The coach was fired Tuesday because of the inability to get his team to play in a consistent manner through the first three months of the season, according to David Nonis, the team's senior vice president and general manager.
"One of the things you have all heard me say since training camp is we felt we need to see some level of consistency, and I think we would all agree we've shown some good stretches, but I don't think I can stand in front of you and say we have been consistent," Nonis said at a Tuesday morning press conference. "We just felt that at this point that this was the right time to make the change and move ahead and try to get this team playing like we have been during periods of this season."
Nonis would not commit to how long Horachek and Spott will be in charge of the bench.
"We're going to look at that over the next couple of days," he said. "We have two quality guys that have been head coaches that are going to be behind the bench tomorrow night. We'll approach how we are going to handle the coaching duties over the next couple of days. Today was not the time frame for that.
"We'll spend the next couple of days looking at our options. There is a process you want to go through when you let someone go. There is a right way and a wrong way of doing it. We knew we had a game tomorrow night and we were focused on that and we have capable people that can lead us on the ice tomorrow. Beyond that, we haven't made any decisions."
The Maple Leafs are 21-16-3 and hold the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, but have gone 3-7-0 in their past 10 games after starting the season at a blistering 18-9-3 pace. The team just completed a 2-5-0 road trip, finishing with a 5-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday.