Burke: Wilson “Safe” as Leafs Coach
Paul Hunter of the Toronto Star reports that the job ofÂ Ron Wilson remains safe for the moment as the Head Coach received yet another vote of confidence from GM Brian Burke. Wilson has drawn the ire of Leafs Nation on a number of occasions over the past couple seasons every time the team has gone into any sort of prolonged struggle, but Burke remained steadfast in his support for his friend:
â€œIâ€™m told (Wilson) got blasted in the media today. Let me ask you a question. Did Ron play poorly last night? No. Why donâ€™t you guys focus on the players who played poorly last night instead of questioning the coach? Itâ€™s a very bizarre twist to this market place that when players play poorly, the coach gets hollered at. This is new for me. In Vancouver when the players played poorly, the players got blasted so Iâ€™m perplexed by this.â€
So in Vancouver… the fans are tougher on the players than the coach… Interesting. On a completely unrelated note, here’s what Burke had to say about the fans booing Dion Phaneuf:
“All the time I worked in Vancouver I donâ€™t think I ever had a player booed.”
Well, I’m stumped. Anyways…
By laying the blame primarily on the team’s on-ice product, it’s patently clear that Burke is itching to make a move to upgrade his roster. With both “cap room and budget room” created by the Finger demotion, the club is listening in intently on any possible trade talks around the league. There were rumors swirling a few weeks ago regarding a smaller depth move to pick up a bottom six forward with some size or jam ala Blake Wheeler or David Clarkson, but club’s #1 priority remains the search for a bonafide top line pivot to complement Kessel.
Your say: when should Wilson’s job be in jeopardy? And which candidates would be in consideration to take over?
From Matt Bracken:
To steal the immortal words of Jerry Maguire “Don’t worry, I am not gonna do what you all think I’m gonna do, which is, you know, FLIP out!” but you could almost hear the collective groan of Leafs nation when Buffalo Sabre forward Jochen Hecht scored at the 19:46 mark of the third period last night to tie the score at two goals apiece.Â An awful shootout performanceÂ later and the BudsÂ ultimately went on to lose the gameÂ 3-2 to theÂ Sabres.Â Â The Leafs hadnâ€™t played a flawless game by any means but they werenâ€™t at their absolute worst either and probably deserved the much needed two points that were up for grabs.Â
It was a finish that was all too familiar to Leafs fans from last season when coughing up leads late into the third period became almost an expected event.Â The fact is the Leafs are clearly in a tailspin and since winning the first four games of the 2010/11 season have had the following results:
|October 18th, 2010||2-1 loss (OT) vs. N.Y. Islanders|
|October 21st, 2010||2-1 loss vs. N.Y. Rangers|
|October 23rd, 2010||5-2 loss @ Philadelphia|
|October 26th, 2010||3-1 win vs. Florida|
|October 28th, 2010||2-0 loss @ Boston|
|October 30th, 2010||2-0 loss vs. N.Y. Rangers|
|November 2nd, 2010||3-2 loss vs. Ottawa|
|November 3rd, 2010||5-4 loss (OT) @ Washington|
|November 6th, 2010||3-2 loss (OT) vs. Buffalo|
A nine game stretch with only one set of back-to-back games and six of nine games on home ice which has seen only one regulation time victory, three overtime/shootout losses and five regulation time losses â€“ gaining only five out of a possible eighteen points.Â The Leafs scored 15 goals (1.6 per game) and gave up 24 (2.6 per game) over the past nine games and there special teams havenâ€™t been overly impressive:
|Totals||4/32 (12.5%)||21/29 (72%)|
As you can see the power play has been anything but powerful and the early season penalty killing efficiency has suddenly looked less effective overall.Â We canâ€™t panic after only 13 games into an NHL season but at some point this ship needs to be righted as the Leafs are stumbling badly and now sit at 5-5-3 on the year â€“ alone in 11thÂ place in the Eastern Conference.
What adjustments, rosterÂ movesÂ or strategy changes do the Leafs need to make in your opinion?Â Is it a matter of continued patience and hard work or is the obvious weakness (scoring) started to rear its ugly head over the past nine contests?