The Toronto Maple Leafs, off to the worst start in their history, fired coach Doug Carpenter on Friday. Several players criticized the decision.
"Firing the coach doesn't mean we will go 10-1-1; there's still a lot of problems with this team," said forward John Kordic, whom Carpenter has seldom used this season. "Firing the coach will not solve all the problems."
Forward Ed Olczyk said that Carpenter wasn't solely to blame for the club's 1-9-1 record.
"There is no need to be pointing fingers, blaming other guys," Olczyk said. "You have to blame yourself."
The Maple Leafs arrived home from an 8-5 loss at St. Louis about 4 a.m. Friday, and there was a note for Carpenter at his hotel summoning him to a meeting with general manager Floyd Smith.
By 8 a.m., Carpenter was fired, headed home to Cornwall, Ontario, and unavailable for comment.
Carpenter compiled a 39-46-5 record and last season directed the Leafs to their first .500 record in 11 years.
Smith said assistant Tom Watt would take over on an interim basis, and the hunt was on for the Leafs' 12th coach in 13 seasons.