KK Members Blog
Entries with the tag: ron wilson
Forget the fact that the Leafs can’t buy a goal these days.
Why is Brian Burke deviating from what he has been stating for the past year? As early as 3 weeks ago, he went on the record to say that Kadri simply needs more time in the AHL - that rushing him to the NHL does not make sense.
So after the same Nazem Kadri is called up today, I have to ask the “Why? Why Burkie?”
For the first time this season, The Leafs are below the 500 mark. The talk around the city is that scoring is the problem and that criticism is not without merit (especially after being shutout 3 times in the last 6 games).
When the Leafs began the season 4-0-0, goals were aplenty. In those first 4 games, the Leafs scored 16 goals. In the 10 games since, they have scored 15. So naturally, the criticism wanders towards the area that was present before but is absent now.
But let’s be honest here. Outside of Kessel, the Leafs’ top 6 isn’t actually a top 6. It’s a collection of forwards who would slot 4 through 9 on virtually every other team in the NHL. Bozak is a prime example of this phenomenon. The City of Toronto has been all over the Leafs’ Line 1 Center to start playing like one, when that is not what he is (not yet anyways <- that’s the fan in me talking). Versteeg, Kulemin, Grabovski and MacArthur are no different.
Everyone is up in arms.
The Florida Panthers. Colton Orr just trampled over their back-up goalie. The ref was standing right there. RIGHT THERE. Yet somehow he only noticed the puck go in. Not the 220 pound guy who obviously took the goalie out of the play.
The Media. Everyone is calling it 100% goalie interference. Asking why the referee didn’t blow the play, why the call didn’t go upstairs, why NHL coaches aren’t given challenges like in the NFL.
The Toronto Maple Leafs. Even Ron Wilson and Colton Orr admitted it was goalie interference when talking to the media. Wilson even went as far as to say that Orr should have gotten a penalty.
Here’s what Leaf Nation thinks: We’ll take ‘em however we can get ‘em. We know it wasn’t a goal. We know it was a penalty. We don’t care. We’ll take it.
Phil Kessel scored (again) to make it 3-1 anyway.
Go Leafs Go.
Dion Phaneuf was –3 last night. He was on the ice for 4 out of the 5 goals. He made a lazy play with his stick that led to a Mike Richards goal; he got unlucky when a slap shot from the point ricocheted off his skate into the net; he got caught up ice in the offensive zone leading to a 2 on 1; and he just got blatantly beat by Briere.
As of today, Phaneuf ranks 217th in the league among Defensemen with a +/- rating of –5. The irking fact about that stat is the fact that it is NOT out-of-the-ordinary for Phaneuf. If Nick Lidstrom was –5 at this point in the season, you could still bank on the fact that he would finish the season over +30. But Phaneuf has not been more than + 10 in his career since 2007-2008 when he was +12 (interestingly enough, over his career of 411 games Phaneuf is also +12).
Ironically, Phaneuf’s counterpart on the Flyers in the game yesterday, Chris Pronger, just happens to be one of the best +/- players of all time. In 1109 career games, Pronger is +176. Pro-rate Phaneuf’s stats to the same number of games. He falls short by almost +150. But it’s not just the +/- that sets the Flyers Assistant Captain apart.
The fate of Head Coach Ron Wilson is a major issue looming over the Maple Leafs as the new season approaches. His job is secure for now, but consensus is that if the Leafs put together a start as poor as last season’s, Wilson will be out by December.
The work Wilson got out of the Leafs in 09-10 was some of the worst the city has seen in years, but in a three week stint in February, Wilson coached a rookie squad of Olympians all the way to overtime in the gold medal game against the best team in the tournament. Observing the levels of focus, commitment and execution Team USA brought to each game, it was clear the bench had bought into what Wilson – and GM Brian Burke – were selling.
The Olympic Games left Leaf fans hoping the momentum these two old soldiers brought out of Vancouver would carry over into the Leafs dressing room. In order to capitalize on their success, the path is clear for Burke: to get as many Team USA members as possible on Toronto’s roster. No easy task, as the Olympic squad was made up of some of the best young talent in the game, but Burke was able to capitalize on the Chicago’s cap-crunch and add Kris Versteeg to the Leafs’ Team USA members Phil Kessel and Mike Komisarek, who sat out the tournament with injuries.