Monday Morning Chatter
Not sure what Brian Burke is so bothered about.
Nobody suggested Ron Wilson should be fired. Well, I get emails and messages every day suggesting Wilson is long past his due date, but I haven't said Wilson should be fired, and I'm not aware of any prominent media people who have called for his public beheading.
That said, Wilson is the only common Leaf denominator from the last full three seasons, along with his assistants Rob Zettler and Tim Hunter. Moreover, while he is not solely to blame when things go wrong, he is the head coach and therefore in a position to have as much impact on the results of the operation as any non-playing personnel.
It would also be reasonable to suggest he bears more responsibiity than some of the players, say, Tim Brent or Mike Brown or Carl Gunnarson.
Point is, you can't possibly evaluate the Leafs without evaluating the coaching staff. Burke seemed to suggest that Wilson has nothing to do with the current losing streak, that it has only to do with the players and the coach should be exempt from any discussions about possible team improvements. Well, that just not logical.
Burke should defend his coach, except in this case, Wilson isn't under attack. It's simply been noted that should the bleeding continue, at some point the coach's future will come into question.
Other weekend musings:
--Sounds like Tuesday's GM meetings in Toronto would be more chatter than decision-making. The issue they should be discussing but won't be is the increasing frequency in which a player who lands a clean bodycheck on an opponent is forced to fight. Sometimes the player who jumps the initial hitter gets the instigator, sometimes - like Saturday when Steve Montador jumped Mike Komisarek after a legal hit on Tyler Ennis - there's only a two-minute roughing minor awarded.
Everybody is worried about keeping hitting in the game. Well if a player like Komisarek has to decide between bodychecking an opponent, having to fight and sitting in the box for five minutes or not delivering the bodycheck in the first place, at some point he's going to decide the hit isn't worth the trouble and will back off. That's just not good for the game.
--The sense of excitement rose in the Rogers Centre on Sunday every time Devin Hester touched the ball. Sadly, that just didn't happen quite enough.
--It's terrific that Danny Brannagan got the chance to take a few snaps in Montreal on Sunday. That's huge for the kid, and now gives him at least a fighting chance to be the third stringer next season, with current No. 3 Ken Dorsey likely to retire.
--Nikolai Khabibulin doesn't have the numbers, but he's been largely terrific for the Oilers this season behind a defence that is rather suspect. In general, Edmonton has reason to be excited about Messrs. Hall, Paajarvi and Eberle, but the club still is thin at centre and on defence. If they're going to address all of those depth issues through the draft alone, this rebuild will take forever.
--Noticeable on Sunday at the dome was that all the hotel windows in the end zone were covered over with ads. Nobody gets to watch the mightly NFL for free. Also noticeable was the fact that that a video message was needed to explain the singer was performing "The Canadian National Anthem," rather than O Canada. It's like us being non-imports in our own league.
--Loved the CIS action on the weekend. Did have to mention one bit of hyperbole during The Score's broadcast of the Mac-Western tilt on Saturday in which, for reasons not clear, it was suggested that Niagara Falls is one of the seven wonders of the world. It's not.
--Only if you think David Perron had a chance to brace and protect himself can you think Joe Thornton's hit was legal. Perron, by the way, missed both Saturday's and Sunday's games for the Blues with dizziness and headaches.
--Peyton Hillis is my new favourite football player. If there's an element largely missing in today's CFL, its the bruising, downhill fullback. There are some, but not many.