Custom Search

Wilson's impatience nothing new- but there is a point in his recent rant

The Leafs piled up some "stats" in Atlanta Friday night -- a welcome night where they weren't in a cliffhanger to the very end. 

In a season where too many nights the Leafs have not been able to bury chances, forwards were able, it seemed, to relax and the result, for one night, was a rather stunning victory over a team that had been very good so far this season.

No need to go over the details, other than to mention those five power-play goals and to say that Grabovski is certainly making a bid for a mid-season All-Star selection .  But there is one other thing that stood out for me:  Reimer stopped Byfuglien on a power-play when it was still 2-1 part-way through the second period.  Byfuglien had bulled his way around Phaneuf but Reimer made a big save.

The Leafs went on to take control of the game.  Sometimes those moments that could have changed the momentum of the game get lost when the final score is so lopsided.

I’ve posted regularly over the past many months about Wilson’s seeming despair when he has to interact with the local media.  (Click to see the earlier story.)

People knew he was an acerbic guy (publicly, at least) when he arrived, but the “honeymoon period” (one that lasted pretty much all the way through Paul Maurice’s short two-year tenure) has not been granted an extension in Wilson’s case.

He is too dour, too sour, too often.

Beyond his obvious negative attitude toward the media, his tone and how he says what he says is sometimes a bigger problem sometimes than what he says.  The unfortunate thing is that the guy is a great hockey mind, knows the game so well and could captivate the local fan and media base if he utilized any charm (some might say guile) at all.

When he took off on the media after the recent Boston home game after some simple questions about Reimer, there was actually some truth about what he said. (Though I must say,  he was all over the map—one second suggesting folks were trying to build a monument to Reimer then complaining about the media talking about sending him down to the minors…)

The thing is, Toronto hockey fans have a long history of grabbing on to any shred of hope or a solitary good performance and ratcheting a guy up to star status. That is indeed often true.  (And yes, this can sometimes apply to the local media folks who cover the team who are supposedly “neutral” and “objective” yet often sound like fans themselves when things go well for the team—and then like spurned lovers when the team predictably falters.)

Too, there is an obvious tendency, especially for fans, to over-value how good Leaf draft picks and players are and what they are “worth” on the hockey market.

At the same time we, like the local media, tear players (and coaches, etc.) down with regularity, too.

Now, in fairness, a lot of this has to stem from years of futility and frustration.  Fans are, understandably, so keen to want to believe that the team will get better that every time someone gets drafted, for example, the microscope is on that player (Schenn and Kadri just the most recent examples).

All “sides” in this relationship—Leaf coaches and management, we the fans and the “objective” media—may be wise to keep the above in mind and put themselves in the shoes of the other guys.  It might make for a less antagonistic attitude and less negativity.

But Wilson, and to an extent Brian Burke, has as big a role—maybe bigger—to play than anyone in changing the tone of the relationship.


No comments:

Post a Comment