The GM declined to discuss the meeting when approached by Sportsnet earlier this week and none of the Leaf players was willing to speak about it on the record.
As the report points out, this is highly unusual behavior from a general manager. So far, Nonis has kept his word. Defensemen John Michael-Liles and Mark Fraser have both been traded away since the new year began, and Nonis is reportedly telling teams Nikolai Kulemin is available as well.
Nonis seems dedicated to making the playoffs again this season at whatever cost, and his players and coaches have received the message.