Ron Wilson joins a Leafs team that has missed the playoffs in each of the last three seasons. (Photo by: Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)
If the Maple Leafs are going to be this blatant about holding out for the services of Brian Burke, I had hoped they would have at least provided us with some entertainment at the press conference announcing Ron Wilson’s hiring as Toronto’s new head coach and have the soon-to-be former Ducks GM break through the wall behind him like the Kool-Aid Man…oh yeah!!
As a respected hockey man – who nevertheless doesn’t quite fit the reputation of the proven winner Leafs ownership has been quite vocal about hiring – Wilson brings with him expectations of a quicker turnaround than would’ve been anticipated with a rookie NHL coach (like, say John Anderson of the Calder Cup-finalist Chicago Wolves).
That may be a good thing, but there’s definitely a second edge to that sword – and it’s certainly one that will get sharper once Burke eventually climbs aboard, either before the end of this off-season or when his contract with Anaheim expires at the end of next season.
Really, there can be no more doubt as to who Toronto’s targeting for the GM position. If the team wanted a “proven winner,” it would’ve/should’ve hired Craig Patrick or Neil Smith by now.
The fact they haven’t, combined with Burke’s unwillingness to sign a contract extension after the Ducks prevented him from even talking to the Leafs’ GM search committee –which I believe is currently being jointly sponsored by O.J. Simpson and Iraqis For Finding Weapons of Mass Destruction – tells you all you need to know.
Pretending otherwise is a lovely way by which to avoid tampering charges. But with the hiring of Wilson – who would have had his choice of many a vacant coaching gig, but somehow trusted Cliff Fletcher and the suits at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment would bring in a boss above him he’d be comfortable with – the truth is out there for anyone to see.