The Hypocritical Coach
Funny, really, to hear Ron Wilson bleating today about how unfair it is that the media is allowed to watch his practices and report on them.
This is the very same coach, ladies and gentleman, who upon coming to Toronto last season ripped the very same media people for not taking the time to watch practice carefully and to ask questions specifically related to drills and practice techniques.
Then again, Wilson often likes to play both sides. Remember him waving his Canadian passport when he was hired, telling the world about his Canadian roots and love for the country?
Then earlier this week, when asked, he made it abundantly clear his complete and total allegiance was with the U.S. in its joust for junior gold with Canada.
Now, I have absolutely no problem with Wilson being an American and cheering for the Americans in a hockey competition. But why the big show about being Canadian?
As far as his outburst at practice today, it was typical Wilson, lashing out at the media when the media has nothing to do with the state of his hockey team or the very, very mediocre job he has done in 1 1/2 seasons with the club. It was an open question how Wilson would handle the Toronto media situation after previous NHL stops in outposts like Anaheim, Washington and San Jose, and the answer has been fine from time to time, with occasional irrational moments.
Today, quite probably, was a very transparent attempt to deflect attention his team to a phony spat with the media.
Every team in the NHL has open practices. It doesn't seem to bother or slow down the Detroit Red Wings, San Jose Sharks, Chicago Blackhawks, Washington Capitals or Pittsburgh Penguins.
Just the Leafs. Just Wilson.
And if he really thinks it's unfair that the media gets to watch practice, why in the world would he mock the media last year for not taking the time to watch practice carefully?
As far as centring out Phil Kessel for criticism today, again, that is typical Wilson. Hockey people will tell you his worst tendency as a head coach has always been that when things are good it's about him, and when things are back, it's about them.
Go ahead, dump on Kessel. He probably deserves it. Moreover, he wanted to come to Toronto to be The Guy and get paid like it, so he's going to have to learn that being The Guy isn't always wine and roses.
But Kessel could just as easily fire back and say the team would be much better if the head coach had managed to make the penalty killing something better than absolutely horrific during his entire time with the club.
Could it be that Wilson is completely frustrated that despite his years of experience he has been completely unable to get this Leaf team to improve one iota in more than 120 games?
A better question is probably this: barring significant improvement in this team over the final half of the season, what would possibly motivate GM Brian Burke to bring Wilson back next year?