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Will Burke pull a Lamoriello—and with the playoffs still in sight—change coaches late in the season?

I sense I’m virtually alone in this, but let me say it:  you know what’s more discouraging to me than watching a team, when points matter so much at this time of year, lose 8 out of 9 games? It’s when I hear the coach, with the first words out of his mouth after the game, blame the loss on the fact that two easy goals went it to put his team in a hole.

Look, like a lot of you, I’ve followed and observed hockey (and the Leafs) for a long time.  Decades, in my case.  That doesn’t make me an expert, but I know what I’ve seen over the years.  Of course goaltending matters.  Of course goalies need to make saves.  I get it.

And yes, in today’s NHL, the first goal matters, etc., etc..

But surely no Leaf fans missed the fact that, on the first Washington goal (less than a minute into the game-were we really tired already?) Phaneuf kind of sashayed toward the offending forward and, well, let him go.  (In this case, I use the definition of “sashay” as “a journey taken for pleasure”.)  OK, so let’s protect the captain, coach, and not call him out because, well, he's the captain and you can always find another goalie, right?  (We’ve already destroyed any confidence poor Gustavsson ever might have had. Let’s work on Reimer now.  And his mother should never have take that phone call from that awful, mean reporter, anyway…)

But moving along with the aforementioned play, the eager forward dared to go around the net (let go by Phaneuf, did I already mention that?).  Surely we would take Johansson out on the other side of the post, right?  My man Gunnarsson, who I defend here what feels like nightly, decides he’ll hang back and not get too sweaty and mussed up so early in the game.  But we can’t mention that, eh, coach, ‘cause, after all, we may need to trade Gunner come Monday.

Of course, the Washington forward beat Reimer to the post.  1-0 Caps.

And of course there was that terrible second goal.  It couldn't have been that our defenseman handed the puck to the forechecker (who wasn’t even really a forechecker until we gave him the puck), eh? Maybe that contributed to the “easy” goal?

Two goals.  Could they have been saved?  Sure. But hey, since nobody wants our crappy goalies in a trade, we can throw them under the bus publicly.  No problem.

So the easiest thing for a coach who has no answers is, yes, to blame the young goalie—who can already probably barely keep his breakfast down every morning.  Let’s call him out.

It can’t be the team is playing poorly on this home stand, right?  I mean, really poorly.

And just for the record, coach, it’s not just “two weeks” as Wilson said after the game—unless the Leafs have played 9 games in 14 days and trust me, the schedule has not, repeat has not been bad, what with days off between games, etc.)

So the coach is basically saying:  Don’t look at me.  Fire the goalies.  They’re our problem.

Remember the mantra:  no complaints.  No excuses.  Right.


When it comes to coaches, Brian Burke is an extraordinarily loyal guy to those he puts in charge of his club.  I don’t know precisely how often he has changed coaches in his 13 seasons as an NHL GM, but I know it hasn’t happened many times before.

We have all followed the recent chain of events in Leafland.  Wilson signed his extension some weeks ago, though it was a perfunctory kind of extension—a “parachute” gift of only one extra season beyond this year, if I’m not mistaken.  Three weeks ago, the Leafs were doing fine.  Both goalies had  nice runs at various points and the team was playing pretty well overall.

As I’ve often noted here, when the opposition lets Toronto dictate the game, the Leafs are fast, their defense makes those great “sudden offense” outlet passes to spring a flying forward and all is well with the world.

As I often say here, most NHL teams in this age of parity will, say, win three, lose three and have their little streaks when they look unbeatable and then not so good, and when that happens, fans begin to wonder what is going on.  But then the team wins again, and the anxiety eases for a while and the promise of better days ahead takes over.

That said, the current Leaf “streak” is a bit more worrisome than the garden variety mini-slump.  When you start talking about a stretch of 9 games and you earn two of a possible 18 points, we would seem to be past the point of suggesting this is one of those short-term “things”.  It’s closer to a troubling trend than a mini-slump.

Realistically, only similar struggles from teams like Washington have kept the Leafs where they are right now, amazingly, and that is....still poised—with any kind of luck and any kind of concerted effort—to earn what should be an easily attainable playoff berth in the wide-open Eastern Conference.

As I posted here before, let’s be honest:  their opposition to get into the playoffs at the low end of the top 8 is not exactly the ’77 Habs.  (Heck, the top end of this division isn’t the ’77 Habs, even if you put the Rangers and Bruins together…)  For their part, Ottawa works hard but is certainly beatable.  Winnipeg?  They have some really nice young talent but they can’t play every game at home, can they?  The Panthers must be using mirrors and the Caps, until two days ago, have been absolutely dreadful compared with where they should be.

Now, we’ve been around the mulberry bush this season when it comes to the Leafs and “reasons” for their sometimes unsatisfactory play.  Do we need to list them?  It was the penalty-killing…then giveaways….then the power-play….then secondary scoring….then giving up too many goals.  And of course, weak goaltending.  Then we went back around the horn again. (I've posted often about the lack of "team toughness", but it's already a long list...)

Look, I don’t know what’s going on, to be honest.  We obviously all have our own opinions as to whether it is or isn’t the fault of Reimer and Gustavsson, whether half the team should be traded, or whatever. Something has gone sideways and for me, it’s confusing.

I’m certainly not a blind Leaf loyalist.  After 50 plus years, I have neither the hopeful dreaminess of youth about the blue and white, nor do I find it enjoyable to just criticize everything the organization does.  I’m a big believer that every GM, every coach we have had here over the past 45 years has genuinely done their best to bring a championship to Toronto.  (Ownership since 1970 or so, after the death of Stafford Smythe, well, I’m not so sure…)

This said, those who follow this site know that I do not stand up and applaud every time Burke makes a move.  But I‘ve said many times, he’s a shrewd hockey guy.  Not as good as he thinks, or as good as many fans think, but he’s good. (Click to read a recent post on this subject...)

I credit Wilson for being a coach who has endured a long time in a changing game and has earned a pretty good reputation—and has indeed had a degree of success.  But I wonder, I just wonder if, in lieu of making moves at the trade deadline (I don’t think, by the way, you necessarily have to be a “buyer” or a "seller”—this Burke “build” isn’t just about the playoffs this spring so surely Burke’s intent is to build the best team he can for two years from now and beyond, no?), Burke may do something just as radical as a major deal but much more unexpected.  And that is:  pull a Lou Lamoriello and fire the coach at an unusual time.

Do I think he will do this?  No, I do not.  But might he consider this as one of the options, again, not just for the short-term, but in the long-term best interests of the club?  I think it is possible. And I think it is possible if Burke feels he can find a coach “out there” who is available right now that he believes is the right and best fit for the team Burke has built these past three plus seasons—and will be the right fit going forward—he could consider a move behind the bench.

Alternatively, he may believe that one of the current assistant coaches has the right attitude, manner and experience such that an internal promotion is the answer.

I firmly believe Burke, as not only a smart hockey guy but a loyal individual, has wanted to give Wilson every chance to succeed under his watch. Remember, Wilson has worked with Burke on the Team USA side of things often, and while Cliff Fletcher hired Wilson here, there is mutual respect between the coach and Burke.  Burke has defended Wilson but has also made it clear we need to see “returns”.

Burke’s comment has always been that he hasn't given Wilson a good enough team to make a fair judgment on him as Leaf coach.  On the surface, fair enough, maybe.  That comment is partly Burke being falsely self-critical.  Because if Burke, after three and a half years, has not given his coach a team good enough to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference (ahem…look at Florida under Tallon…), then Burke should be fired.  And Burke will not be fired.

So the “truth” is that Burke has expected the Leafs, in a weak Eastern Conference, to make the playoffs this coming spring with the roster Wilson was given.  (And yes it can still happen, with this very roster and with this coaching staff…) And I believe Burke expects and also needs to see this, not because (and we all agree) squeaking in just to get hammered by a top team won’t do much good by itself, but because it would be a step, a small step.  It would mean that, assuming we are getting better (we are, right?), a playoff appearance would give all these youngsters a chance to experience what it’s all about, rather than just watch it with a beer in hand—as Leaf players have been doing for 8 years now.

So I sense that the Leaf brain trust is having different discussions tonight, and will all day Sunday.  And the discussion will be about trades, yes.  But it could also be about Wilson.

Why do I invoke Lamoriello’s name?  You may (rightly) say he’s a guy who’s always had top teams.  There is no real comparison, in that sense.  My point is, on at least two occasions, (was it only once, help me out) I seem to recall Lamoriello firing a coach days/weeks before the playoffs started.  They went on to win the Cup with Larry Robinson behind the bench one time, or am I dreaming this?

But Lou makes those kinds of moves that go against convention.  While it would surprise me if Burke does the same, I really do believe it matters to him that the Leafs make the playoffs this spring.  Again, not just because “anything can happen once you get there”, but more because at the end of almost four seasons on the job, while we all want to wax hopeful about how young  and fast we are and how the future looks bright, it gets harder to sell the idea when the salesman’s “sale numbers” just don’t add up—and we keep hearing the same promise, and the same song (as we have the last two seasons at least) that the playoffs are absolutely the goal and should be achievable.

Would a coaching change help? Again, I’m not saying it should be done, or will be done.  Any change would have to be about the future, not just the next two months.

Let me know your thoughts.


  1. I've been saying all year that coaching has been a problem and it goes beyond the dreadful treatment of the players in the media by Wilson, which is absolutely disgusting. The second goal was a perfect example, Schenn gets stripped and the Caps score. Wilson says "Riemer should have stopped it it's all his fault". I say really, what the hell game where you watching? Really the fault is coaching. Where's Schenn's outlet on that play?
    The forwards are all at or past the blueline. Who the hell is Schenn supposed to pass it to? That's why this is coaching, after four years Wilson has still not put a defensive structure in place where the team can succeed. He rarley puts players in a place where they can be successful and then blames them when they aren't. Phanuef is a prime example. He is a good dmen, but he is being exposed after having played way too many minutes earlier in the year. He can't play 28 minutes a night, yet that is what he has been doing all season. He is not a great defensive dman yet he plays against every top line. How often has the fourth line been on the ice in a critical situation and had a goal scored on them? More than a couple.

    To top it all off he than refuses to take any blame on himself. It is always the players fault. This is not the type of boss I would want to have. He seems to be a arrogant, weasley ***hole quite frankly. Your quite right Michael, it is an embarrasment to watch this guy deflect blame for his own shortcomings. Lucky for him he could probably be a politician after he is canned. He has got to go before any more young players are screwed over like the goalies have been. This is the only way they have a chance at the playoffs, a new coaching staff. If Burke refuses to do this out of misguided loyalty then they should go together.

    It is time FIRE WILSON.

  2. Quite the provocative post, Michael! BTW, The Globe's Jeff Blair just now posted an article exactly about this on the G&M site.

    Pretty pathetic loss, made even worse by Wilson's comments. I agree, you can't blame the goalies. I mean, they're kids, and have fragile psyches. I'm not saying it was merited or not, but between management and coaches, we've seen this sort of treatment with guys like Toskola, Raycroft, Tellquvist, etc. where a mistake (regardless of the team in front of them) meant riding the pine the next game. Indefensible comments from the head coach at such a critical time in the season. Maybe a change will spark a 7 or 8 game winning streak we so desperately need.

    I'm anticipating chants of "fire Wilson" to resonate at the ACC again and may add my voice this time! Of course, this comes from my own (and other Leaf fans, I presume) "heat of the moment" frustration, so pardon me if I sound unreasonable! But something has to give.


  3. I well recall your earlier posts on this and related subjects, Willbur. At the end of the day, the Leafs may salvage a playoff spot, and maybe even do something in the playoffs.

    But shy of that, I do wonder where we "go from here", when it comes to coaching. There has been a lot of personnel turnover, so I'm not sure the "same old voice" issue is the problem. It may be THE voice, but not necessarily because it's the same old voice. That said, it's unusual in the modern era when coaches like Ruff and Trotz last as long as they have. I think that maybe those cases are a function of a patient GM, but also tight ownership budgets and low expectations. (No one expects Buffalo or Nashville to win a Cup, with their money issues and ownership issues of the past, etc. so staying the course has worked fine in those markets...)

    In terms of Wilson's public personna, well, I hear you. It's one thing if you have a team capable of winning the Cup, as Tortorella had in Tampa, to call your players out. But while I don't expect Wilson to pretend he doesn't notice weak goals, there's a way to deal with those things happening without making public declarations of blame, which both Burke and Wilson have done of late.

    When you're dealing with young players, a show of genuine support goes farther than blame. It's not a lack of effort. Heck, Reimer made a stunning stop at one point, that should have given the Leafs a boost when it was still a game. But nothing happened.

    Thanks Willbur. Good to chat.

  4. Thanks Caedmon. I'll get to your thoughts in a second.

    Firs, to to be clear (not that you were suggesting otherwise), one of the reasons I typically do not check out what mainstream media columnists are writing about is precisely that I don't want to be influenced by their views. I don't care what they say. When I write something it's because this is what I am thinking, and it never has anything remotely to do with what someone at the Globe, Sun or anywhere else might have said, in a newspaper or online somewhere. I have plenty of ideas and thoughts on my own to spur daily column perspectives.

    (I do hear talk shows on occasion, and see some of the "analysts" and "insiders" on TV. Mostly I wonder why they get paid as much as they do for what they do. But that's a side issue...I often get better perspective from people I speak with here every day...)

    With regard to the Leaf goaltending situation, I guess this is where I'm at: both guys have flaws, but also have talent. I've said here for ages, a long time, that Allaire has been a mess when it comes to Gustavsson. (Just like you made me aware of the Globe column tonight, now I hear the mainstream media is onto that subject as well, about two years too late...) Gus will only be "free" when he goes somewhere and starts to play like he did, freely, without a piano on his back- like he did in Sweden.

    Reimer will be fine. An All-Star, I don't know. But he'll be OK.

    But if you're going to blame the goalies, well, who signed all those goalies?

    Funny, coaches never complain when a goaltender makes them look good, or helps them win games the team had no business coaching. But the moment things go south a bit, it's point the fingers at the goalie.

    I just don't think that attitude builds a good team harmony. Instead of guys taking responsibility for themselves, everybody is thinking, "hey management thinks our goalies's not our fault."

    Even if the players don't actually think that way, rather than support their goalies and fight even harder, they seem to react like, "here we go again" when a goal goes in.

    The attitude "example" comes from the top- management and the coaches.

  5. As mentioned before, Michael, VLM is my first stop now for all things Leafs, and I'm highly appreciative for the insight and passion you provide. My apologies if there were any inferences by my G&M reference--none were intended. I completely agree--there is much better (and much more respectful, I should add) discussion and analysis here and none of us are paid! Hope that clears up any issues...

    I remember the big deal when Allaire was brought in. And bigger when Giguere came here (all "Burkians" I suppose) and it was a big happy family. But clearly something isn't meshing. I can't believe they even interviewed him recently--who interviews the goalie coach? Even in Toronto! Like you, one has to feel for Gus (and Reimer, too, at this point). But Wilson's comments this time went a bit too far. In fairness, and correct me if I'm wrong, he did this last year when he called out Kessel and I'm not sure there was this much backlash.


  6. Fire RW now, whatever. Bring Carlyle in now or when the season is finished, I'm with that. Irregardless, I think RW is just.....fed up. Is he to blame? Sure, in part. But if you think replacing him is going to solve everything, well, good luck with that.
    But I don't feel much of anything anymore regarding our goaltending with the exception of disinterest or disgust- both of them could go on to have decent careers in the right different circumstances, but it's not here and it's not now. I do not believe either of them have the necessary level of talent to become a bona-fide 1A NHL goaltender. And I feel bad for them, but in my world the Leafs come first and a player who can't handle the pressure and perform, no matter how nice or beloved they are, have to go. The team is first.
    Wilson's demeanor with the press is........ irrelevant. Remember how friendly and personable Maurice was with them? Made zero difference to anything. I think the only adjustment you can make regarding our team and the press is to keep them away from the players or severely restrict their access. Reimer looks about ready to crumple lately and Gustavsson, with everything else he's had to deal with, is the same. And the same inane, useless questions keep coming, day after day, week after week, a dozen mics and recorders jammed in your face over and over again.
    Coaching change right now might give us the boost to get into the 1st round, but that's it. Don't strip the team, keep building the cupboard, eliminate contract and performance drags and reward the Marlies who deserve it. By all means find a coach who fits the team and Toronto. Build a team that terrifies the opponent long before the puck is dropped. We're going to be a great team soon and, I hope and believe, for quite a while. Keep your eyes on the prize.
    Last thought- everyone seems to have forgotten the uncountable number of times Wilson has singled out individual players publicly for praise and recognition. Always encouraging, always right there willing to defend them. It's like none of it ever happened now.

  7. I must say that I enjoy your blog as you seem to write it objectively and not just as a fan.I said to my children last week that it was time to let Wilson go and start moving out the pieces that are not long term such as Macarther.Colburne,Kadri can do as well up here now as others that we have been counting on,they were fine in the lineup earlier in the year and the team won.I see a team badly shaken without much confidence,not just the goalies. Confidence is everything in life not just hockey and Wilson cant or wont instill it in this team. Time for a change!

  8. The leafs are so far having a contending roster. This might be a great year to tank and draft a high quality prospect, accumulate draft picks by selling non core parts. As for Wilson if the goal is to tank - I cannot think of no better coach given his last 4 years on the leafs. Always underachieving, always never enough, always and excuse. He exudes no confidence and at times handles this like a job where he lacks the passion and desire to win.

  9. Well there is one silver lining in this string of terrible play. Leaf fans have had cold water splashed over their heads. Even when Toronto was at the top early the special teams and unbalanced scoring were apparent. The team is not deep at any position, nor have a blue chip goalie on the horizon. The defence is inconsistent for lack of better word and up front still lacks a true no.1 center.

    Is their hope? Of course. However Leaf fans have to understand that this team is not a contender by any definition nor will they be for at least another year or two, their team is so far unable to make the playoffs when 4 teams (Tampa, Buffalo, Washington, Montreal) all had terrible years.

  10. Caedmon- I appreciate your kind words, and I apologize if it sounded as though I was "taking off" on something you said. I always enjoy your posts here and appreciate that you take the time to visit and share thoughtful commentary.

    I wrote in response more as a point of clarification to anyone who might be visiting here for the first time. As I put a lot into this effort (VLM), I would be disappointed if anyone thought that the basis of my work, ever, was a reliance on what, for example, mainstream media folks were posting about.

    Of course I am, broadly speaking, aware of some of what goes on out there, in terms of what "people" are saying, either in the blogosphere or even in the daily newspapers in Toronto. You can't watch TV, turn on the radio or click online and not be. But my point was simply that, while I respect the views of others, and particularly enjoy some of the "blog" work out there on the hockey side of things, this is my own point of view alone, based on years of following this organization and how they handle things- along with current observations, of course.

    You referenced "not being paid"- in the interests of transparency, there is a small bit of advertising on this site, and I appreciate all advertisers, of course. It's very modest revenue but appreciated. While I am not averse to financial possibilities in the future (if this site were to grow) it has been, for the past two and a half years, a labor of love, I guess you'd say.

    It was thoughtful of you to take the time to write back. You did not need to clarify, but it was nice of you to do so. Thank you.

    And I meant no offence to the mainstream media, or to Blair and the G&M. Good writer, nice guy on the Fan 590.

  11. KidK...well said as always.

    I agree, of course, that Wilson has often praised players and defended them. (I think, generally speaking, most coaches do...) To be clear, I have not forgotten that, KidK. I just think he is now disproportionately laying public blame on two goaltenders with, as I mentioned here the other day, each less than 100 games played in the NHL, and not a single playoff game between them.

    It's a lot to expect of you our goalies. But again, that's just my view. I hear what you're saying, and as I say, probably too often, that's part of the fun of being "fans"- we all see things differently.

    As I posted, I'm not saying Wilson should be fired. And I made clear any move has to have the long-term vision in mind. My point was simply that I think, for the time time, it's something that Burke may actually consider.

    You know I respect your views. Always will. Thanks.

  12. Thanks for the kind words, Derek.

    You've touched on an important subject. Confidence, we all know, is huge in sports. It's obvious but it's true. Whether we're talking about a youth player in any sport, or professionals. And yes, a coach can have a lot to do with the psyche of a team and how they feel about themselves. (Even some of the most successful players in sports- and that includes top goalies in hockey- go through periods when they have very fragile confidence. But if they can fight through and are supported by coaches and teammates, they generally bounce back and are their old selves again...)

    How often is it said that a team reflects its coach? You've well articulated how the Leafs "look" to even the casual observer right now.

    It's funny, though. One goal, one win can change a losing atmosphere, and nervousness can be replaced suddenly with confidence. The Leafs still have time to right the ship, as it were.

    If so, we may all be signing a different tune soon. And as fans, we ourselves may have much more of that elusive "confidence".

    Thanks Derek. Good post.

  13. Anon...thanks for posting. The Leafs won't tank...but I have to believe Burke is not changing his plan. He will continue to build a solid team for the future while selling off only, as you put it, non-core assets.

    With regard to Wilson, the thing is, the guy has been a successful coach. He led some good teams especially in Washington and San Jose, but Anaheim, too, as I recall. He's done well with Team USA over the years in various competitions. By all accounts he is a personable guy with a great sense of humour. Sadly, we don't see any of that, as fans. At least not very often.

  14. Anon II...thanks.

    I don't think most Leaf fans were fooled by early season success as much as hopeful. I think those who follow the league pretty closely know the Leafs lack certain attributes. But given, as you well cite, the way the Eastern Conference sets up- and the fact that certain teams have indeed had poor years- many hoped the Leafs could slide into a playoff spot which would give the kids a shot at some valuable experience.

  15. Well, had a night to sleep on it and calm down a bit. So on reflecting now, I still think Ron Wilson must go. His relationship with the media is besides the point as KidK pointed out. However much he praises people when things are going good, he is just the opposite when things are going bad. He starts looking for ways to defelect the blame from him by throwing players "under the bus". To me this is not the mark of a good leader, but the mark of a good politician. I am not so sure that greatness is just around the corner for this team either. They have some nice pieces but they are still a long way from being elite.

    One last thought something I have mentioned before, yes this a young team, but it is a young team with a lot of miles on it (Kessel is a 6year vet, Phanuef an 8year vet). Can we realalisticly expect the young players to keep getting better or are they already at thier ceiling?

  16. Willbur...I'm sure Burke and company always take that "night to sleep" on things, too.

    As I said earlier, I'm not suggesting (personally) that the Leafs have to make a move, but my thought is they might be entertaining it seriously for the first time, for the reasons I cited above.

    And you're right, this is a young team. We all keep saying that with a hopeful eye to the future. That said, being young is one thing. But it does not assure that the team will "grow together", or that they have youth in the right places to succeed, or that the organization will be able to afford them all when they "get good".

    Managing the youth, and somewhere along the way adding pieces like Gary Roberts once was, what Mike Knuble has been with other teams, etc...that tough, veteran presence- is sorely needed, too.

    Thanks Willbur.

  17. It has been clear to me for some time that Ron Wilson is the wrong coach in Toronto. His biggest fault as a coach is his man-management. The current goalies are good examples but the one that has been obvious for a long time is Luke Schenn. I doubt that Schenn knows which way is up these days. He plays left side, right side, with Phaneuf, with Gardiner, penalty kill, end of the bench, up in the press box; and, all the while, his coach seems to need Schenn most as a scapegoat (although Reimer and Gustaffson have been promoted to top spot in that department over the past couple of weeks.)
    There's a terrific player in San Jose who can certainly relate to Luke Schenn - his name is Patrick Marleau. Schenn might seek counselling from Marleau. Of course the advice might be "Hang in there, kid, he'll be gone soon." I, for one, can hardly wait for that day - let's hope Wilson makes the announcement himself via Twitter.
    Wilson be gone - Go Leafs!

  18. BC LeafFan- Your points are well made -and, as importantly, your post made me nod- and laugh! Well done.

    Love the Marleau reference....

  19. "The Ottawa Senators and St. Louis Blues agreed to a trade on Sunday morning, sending coveted goaltending prospect Ben Bishop to Ottawa in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft."

    Other teams are making the right moves while the Leafs do little.

    This was an excellent move. Bishop is a stud goaltending prospect and all they traded was a second are lucky if you can even draft a Bishop quality goalie in the second round.

    Plus this means the Senators don't have to play Auld.They can play Bishop in his place...a smoking improvement

    So much for the hopes that the Senators would tank and the Leafs would slip into their place in the playoffs.

  20. DP...I don't know enough about Bishop from actually seeing him play, so personally, I'd have to withhold judgment. But I agree that, if he is more than just a "good prospect", that, if he can play in the league right now, it's pretty good if you only give up a second-round pick for a kid that may be able to play already at such a key position. (I'm surprised St. Louis moved him, but they seem to have two guys playing awfully well right now...)

    Hard to say if this will necessarily give the Sens a boost. It could, as you cite. I guess we'll see, DP....

  21. From my point of view, if you're a goalie in the NHL, you'd getter be ready to play at that level. And if you aren't, or can't, then you should be in the minors where patience can be preached as you learn your craft, and we can be more considerate about your feelings. Wilson didn't say anything many fans haven't been thinking - and he took a good long time to finally say it.
    Reimer has been subpar since his non-concussion. Yes, the D has left him holding the bag with their lazy, uncommitted play, but how he didn't cover that wraparound... that's high school stuff.
    However, the reason for severely assessing our coaching staff is evident in every one of the past 20 games or so... we don't generate solutions to our opponents' strategies. Our offence has only been effective when allowed to wheel - we've yet to solve a tight, defensive team. And now that our cross ice passes are regularly being picked off, scoring has dried up across the lines. No one will win a Cup from the perimeter. Period.
    Besides that, this is a team that looks unprepared and unfocused, game after game. Schenn's unawareness of Semin on last night's second goal is ridiculously bush league - no excuses! But let's not single out our boy Luke - every defenceman, Gunnarsson included, has been guilty of similar giveaways over the past little while. That's bad coaching.
    But... no #1 goalie. No shut-down defence pair. No #1 center. No heavyweight forwards. Who should be fired?

  22. Your analysis is fair, Gerund O'.

    I guess where maybe I see things differently (about Wilson's public comments) is, for me, when a leader makes public assertions, picking on the youngest and/or most fragile players in the group makes no sense for me.

    These are the times when Pat Burns, for example, would spend time with Felix Potvin and build him up, and remind Felix that they were in this together- not throw him under the moving bus.

    As fans, we can castigate the goalies all we want, if that is what we think is the problem. It's not like either of these guys is making 8 million a year, or has the attitude of entitlement. They've both worked hard, at a young age (especially in Reimer's case) to make it to "the Show". If the brass doesn't feel he/they is/are ready, then they should, as you say, be playing in the minors.

    But they are asking these guys to tend goal here, now. And assuming they are practising hard, trying their best, the fault then lay with management. They are the ones who put the "wrong" players in a position to fail.

    And it wasn't that long ago that Gus was carrying the team, and Reimer won three in a row, with back-to-back shutouts. So I sense there is much more at issue here than an "soft" goal or two some nights.

    Again, that's just my own view.

    I agree there are so many issues of late (all the things you site and issues that I've tried to post about here at various points this season) that there are still big challenges in Leafland.

    Thanks as always Gerund O'...let's chat after the deadline and see where we're at!