Brian Burke: Ron Wilson ‘safe’ as Leafs coach

Ron Wilson’s job as coach of the Maple Leafs is “safe,” according to general manager Brian Burke.

The players? Well, that’s a different story. While the GM said “there’s no panic here,” he is itching to upgrade the talent level on the team. There just aren’t any viable offers on the table at the moment.

The Leafs have lost five consecutive games, the last two in shootouts, and have dropped eight of their last nine.

Over those nine games, Toronto has scored just 15 goals and Wilson called out his top line of Phil Kessel, Tyler Bozak and Kris Versteeg after Saturday’s 3-2 loss to Buffalo for “not producing any offence.”

Though they’re not together for every shift, that trio has just two goals, one each from Bozak and Versteeg, over the five-game losing streak.

The loss to the Sabres was particularly numbing for Leaf fans because Toronto led 2-0 late in the second and gave up the tying goal with 13.1 seconds remaining in regulation time.

Despite that collapse and Toronto’s losing streak, Burke was aggravated Sunday when questioned about Wilson’s job security.

“If you watch the game films and show me one thing Ronnie did wrong, then come back and ask me about it. The answer to your question is, ‘Yes, the coach is safe,’ ” Burke told a couple of reporters during a break in a sports management conference he was co-chairing at a downtown hotel.

“I’m told (Wilson) got blasted in the media today. Let me ask you a question. Did Ron play poorly last night? No. Why don’t you guys focus on the players who played poorly last night instead of questioning the coach.”–brian-burke-ron-wilson-safe-as-leafs-coach

124 Responses to Brian Burke: Ron Wilson ‘safe’ as Leafs coach

  1. Leafs_the_word says:

    I offer Stamkos a near max long term contract.  It that fails I feast on the mini market created by contracts Yzerman has to shed to accommodate matching.

    This is a move I hope Peddie puts some pressure on Burke to make.

  2. reinjosh says:

    You realize Vinny is worse defensively right?

  3. albertateams says:

    Good relationship or not I think that Burke believes the team should be competing for the playoffs, they aren't something will have to change and the coach is the most logical.

    Maurice is a solid coach, I don't think he got a fair chance in TO. Wilson has a very polarizing manner about him that can fire up some players but it can also work against him and cause players to tune him out.
  4. leafy says:

    I disagree. In fact, if the Leafs continue playing like this, I'll be totally surprised if Wilson survives this month!!!

  5. The-President says:

    Look, I'll agree that the coaching obviously is improved, that after all is what has been dogging this team, poor coaching. I dont really attribute the coach signing with the Lightning as Yzermans work, Boucher had 2 teams to choose from either the Jackets or the Bolts, who would you pick? 

    Yzerman did change the culture of the Bolts, I'll give him credit for that, hes a very respectable person. That being said, I do believe that there are many other GMs around the league that deserve praise before he does, Like I said I think he walked into the best situation a GM has walked into in a while. 
  6. Leafs_the_word says:

    Why should a team coming off a 29th place finish be expected to compete for the playoffs? 

    I can't stomach another Maurice that played the role of the golden griever after each loss, he's a used car salesman.  Wilson is an Xs and Os coach that knows his craft.

  7. Leafs_the_word says:

    Leafy with all due respect you're quick to call for a coaching change.

  8. The-President says:

    Leafs420 if this was such a bone crushing, "career ending" hit, please post the link, I mean if its that horrible I'm sure you'll find it, right? I watch every Maple Leafs game, I guarantee that so called hit did absolutely nothing to deter his career. He needs a change of scenery, He's used to being the man, and now he's playing second fiddle to Stamkos. What does what I do for a living have anything to do with this? What do you do?

  9. The-President says:

    I watch plenty of games 420, hahahaha, hilarious, not quite sure why thats so funny, but ok. I dont give a crap if Versteeg is slow at starting the season, what does that mean? He gets a flyer because oh he don't worry he starts slow. Done with the excuses, the guy is getting paid over 3 mil, we gave up ALOT to get him, the simple fact is he isn't contributing enough. Lie I said I watch plenty of games, so thats an invalid point.

  10. The-President says:

    Appreciate it Mojo, no hard feelings man. I'll agree with you that he changed the culture. Just feel others are more deserving of praise over him. 

    As for Malkin, I would give up what ever it takes to get him, man that would be a real game changer if we ever acquired him. 
  11. nordiques100 says:

    i should reiterate, the deathblow will be if it ends up another top 5 pick….which is not out of the realm of possibility.

    take for example the Oilers. they went 3-0 to start last season. many forget that b/c they rarely won after that. they hit a massive slide from November all the way to January and never recovered.

    Not to say the Leafs will end up that way, but it is indeed horrible to give up 2 top 5 picks for Kessel no matter how good he is.

  12. Leafs_the_word says:

    People talk about Staal like he's a future Hall of Famer, he's a great bottom six guy, I think he'd struggle as a second line center.

  13. Leafs_the_word says:

    Great center, I despise him for how he ended his tenure with the Leafs.  I don't wanna see his jersey in the rafters of the ACC.  Let's remember him as a Canuck.

  14. The-President says:

    It has nothing to do with Ron Wilson, look at the team in front of him. Unfortunately he probably will get canned under pressure, undeservedly so. The only coach I miss is Pat Quinn, I hated when he got fired, and ever since then, we've been on a downhill spiral. Maurice was a terrible coach, maybe one of the most overrated, Wilson is a fine coach, I just think he really has nothing to work with, and I don't think any coach will be able to fix the situation until we get a #1 center, unless we hire a coach that implements the trap. 

  15. The-President says:

    I for one, don't believe he's a future Hall of Famer, just a good 2 way player, one with given more playing time, I think would prosper more offensively. I'm just saying I think Pittsburgh would rather hang onto Staal rather then Malkin, in my book Malkin is better, but like you said Staal does get hyped up alot.

  16. nordiques100 says:

    it isnt about getting a 1st or worrying about Boston, its about the situation the Leafs are in and how not having a 1st means really that it would be absolutely terrible to end up near the bottom….again and not have anything to show for it like say the Pens, Caps and Hawks have when they finished near the bottom. bottom line, another lotter pick = a major setback for the Leafs….moreso than missing the playoffs 6 yrs in a row or those hideous Ballard years.

    All we'd have is Kessel for one top 2 pick so far, and potentially another lottery pick. its a long ways away, but still a viable possibility.

    The Pens have Staal, Malkin and Crosby, Toews and Kane in Chicago, Ovy and Backstrom in Wash.

    The Leafs are forced into this win now mode…..which probably hurts them and their development more than anything. I think this kind of pressure is something this team simply cannot handle. I dont think they're ready for it.

    I think if they had their 1st, the mindset would be different. Letting the youngsters develop, giving up a strong opportunity for them to succeed would be an option. Being patient with such a losing streak would be an option. trying to live up to wild expectations wouldnt be necessary.

    Now, we may see Kadri being force-fed a job with the Leafs without earning it b/c we have no options, we have not enough depth and we have to win now without the backing of a lottery pick to use if things don't work out.

    BB can say all he wants, but if the Leafs lose out on another lottery pick, he will look like a complete idiot.

    its obviously early, but boy i don't want to see something desperate like calling up Kadri now or even worse, trading him for immediate help.

  17. nordiques100 says:

    that;s why i said they're missing armstrong and phaneuf who bring some infectious energy to the team.

  18. nordiques100 says:

    In regards to wilson, many are saying the Leafs aren't talented enough thus what is RW to do? Than if that is the case, maybe its both BB and RW being called out. afterall BB got these players didn't he?

    From 08 til now, the roster change has been drastic. Grabs, Kuly, Schenn, Kabby, Mitch, are all that is left from when Wilson started. And only Kabby was there b4 that. The roster change has been excessive.

    So with all these moves and the team still can't score, work a PP, kill penalties, defend, put pressure on opponents, have cohesion between forwards and defence, develop good players, develop some lineup stability, generate offence, play with heart, play with character, play with energy, who's fault is that ultimately?

    The saying goes: its easier to fire a coach than to fire 20 players. But haven't the Leafs already fired 20 players since the Wilson era began?

    I dont know. Its not like wilson is a bad coach, ubt maybe he can only coach certain teams a la Quinn who was only good with veterans, or like Bowman when he was coach only not coach/GM.

    He may not be the right fit here. But, the options are brutally thin. Hitch? Mac T? Quinn? The choices are very limited.

  19. albertateams says:

    That's the expectation for TO right or wrong they added some high profile guys in the last year Phaneuf, Gigure, Versteeg, and Armstrong that were to help compete for the playoffs. If Burke wasn't trying to make the playoffs the last two years then there is no justification for the Kessel trade, if you are expecting to miss the playoffs why would you trade 2 firsts and a 2nd. Sure Kessel is a good forward but teams trading picks for production now are expected to compete. Same for the Versteeg deal 3 prospects for a veteran guy.

    Maurice 164-76-66-22 174 points
    Wilson 164-64-73-27 155 points

    Both guys have positives and negatives about there coaching style I just don't think that Wilson's approach is all that conducive to a young team calling out players publicly, poor relationships with veterans. IMO Wilson needs to go sooner rather than later.

  20. reinjosh says:

    He was a number one center for two years in his career. Before that he was a better than average second line center. Its unlikely he will become the first liner you think he is ever again.

  21. dumbassdoorman says:

    Dave King, he is a teacher and these young players need to learn!!!!! But you wanna know who else i would consider as coach? What about Bob Gainey and Larry Robinson, one could teach the forwards to back check and the other could teach the dmen to play defense!!!!!

  22. reinjosh says:

    The Versteeg trade could be considered a win now move (and it could even be argued that this fits into the sped up rebuild, seeing as Versteeg is only a third year player), but the Kessel trade can't. Sped up rebuild, sure but not a win now trade.

    Yes giving up picks usually is associated with win now, but their are extenuating cir*****stances which have been explained to death.

    That said, I agree its time for Wilson to go. A replacement needs to be found first though.

  23. dumbassdoorman says:

    I don't think we have to worry about Kadri being called up early. His development is to crucial to Burkes job security. The better player he becomes the better the team is. A rookie isn't gonna save the team. Look at Hall and Eberle being benched in Edm. how much is that really helping them? He will stay in the minors for now, until either the season is lost and there is no pressure or they are playing very well(don;t laugh0 and the is no pressure.

  24. mojo19 says:

    No don't hold grudges. He was the greatest Leaf of all time (arguably). Even Darryl Sittler and Borje Salming finished up as Red Wings. Remember the good times, the clutch goals, and the fact that he carried the franchise on his back and gave us hope for 15 years.

  25. mojo19 says:

    I see Washington playing it by ear. I could see them trying to hold onto him, and at least until the playoffs. If he struggles again in the playoffs they might let him walk. Keep in mind they'll have to re-sign a few other key guys including Laich and Fleischmann so I think its a definite possibility that Semin does hit free agency, especially if he and Washington have another unsuccessful playoff.

  26. mojo19 says:

    Let me put it this way. If Jordan Staal wasn't Eric's brother, he wouldn't get the same hype and praise. Of course he is a good player, but 4 years in the league and he's never hit 50 points (came close a couple times).

    I think he's a great 3rd line centre, and could play as a 2nd line centre, but not a top line centre.

    Still he would help out our team for sure. And he seems like he would be more available than Malkin (I could be wrong but I doubt it). Since we have wingers and Pittsburgh has centres, and we both are struggling, I think there could be a fit here for some kind of trade.

  27. albertateams says:

    I still contend that Burke doesn't make the Kessel trade if he thinks the Leafs don't make the playoffs two years in a row as a result, so IMO it was made to win now but I don't really want to get into the issue again.

    Who do you replace Wilson with? 

  28. mojo19 says:

    It would cost us our next 4 first round picks. So if we made this offer in July (hopefully Stevie isn't re-signed by Stevie by that point) we would have to compensate with our first round picks from 2012-2015. Which would totally be worth it for Steve Stamkos.

    Also I think Stamkos would be worth a long term deal, big money deal. I'm talking 8 years, $90 million ($11.25 mil cap hit). He'd be worth it and this could be enough to put Stamkos out of Tampa's price range.

  29. mojo19 says:

    I think our wingers are pretty special. Versteeg will be a really good player for us for a long time. Nikolai Kulemin is also going to be a really good player. If you want to make the Montreal comparison, I think he'll be similar calibre to Kostitsyn, and actually probably a better overall player given his defensive and physical attributes.

    Those two guys along with Kessel could be a really solid 3 of our top 4 wingers and who knows about MacArthur, or maybe down the line in the next year or two Kadri coming up as a winger.

    I really can't stress this enough, we are just plain weak at centre.

  30. mojo19 says:

    I get the fact that Burke wanted to change the culture and get rid of all the veteran guys, to eliminate the "blue and white disease". But I don't think he needed to get rid of ALL the veteran players.

    I still say we could have changed the culture but kept a couple of the more skilled guys. Nik Antropov and Pavel Kubina could have been kept and Grabovski and Komisarek could be out, the cap hits would be more or less the same. But we'd be way better off.

    Burke gets a C- for the job he's done so far.

  31. mojo19 says:

    Here's the 'fire Ron Wilson' petition. Feel free to sign

  32. reinjosh says:

    I honestly don't know. I like the idea of Dale Hunter but I'm not sure he has what it takes to be in the NHL yet and even so he might not want to leave the team he owns. I like Gilmour because I think he would know how to handle the media and coach Phaneuf as the captain but he left the Marlies to get a head coaching position in the OHL.

    Hitch***** would not be on my list and neither would Therrien.

  33. leafy says:

    It's his third year coaching the Leafs. What is he, the Pope? He shouldn't hold the job for life. If things aren't working, try someone else.

  34. mojo19 says:

    Even though his production has been really low for the last couple seasons, what do you think of a trade of like Fred Sjostrom for Max Talbot? Would you do it? Cap hit is similar, neither guy has been ever able to really produce offensively but I think we could use the other option at centre.

    The trade would make our team shape up something like this

    Versteeg – Bozak – Kessel
    Kulemin – Grabo – MacArthur
    Caputi – Talbot – Mitchell/Hanson (Armstrong*)
    Brown – Brent – Orr

  35. dumbassdoorman says:

    HMMMMM, I would try and trade someone else first, I like Talbot, but also like Freddie. I think they would be a great PKteam.

  36. dumbassdoorman says:

    I don't think the petition will get him fired. But just out of curiousity who would be your replacement choice?

  37. mojo19 says:

    i like Freddy too, but I doubt Pittsburgh would have much interest in Brown, Hanson, and Mitchell. And I wouldn't wanna move Caputi or MacArthar, and obviously not Kuley, Versteeg, Kessel.

    I just think that would be a fair trade for both sides and it would give the Leafs more options down the middle, and the Penguins more options on the wing.

  38. dumbassdoorman says:

    Ya but i was just trying to be greedy…….would you move a dman for him, say Lebda?

  39. mojo19 says:

    I wanna wait and see what happens with this Lindy Ruff situation in Buffalo. If they decide to move on then I would like to see a "promotion" for Ron Wilson, with some kind of positive spin on the situation, and then scooping up Ruff.

    However, if it doesn't look like Ruff will be available I would be interested in Dale Hunter, and I feel like he and Brian Burke would really be on the same page.

    Another guy i like is former baby Leafs coach Doug Shedden. He's coaching in Switzerland now, and he also coached the Finnish Olympic team to Bronze a few years back. I always liked him when he was in the Leafs organization, and I think he'd be better suited for our young team than Wilson, who seems to bully his players.

  40. mojo19 says:

    Only Lebda. Or hell if they'd take Beau or Komi i'd do it as a salary dump, but I dont' see that happening.

    But ya I don't mind Talbot, he's struggling, i think his value would be kind of low. Another guy I like in the Penguins system is Tangradi, he was up with the big club earlier but I think he's struggling a bit now. I wouldn't mind scooping up both guys in some kind of deal.

  41. dumbassdoorman says:

    I must say  you are one of the few not wanting Gilmour, nice to see that. Hunter intrigues me very much.

  42. mojo19 says:

    Gilmour hasn't really proven much in Kingston, yet. I think maybe in a few years after he's had a bit more experience he could be an option, or maybe he could come back to the Marlies but this time as a head coach. Still needs to be groomed, but I wouldn't be againt him one day being the head coach.

    But ya i'm with you, wouldn't want him right now.

  43. Leafs_the_word says:

    If he wouldn't waived good chance others would have fallen suit, he didn't give back to an organization that handed him whatever he wanted.

    I'm not interested in the 'it was his right' response, he lives/d a ridiculously privileged life and couldn't care less about the lesser humans.  I despise his classist attitude.

  44. Leafs_the_word says:

    Let's compare all time coaching records between Maurice and Wilson.   I wonder which would be miles ahead of the other.

    Versteeg, Gigeure and Armstrong are high profile? To quote lafleur 'put the crack pipe down'.

    MSLE and every team in the league will engage in marketing at the start of each season.  Almost everyone media and fans alike had the Leafs between 10th and 14th in their preseason picks.  Holding them to the expectations of being a playoff as a justification to can one of the league's best coaches is absurd.  

  45. Leafs_the_word says:

    And we fire the next guy and the next guy etc…. or we build a culture of accountability ala Buffalo Sabres where the coaching staff hold authority rather than the players.

  46. leafy says:

    Buffalo is in last place. Haha!

  47. Leafs_the_word says:

    The New allstar format is sick, actually looking forward to game a little.  I just wanna see Halak get chosen before Price.

  48. Leafs_the_word says:

    Yeah, I'm ok with our wingers, even Armstrong grew on me a bit.

  49. Leafs_the_word says:
    RIP Richard Peddie, you were one of those short ugly rich ahole white men no one likes.
  50. Leafs_the_word says:

    Lulz, got me there but they typically overachieve.

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