Wilson issues new threats
By LANCE HORNBY
Looking for an early Christmas present for your favourite Maple Leaf?
How about a game night alarm clock with the snooze button ripped out.Coach Ron Wilson is getting so peeved with his club’s stumbling starts, surrendering the first goal in 16 of 18 games and falling behind by two in nine of them, that he’s threatening sanctions for stage fright.
“I have to be a lot more adamant and take ice time away from guys who don’t do the right things in the first shift or two,” Wilson said yesterday at the MasterCard Centre, before the flight to Ottawa for tonight’s game.
It wasn’t that long ago that Wilson wanted to ease all that outside pressure on the team, letting them frolic with tennis balls in practice or play on a three-quarter ice surface. At least the Leafs were getting points for a bit, but now the early deficits, coupled with 25 even-strength goals out of 45, has snapped the coaching staff’s patience.
PICK UP THE PACE
At one stage during offensive drills yesterday, assistant coach Tim Hunter shouted: ‘Wakey, wakey’ at the line of Mikhail Grabovski, Jason Blake and Niklas Hagman, a trio with 11 combined goals.
“Our power play is doing great, our penalty killing is starting to do better, but even-strength, we have to find a way,” Blake said. “You don’t have to be great in every area, but you have to be pretty good.”