Toronto Maple Leafs fire coach Mike Babcock following slow start to 2019-20 season

After a disappointing start to the 2019-20 season, the Toronto Maple Leafs announced on Wednesday that coach Mike Babcock has been relieved of his duties. Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan added in the announcement that Sheldon Keefe will serve as the team's interim coach.

Babcock had served as the Maple Leafs coach since 2015.

Toronto is 9-10 this season and has lost its past six games. Most recently, Toronto dropped a 4-2 decision to the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday.

Babcock accumulated a 173-133 record in his five seasons with the franchise. 

The Maple Leafs were expected to be one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference this season, but haven't been able to get past early-season struggles. Toronto is in fifth place in the Atlantic Division with only 22 points.

Toronto was banking on its core group of John Tavares, Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, but Tavares and Marner have only combined to score 10 goals during the 2019-20 season.

Following a successful tenure with the Detroit Red Wings, Babcock never led the Maple Leafs out of the opening round of the playoffs. Toronto failed to reach the postseason in his first campaign and was eliminated in the first round the past three seasons.  The Maple Leafs lost to the Boston Bruins in seven games in each of the past two postseasons.

The Maple Leafs will begin to move on from the Babcock era Thursday when they take on the Arizona Coyotes.

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