November 13 2010 10:32AM
It’s been a lot of fun, writing here for the Nation family of sites .
November 12 2010 12:47PM
OK, Leafs’ fans, the time has finally come to discuss something. Should Ron Wilson continue as the head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs?
Is he the right man to control this hallowed bench “moving forward” (my favourite John S. Ferguson cliché)? Does he possess the tools and skills to ensure that this club, no matter how good or bad it is, plays to its potential? Based on what we’ve seen so far this season, and last – it’s time for a change.
In the National Hockey League, a head coach has just one main role: Make sure he has put his team’s players in the best position to succeed. It is no more complicated than that – and don’t let anyone feed you any BS that it is. The coach does not shoot the puck.
He does not ever take a face-off. He cannot stop the puck. He never takes a hit and never delivers a check. But he decides who will do all those things. He must know his personnel inside and out. You can use Scotty Bowman as a reference on this one. Scotty knew his players better than they knew themselves. Ditto Glen Sather in Edmonton. And Toe Blake in Montreal before him.
If a coach doesn’t have that deep-seeded knowledge of his players, forget it. He’s got no shot. But a head coach’s role can also be very ambiguous. And that’s why it’s not a simple black-and-white issue. In Toronto, Ron Wilson does not decide who will be sitting on his bench…but he does decide what they will be doing once they arrive there. And that’s why it’s time to make a change. Whatever Wilson is telling his forwards (assuming it’s something), they are not listening. And once that simple attention component is gone, it’s never coming back. He’s obviously lost the room.
Why else would J-S Giguère step on Tuesday night and literally carve his forwards and coaching staff in front of the media? That’s not something Giguère would do lightly, yet he did it. He clearly felt it was something that needed to be said in a public forum. Shouldn’t that be Ron Wilson’s job (assuming Wilson felt it was required)? Of course it should. Wilson is like a lost puppy. He appears not to know which way to turn. Or which tack to take.
That, Leafs’ fans, is not acceptable.
These players are professional. They should not need a motivational speech before every game. But they are not doing what they need to do to win. The Leafs’ forwards are not working their a**es off. Fans are becoming more and more vocal about how Toronto’s forwards are simply not putting in the effort that’s required to succeed on the ice. They are skilled players (every NHLer is), but with that skill has to come overwhelming desire.
If that desire is not there – and Wilson cannot ignite it – he’s done. Who replaces him? I’m not 100% certain it needs to be someone with extensive NHL head coaching experience. A few names come to mind. For now, you can formulate your own list. Either way, it’s time for Brian Burke to officially end Ron Wilson’s time behind the Leafs’ bench – because the players ended it about ten games ago.
November 12 2010 11:21AM
That day is finally upon us; Nazem Kadri has been called up by the Toronto Maple Leafs. It doesn't feel like the right time to bring up Kadri for an extended stay and personally I'd prefer he stay in the AHL to work on his game.
However with 5 goals and 9 assists in his first 14 games Kadri is likely already better than half of the Leafs' current top six. From talking to people who watch the Marlies I get the feeling they don't think he's ready to dominate at the NHL level.
He'll slot onto the new second like with Tyler Bozak and Nikolai Kulemin. People dreaming about seeing Kadri play with Kessel should remember that Kadri definitely isn't ready to play against the tough checking assignments Kessel sees.
This feels like a desperate move by a desperate team, hopefully despite all odds it works out.
November 12 2010 01:06AM
This is Keenan Cahill, a guy who has taken more heat on the internet than 99% of the folks combined.
Pension Plan Puppets
November 11 2010 06:32PM
This is the story of Florida's third goal which put the nail in the Leafs' coffin Wednesday night.
It is unfortunate that you cannot see the beginning of this play in the highlight packages. A nice play by Luke Schenn to delay and then release Brett Lebda sends the Leafs on a rush. A pass by John Mitchell sent Lebda into the corner where he won a battle for the puck. Unfortunately, rather than cycle it where he had two teammates he threw it into Kulikov's corner which is what helped set up the goal.
How it all broke down after the jump.