Some Insight on a Nightmare Start


    What follows is a transcript from a recent conversation with a source:

    Alec: “The goaltending situation is a poison that negatively infiltrates a club in so many ways and until that’s consolidated I’m not going to make too many judgments. Komisarek has the makings of a flop if he doesn’t learn how to take a clean hit without retaliating and putting us down men for key goals. Beauchemin’s overextending himself and it could very well be a result of the lack of trust in the man between the pipes. Offensively, Burke and Wilson’s approach has increasingly got me worried. A bottom six in the modern game needs the ability to cycle and grind down blueliners and some of the current crew is incapable of getting down there in time to forecheck let alone handle the puck and possess it for any length of time. There’s too much pressure on players that in the past have overperformed in a pressure-free environment (i.e. Stajan) because certain players in the bottom six are playing two minutes a game and in no way providing complementary scoring. I fear the by-committee offensive approach that has surprised for us since the lockout has been lost in trying to overdose pure pugilism in the bottom six… there’s no ’08-’09 Dominic Moores in this mix, and you can’t get by with such a role-specific bottom six without having some offensive firepower up front that simply isn’t there. I await the Christian Hanson call-up eagerly myself. Add Kessel to this mix and not a whole lot changes for me unless he strikes serious chemistry with a few underperformers like Blake. My hope lies in The Monster….”

    Insider: “There is a certain amount of dissension within the locker room against Wilson and even amongst the players themselves. The players who have and will be sat are being reprimanded not only for their play but for their attitudes. There is obviously very little faith in Toskala and the players are frustrated at RW’s support of him… they went through it with Raycroft and have no interest in being undermined by a weak netminder. Your assertion is correct that a large part of their lack of confidence and declining morale stem from Toskala’s weak play. That said, there is an overall feeling in the locker room and within the organization that if the Monster is as good as everyone thinks he is, and could be, all will be okay in Leafland.

    Burke is offering every GM in the league anyone off of his roster save for the obvious exclusions (Schenn, Stalberg, Bozak, etc.) but no one wants anything he has, although there are questions from some GMs as to Kaberle’s availability.

    Interestingly, Burke is not concerned in the least by the start in terms of how the Kessel deal is perceived. There are those in the organization, however, Nonis being one of them, who were not advocates of that deal to begin with.

    Burke does not believe he will go into next year’s draft empty handed in the first round as he believes he can bury some salary and take on more salary via trade which will enable him to also recoup picks.

    Lastly, there is growing concern that RW is not down with the win-now mentality nor Burke’s propensity for an inordinate amount of toughness and pugilism. If you examine his career, he has never really coached a team like that nor does he care to. The interesting aspect of this is that, although people are talking of player revolt, Wilson is having a little revolution of his own…I would not be surprised in the least, and sit down when I say this, that if this doesn’t improve, Wilson could approach Burke and tell him he’s not the man for the job. Obviously, I’m not saying that Burke would let Wilson walk, but RW is very frustrated that he is not getting through to the group and that he hasn’t been able to put his stamp, so to speak, on the team.  His confidence is shaken as well.”