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Maple Leaf power-play “scary-dangerous”?

I’m all for coaches being positive and supporting their players and helping to build their confidence along the way.  (I just wrote last week, for example, that it would be great if Ron Wilson could look less pained when speaking with reporters and enjoy his time as coach of the Leafs.) 

New York Jets football coach Rex Ryan, for example, builds tremendous confidence in his players—some would call it arrogance— and he has been very successful with his approach, both as a defensive coordinator with Baltimore and as head coach with the Jets.  He’s edgy as well as a booster, a cheerleader and motivator. 

It’s him, and it works.

For some coaches, there is a method in why they say what they say, and when they say it.  That said, I’m not so sure that calling your own team’s power-play “scary-dangerous” before the season even starts, as Maple Leaf coach Ron Wilson evidently suggested to the assembled media that covers his team, is a good strategy— or well-timed.

Wilson made the comment after his Leafs finished their elongated 9-game pre-season money-making schedule over the weekend.  Coaches can say whatever they want, and good for Wilson that he likes the Toronto power-play unit of Kaberle, Phaneuf, Bozak, Kessel and Versteeg.

He said this while emphasizing that the Leafs had accomplished their success against “regular” NHL penalty-killers.

I’m surprised a coach with the experience Wilson has would even make that kind of statement, especially at this time of the year.  Maybe he was hoping to inspire the troops.  Maybe he realizes his time in Toronto could be shorter than everyone anticipated if he doesn’t build a more successful atmosphere around his team and start to sound more positive, at least some of the time.

Now, not to diminish their “success”, but I’d want to see a bit more evidence of that “dangerous” power-play in action when the season actually starts, before I’d make such a proclamation. I’m not saying pre-season has no meaning at all.  Certain habits can certainly be put in motion and then built upon once the real season begins.

But I think the coach is jumping the gun when he suggests the Leaf power-play is “scary-dangerous”.

Hey, he might prove prophetic.

But let’s talk after the first ten games or so.     


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