Wilson Not Playing Games

For years we have seen the likes of Pat Quinn and Paul Maurice favouring players on this leafs team merely based on popularity, they’re recognition among the toronto fans and media. It seems they have never learned that the name on the back of the sweater means nothing if you can’t contribute to the name on the front. We’ve seen too many players getting undeserved ice time for poor play. It seems this year the tables have turned, and there’s a new guy in town to lay down the law…And his name is Ron Wilson, don’t forget it, he may be around for a while. We’ve been looking for a coach who won’t take any crap from anyone, who will set our guys straight and turn them into a team with drive and motivation. I’d say Wilson sure fits the bill. Guys who have been labeled fan favourites for so long better be on the lookout, because your popularity won’t get you any free passes with this guy. Although we have had a losing record so far, the coach has been the one guy who hasn’t disappointed me. I’ve loved his method of turning this team into a hard working one.

Stajan, Stralman, Blake, Ponikarovsky and Ian White, all guys who seemed to be locked in for their roster spots barring an injury, have all seen reduced roles due to poor play. Stajan and Stralman, fan favourites have both been scratched for a game or two, while White hasn’t been seen in a game yet. It worked on Stajan, it seems to be working on Stralman who has been able to stay in the lineup since Frogren was sidelined for a game. Now he is trying his luck on Blake, and we may see tonight how he reacts.

It’s clear that this season is going to be different regardless of wins and losses. While some may believe that Wilson is overrated, and overthinks himself too much, I believe that if there has ever been a coach in recent years that will lead us to a cup one day, he is the safest bet in a few years down the road. What do you think?

236 Responses to Wilson Not Playing Games

  1. mojo19 says:

    hahaha about the GTA joke.

    And didn't we trade Thornton to Edmonton in the Grant Fuhr deal?

  2. mojo19 says:

    True but its not like he was a distant 5 after the 4 who went before him. Schenn, Doughty, Bogosian, and Pietrangelo were all considered to be the definite picks 2-5 as the 4 stud d-men of the draft (unless someone wanted to jump on Filatov).

    But you are right, going into the draft I really wanted Pietrangelo but I'm definitely happy that things turned out this way!

    I HEART 2!!!

  3. nordiques100 says:

    thats the whole point with holding his rights. you have options. sign or trade. they dont have to trade him if they can sign him to a reasonable contract, like maybe something similar to Hagman's.

    glad to know that, while you really like this guy, you would rather see him get traded than lose him for nothing via UFA.

    i've always liked his smarts. even when he was an injury prone wimp in his early years. he's young enough to keep around for a bit longer. 

    just so long as he doenst get a NMC and like 9 years at 6 million per. 

    this would too be something that will help us gauge the current management's negotiation abilities. lets see if they can actually keep a player and not brutally overpay like JFJ did. i thought hagman's deal was fair but they did overpay finger based on his experience. 


  4. nordiques100 says:

    yes but also vince damphousse. ugh. i always liked vinny.

    another first we gave up too early. but at the time, we needed that experience and a goalie.

    it was worse for the habs in regards to thornton. they traded him for juha lind ouch!

  5. mojo19 says:

    Grant wasn't around long enough. What did we end up getting from Buffalo for Fuhr anyway's??? Anybody know?

  6. nordiques100 says:

    Looks like schenn is staying.


    makes sense. the key point that makes this decision not a bad one is that schenn has already played 3 seasons of junior. thats a solid amount of junior experience. and he's played at a WJC. while it would have been great to see him again there, he's been there done that and that experience is something he'll carry for a while. he learned quite a bit in that tourney.

    therefore there wasnt a huge must need to send him back. if they did, it would be to play 20 minutes a game and in important situations. well he's doing that now in toronto. and he's doing it well. so keeping him doesnt seem all that bad if he's playing a ton and learning.

  7. ranger_fan says:

    Bettman expects the cap to rise yet again. This means more space. The Rangers also have plenty of NHL ready talent and can fill in their roster with guys making 600K.

  8. cam7777 says:

    no doubt they can, but my question is more whether or not they'll be a power house.  i dont think that they'll be able to keep dubinsky and zherdev unless they trade away naslund, gomez or drury.

    they'll be fine i think, either way, but im just saying, it could be a really interesting off season for them if they have to make some big trades in order to get some big signings done.

    bettman is a moron, dont trust what he says…

  9. nordiques100 says:

    dave andreychuk and a 1st which ended up being kenny jonsson.

    then we moved jonsson in the clark/schneider trade that also cost us luongo.

    the other bad part was that to bring clark back, the leafs needed to shed salary and dumped andreychuk to jersey for nothing.

    it was a stupid trade made by ownership and their desperate demand to bring back wendel.

  10. Bure96 says:

    Michalek is a better player then Antropov right now. Maybe not way better, but Mihalek has definately not reached his potential, not even close. He's an exceptional two way player, and is the future of the Sharks. He might be the only untouchable on the team.

    Antropov is a good player though, but really the team wouldn't be improving, so that trade would be stupid.

  11. cam7777 says:

    I would offer him 4 years for 15 and a quarter million.  His cap hit would be 3.813 million, which is pretty decent.  He'll have to accept the fact that he is putting up huge points (im thinking he'll be between 65 and 70) because he's on a team where no one else is really prepared to put those points up.  I think the guy is great too, but I fear the Leafs management overpaying for him.

    What would really be ideal would be if he showed some interest in being moved as a rental, and sort of an under the table deal where he returns on July 1st.  For example: Antropov to NYR for Brandon Dubinsky.  Dubinsky is doing really well right now, but I don't think he'll be so good that moving him for a big guy like Antropov would be unlikely.  New York will also likely have to choose between resigning Dubinsky or Zherdev (unless they can move a bigger contract, like Naslund or Drury).  I know Dubinsky provides solid 3rd line presence for the Rangers, but think of their top 2 with Antropov

    Marcus Naslund – Scott Gomez – Nik Zherdev
    Nigel Dawes – Chris Drury – Nikolai Antropov

    pretty stellar…New York could even afford to make it Dubinsky and a 2nd, and get Poni to keep paired with Antropov.  Might also prove further inscentive for Sundin to sign there for a playoff run, who knows.

    The point is, if Antropov is moved, I would want it to be as a rental player, and the best way to do that is to move him to a team that can't easily afford to resign him.  We'd probably have to pay more for him on July 1st for this to happen,however.

    Not sure what to do about Blake.  I guess we just hope some GM is desperate enough to add him based on a scoring need.  Although like you said, he just doesn't fit with the Leafs.  He's still all over the ice, and all over the net, and drawing penalties.  He just can't finish on this team for some reason.  It's not completely absurd to assume someone might be able to look past that.  Especially if he could be had for virtually nothing…

    He has to string together a solid month or two for anyones interest to be kindled.

  12. mojo19 says:

    Exactly. They're keeping him up, and he's playing big minutes in key situations (ie being on with Finger in the final minute of the 3-2 win over Ottawa matched against Ottawa's big 3), and he's doing a damn good job.

    No reason to send the guy down, he's here, he's ready for anything the NHL can throw at him, and most importantly Ron Wilson likes him, and its likely that Ron Wilson can teach him and speed his progress along better than anyone.

  13. cam7777 says:

    The Leafs will not be that unprepared when they play the Habs again.  The Habs will walk in expecting to destroy them, and be caught off guard by a hard work ethic Leafs-team. 

    You most certainly did not call off the dogs.  Cherry even pointed out how ridiculous Carbonneau was in that game.  1 minute left in the 3rd period, up 6-1, on a 5 on 3 powerplay, and he puts out Tanguay, Kovalev, Koivu, Plekanec and Markov. 

    If not for a 3 minute collapse in the 2nd period, the score in that game would've been 2-1 with a goal by Antropov disallowed (which by NHL rules, was in fact a goal, and was only called back on the insane favoritism for Carey Price and the Habs by the league). 

    I know you can't excuse a game with "what if" scenarios, but really, Toronto was not out played the entire game, as the 6-1 score would've indicated.  It was pretty close except for that 3-4 minutes of pure domination by the habs.  I agree the habs are a far better team this year, but I think they'll be underestimating the Leafs from here on out.

    As I said before too, that game would've had a different outcome if the refs had called Kostitsyn for trying to murder Stajan with a Brutal hit from behind.  Instead he gave a roughing call to Schenn for pushing him.  Heavens, he might've crushed Kostitsyn's rib cage pushing like that…don't worry about Stajan's vertebrae or his ability to walk though.

    It was only after that the Leafs completely fell apart for a brief span.

  14. mojo19 says:

    I like that Fuhr for Andreychuck and a 1st rounder!

    As for the 2nd coming of Wendel its been well documented that it was a mistake and we gave up the infamous 'Luongo pick'. Very sad….

    However the 3rd coming of Wendel as a UFA mid-season was awesome, he played great and had that amazing playoff game.

    I HEART 17 "C" (May Clark be captain forever)

  15. mojo19 says:

    Good point Cam and Nords. The Antropov watch will be an interesting story in Leafland as we get closer to the deadline.

  16. ranger_fan says:

    Bettman is a genius with no charisma or self awareness.

    Dubinsky will be resigned. Naslund is signed for only one more year. Rissmillers(1) contract will somehow be shed. Prucha is likely gone (1.6) That will fit in Dubinsky. If the cap rises 2 million or so they could have 4 million to spend on Zherdev who is an RFA.

  17. the_word says:

    Yeah, the Canadian dollar closed at seventy eight cents today. I'm sure the cap is going to soar this off season. I mean Bettman's word is golden.

    lets not be skepitcal when it may exposte the reality concerning the short comings of our favorite teams.

  18. hockeyhead says:

    fans are weird in the boston area.  they sold out the home opener and then 12000 go to the leafs game.

    16000 went to the thrashers game.

    the boston garden only held 13000 so maybe they built the new garden too big for this area.

    as for baseball…..ahhh.  i wouldnt watch anyway.  the games are too long and go far into the ngiht.

  19. leafy says:

    You're right about Rob Pearson. I completely forgot about him, he was drafted 11th overall.  Burnsy had visions of grooming him into a Gary Roberts type power forward.  Safe to say that didn't work out.

    Steve Bancroft was drafted 21st overall. I left him out because I focused on high or mid-1st round picks.  Otherwise there are many more we could throw in there who were later picks.

    As I told Mojo, I'm exaggerating with Russ Courtnall, so you're right. He enjoyed a few good seasons with the Leafs before the notorious Gord Stellick trade.

    Contrary to what many people think, Courtnall wasn't that great in Montreal.  I'm not saying he was garbage, but he wasn't that good either.  All he would do is skate around and give away the puck.  Just ask some Habs fans and they'll tell you.  Having said that, he scored a critical goal against Hartford in '92.

  20. leafy says:

    It's the right deciison I think, and believe me, I'm not a fan of rushing 18-year old kids.

    Like you said, as long as he's playing big minutes and in key situations, you may as well keep him and let him learn at the NHL.  Why not, he's actually one of the Leafs best players already.

  21. nordiques100 says:

    well 3 seasons in junior is plenty. its too bad they couldnt have the option to send him to the A. he might get in some AHL playoff games though if the leafs are out of the playoffs and the marlies get in. that can only help his experience.

    tonights game will be another big test.

    everyone is talking about how great the leafs are and we have a slumping team threatening to fire its coach, cant score and at the bottom of the standings. its exactly the type of game that plagued the leafs the last few seasons. last i checked the bolts had lecavalier, st louis and have some players who are from the area always looking to put on a show in front of family and friends. they should not be taken lightly but with the leafs, thats always the fear. afterall, this is a team that has a parade for keeping the habs out of the playoffs even though they didnt make it themselves.

    if they come out with the kind of jump and effort tehy got saturday, then we'll know for sure things are changing for the better. but wilson does have tons of work left to do to get his team to understand 2 wins in a row isnt enough.

    there was the tendency to be satisfied with a win or two and then tanking it against a bottomfeeder and expecting the win before the puck is even dropped. thats what i fear with players like steen, stajan and even the vets like antropov and pony who have learned under the old regime to go by talent only when the press clippings are full of compliments and then blame others for the loss.
    lets hope grabs builds off finally scoring. hagman builds on two really solid two way games, kulemin rebounds after a weak effort, blake brings it even more to get out of the dog house and guys like van ryn and schenn continue to solidify the D. lets hope kubina has a good effort against his old team.

    its a long season and staying focused is one of the toughest chores over 82 games. but the wings do it very well and they have for over a decade. thats the kind of consistency wilson needs to teach his group. i'm not at all sold yet that those bad habits are broken. heck the team did that once this year feeling too good about their win over detroit.

    but, i think its not unrealistic to see the team be a pretty consistent solid defensive team after the new year.

  22. mojo19 says:

    Good point Nords, but I don't think we'll let up against the lightning. Wilson is a good motivator. Doesn't mean we'll win because if Lecavalier and St.Louis (and any of Prospal, maybe Malone, Stamkos, Vrbata) have big games, then even if the Leafs play a great game, they could fall short.

    If the Leafs lose I predict that Steven Stamkos will register his first point finally. And speaking of Stamkos, with no points in 7 games and that elusive 9th game approaching, what are the chances Lightning management sends this guy down, in my opinion he's not ready.

    Fun Fact –
    St.Louis scored opening day in Europe and hasn't scored since.

  23. leafy says:

    Right about now, Schenn is looking like a better pick than Stamkos.  It's very early of course, but who would have guessed that in June?

  24. nordiques100 says:

    well its an interesting thing going on in tampa. melrose isnt using stamkos much.

    so why is he there then? did he earn a job or did he get there because he was the 1st overall pick and that's that.

    he is a big talent. there is no disputing that. but the kid has to play a ton wherever he is.

    he isnt going to learn a thing playing with jason ward and matt pettinger getting no special teams and only 4th line minutes.

    if he hasnt earned the playing time, then send him down. there isnt any sense to use him that way if he isnt ready.

    but it wouldnt shock me if the owners have a hand in having him on the team. and i've read taht lawton wants stamkos to play. so now the GM is dictating who plays who doesnt and how much they play? isnt that the coach's decision?

    i only think of gilbert brule and the fact he was forcefed the NHL and failed miserably when rushed. he wasnt ready at 18 but the jackets kept him playing him 4 minutes a night for the whole year or keeping him in the press box.  they didnt send him back until his 2nd season with columbus. the kid was ruined already by that time. this is why doug maclean doesnt have a real job.

    maybe stamkos is getting coddled too much by the team and his handlers. maybe he was propped up too much a la lecavalier being touted the michael jordan of hockey.

    the kid needs to be sent back if they dont use him right. i mean isnt this the reason why they brought in prospal, vrbata, roberts, malone so they'd have tons of depth? there is no need to rush this guy. shame if he gets ruined. all it takes is a couple of dummies at the top of the food chain to make a mess of a good thing.

  25. nordiques100 says:

    well the test will be on the leaders of this team.

    they are the ones really with the bad habits to break.

    as motivating wilson can be, and as much tough love he could give, its up to the players, especially the vets to buy in. 

    a good example. antropov. last year he'd probably disappear against the bruins and sens the last two games after his two goal effort in their loss to the ducks. the attitude of "well it wasnt my fault we lost to anaheim because i scored so i dont have to try anymore"  is exactly what this team was made up of the last few years. fact is, he's been equally effective the last two games and that is encouraging. now he must show he can do it over the next month and throughout a whole season. that kind of consistency has eluded him in the past but he looks pretty hungry nowadays to help his team win every night.   

    time for blake, pony, stajan, steen and even kubina, kaberle and toskala as the holdover to show the same. i think they can. i think in time the old habits will finally leave them.  

    sometimes the vets here wouldnt bother listen to whomever was behind the bench because Mr X toronto newpaper writer said he played a great game and joe leaf fan thinks this player is a HOF. its something the players have grown accustomed to doing for the last long while.

    thats the biggest obstacle playing in toronto. this is why a role forward like tucker got star status here and why a 4th liner like domi was like god for a long time as a leaf and why a nathan dempsey was mentioned in the same breath as orr.

    its all part of the big change the leafs need to have happen. this transformation from being satisfied with acouple of wins to one that strives to get better every day win or lose is not going to happen overnight, but must happen. they have a lot to learn about playing for the crest on the front of the sweater, not the name on the back. in time, i think they'll learn this.

    its clear as day why the organization had to desperately get rid of mccabe, tucker and others.  i see this leaf group being able to one day to take losing hard and always competing and driving to be better. they couldnt have done it with the old gang still around. 

  26. mojo19 says:

    Ya Stamkos has so much talent, let him play big minutes in the minors, right now he's not an improvement on the forwards they have.

    Tampa Bay Duds –

    St.Louis – Ya he has 5 assists, but no goals in his last 6 games, that hurts.
    Gary Roberts – has dressed in all 7 games, no points
    Stamkos – see Roberts
    Ryan Malone – The guy who loves to get decked with his head down has just 1 goal and no assists through 7 games. I hear he's been hit pretty hard a couple of times though, so that element of his game is still there
    Mezsaros – 0 G, 3 assists. Just to compare, the guy he was traded for, Filip Kuba has 11 assists

  27. mojo19 says:

    Excuse me??? If this were last year Antropov would have disapeared for 2 games after his 2 goal game vs the Ducks??? Get a life Nords, your Antropov bashing and backhanded compliments are ridiculous. Antropov has been the Leafs best winger for 2 straight seasons going into this year, he brings it all the time sorry if you can't see that. I know a lot of people are only able to see speed as the only thing that makes a guy a good hockey player.

    Saying that he would normally disapear after scoring makes no sense since historically Nik scores in bunches. Osberve –

    Notice Oct. 11-18 where he was on a 4 game goal streak. Then 1 game without scoring, then a goal the next game, then a game off and a goal the next game. That's 6 goals in 8 games (not to mention 6 assists). Then there was his 5 game point streak late November into early december, after playing well for 4 games he finished things off with a hat trick in New York. But you're right if this were last year he would have scored against Anaheim then disapeared for a while…… Wake up Nords stop listening to the haters your better than that.

    When we first brought in Dominic Moore last year I had to convince the Antro-haters that Moore would not be replacing Nik on the top line, I actually had to convince people of this, even though it seemed so obvious to me. People saw that Moore was a great skater and were fooled.

    Another thing people don't realize about Antropov is that he's one of the games top defensive forwards (this was said publicaly by CHICAGO's management last year during the Sun Media Poll)

    Only real knock on him last year in terms of disapearing was his 10 games without a point from December 18-Jan 9th. That was bad but in an otherwise great season.

  28. mojo19 says:

    Nik Antropov 117 pts in his last 143 NHL games

  29. mojo19 says:

    Which is a 67 point per every 82 game pace.

  30. nordiques100 says:

    best winger on the leafs is not saying a whole lot. he's been good, but could be better. your bias opinion of this guy you are madly in love with clouds reality.

    I in fact was complimenting him for showing great consistency this year rather than last when he was impacted by the tuckers, sundin's and mccabes of the world and their woe is me attitude. the fact that he is one of the longest serving leafs who has gone though the rag tag quinn/maurice outfits the last 3 years and survived and is thriving is a compliment to this guy's dedication and character.

    but the previous seasons were not all a bed of roses the whole time. he's definitely been among the group that folded the tents when it mattered the most.

    lets take a look at just last year alone to show his inconsistency.

    in dec 07 he strung together a stretch where he got 15 points in 9 games, then ZERO points in the 10 games that followed which you mentioned.

    In Feb08 he had a lousy 1 shot, -2 effort against the sabres but the next game had a 3 point night against the thrashers and then the following 3 games had 3 shots and zero points and was invisible again.

    my feelings are that this guy is better than one who goes through these periods of malaise. he can be a 70 point guy and a guy who could get points in 3 of every 4 games. i think this year may be the year. and i think thats the kind of consistency everyone wants from nik. and i think the leafs need him to be that productive. there's 74 games to show he can be that kind of player. he isnt that yet. thats not knocking the guy or slagging him saying he couldnt be traded for a bag of pucks. its just the plain facts in the here and now.

    he cant be a streak scorer because the team needs him to be a force every game. before this year, you cannot deny the impact of the woe is me vets and their impact in showing the rest of the team, including nik, that its ok to take games off if you;ve played well the last one because leaf nation cherishes every win like game 7 of the stanley cup. thats really what i was getting at and the fact it appears he isnt letting that impact him like say pony or steen or stajan.

    its again a compliment to him that he is showing signs he wasnt defeated by this plague that has lasted a long while on the leafs teams.

    but of course it also doesnt mean he is blameless for all that has gone on in toronto the last 40 so years.

    you've let your mad love for antropov get in the way of rational thought. are we not allowed to criticize this guy whatsoever? i think we should be allowed to because we're only 8 games in, the team is still under .500 and like the rest of the group he needs to continue to get better. that isnt an indictment against this guy and this guy only. its the truth. and this isnt saying he wont get better. he's already shown some improvement in the handful of games played. thats a good sign. thats not outright hate so stop going overboard and throwing everyone under teh bus who criticizes this guy.

    so take a step back man. i'm not listening to anyone. its just a unbiased opinion of a player i rather not overrate all taht quickly. you get waaaaaaay too serious over any criticsm of this guy.

    if you are one who feels that he isnt to blame ofr any of the team's failures the last few seasons, then i blame you for being exactly the problem that has plagued the leafs and that is coddling and creaming over players who simply dont deserve a showering of accolades.

    he is what he is. not a star, he's a top 6 forward, getting better by the day but still with a long way to go to be considered the next messier or neely among top power forwards ever however. he's growing into a leadership role and scoring role and one of the few leaf holdovers who actually hungers to improve. and he is proving so far he is not letting the piss poor leadership this team has had in the past completely take over him and give him the ego bigger than tie domi.  

  31. cam7777 says:

    wow, remind me not to piss you off about antropov.

    lucky for me i agree with you entirely.  i started really watching him last year, and i think he brings it all the time. 

    i thought the biggest example of this was when he was given a bogus overtime penalty (i thought the refs were absolutely ridiculous to the leafs last season) after being hauled down by another guy, he snapped his stick and chased the ref. 

    when you're a calm guy like nik, you don't pull that kind of shit unless you're uber passionate.  that night i saw a guy who Hates to Lose.

  32. mojo19 says:

    I don't think he'll ever be the next Messier or Neely etc. I just think he's a pretty awesome player. Like a 65-70 point guy, who is a great 2-way player.

    Also poiting out where he was slumping and streaking doesn't actually prove a whole lot, you can do that with pretty much any player in the NHL (Elite superstars aside).

  33. mojo19 says:

    You're right Cam, he definitely got frustrated that game. And then there was the famous clip from last year where he was sitting on the bench and he just started banging his stick against the boards out of frustration.

  34. mojo19 says:

    Give Antropov the 'C'

  35. nordiques100 says:

    exactly. but you paint him in such a huge light you make it sound like he is a superstar with no faults.

    i pointed one out and you practically flipped out.

    antropov has had 1 20 goal season and one season out of 8 with 50 points.

    he has a long ways to go to show he is a guy who "brings it all the time" or who is someone elite.

  36. mojo19 says:

    He does bring it all the time. Case and point tonight vs. Tampa. When was the last time Antropov had a 'bad game' ? January of '08?

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