Ron Wilson Just Plain Gets It

Perhaps you have all seen this quote before, but I hadn’t and Damien has it on his ESPN post:

“Every single day, you ask the same questions. You know the amazing thing? You’ve never asked me once about what we’re doing in practice. ‘What was that drill?’ No one’s ever asked that. It’s always, ‘What’s Jason Blake going to do tomorrow? Where’s Brian Burke having dinner tonight?’ You don’t really talk about the actual X’s and O’s of the game. I find that kind of strange. So, then I wonder, maybe you don’t ask those questions because maybe you don’t understand.”

That my friends is why there is a TSM. He is so right, so accurate, it really is quite amazing that it has taken so long for someone to come out and articulate it. Seriously, with the exception of Wharnsby, who ever gives you a nugget about strategy, a word about real hockey? Do me a favor, hell, do yourselves a favor look at the sun or star the morning after a game and find real analysis….You won’t, because there isn’t any. Happy Howie always has to have an angle. Think about how much hockey these guys see. Seriously. They are at every practice, every game. They should know a ton about the game, the players, the strategy etc…. They don’t. We as fans get screwed here in Toronto. This Sunday, watch an NFL football game, listen to the pregame, watch a few plays, and I guarantee you will hear an announcer say “when I watched practice, or when I talked to a player last night, or look for this player to try this today”. Compare that with most leaf coverage….it just isn’t there. They are so caught up in the story, the scoop, the angle, the real story gets missed. Take a look at the washington post, the miami herald, the boston globe and see what you are missing. Here they sell all sizzle and no steak and I think Wilson is right, it’s because they don’t get it. That, or as one scribe recently told me, they are just so damn lazy.

Growing up, I remember being annoyed listening to Howie Meeker or some other announcer telling the boys in the truck to rewind the tape so he could show you something. When was the last time you saw a replay with a telestrator? Here’s the really interesting part of the story, Damien’s editorial on the quote:

“This, folks, was a marriage made in heaven … or hell. Wilson, you see, is a smart fellow, an American with a little bit of Canadian mixed in, who went to Toronto primed to take on what some perceive to be the league’s most voracious media. In reality, the Toronto media isn’t nearly as nasty as it’s made out to be, but what it lacks in bite, it makes up for with sheer volume. There are a lot of cameras and microphones and pens, and that’s just for the morning skate. Wilson made it clear after signing a long-term deal that he wasn’t going to play kissy-face with anyone, and after he ripped the “negative” Canadian media in the playoffs last season while coaching the San Jose Sharks, you can be sure there’s a big explosion coming at some point.”

You notice what is missing? A retort, an explanation, anything that dismisses or defends himself or his fellow scribe? Why???? This isn’t Wilson attacking the “most voracious media” This is Wilson saying you guys make a ton of noise, none of which is the least bit relevant. I will say it time and again, we can handle negative media. Be fair and be balanced and be as negative as you want. I don’t care what anyone else has to say, if nothing else Cliff Fletcher’s move to hire Ron Wilson makes this go around as GM a success. Maybe Damien, they aren’t any better. Maybe Steve they are. I can tell you one thing, from a coaching perspective the team is better prepared and in better hands each and every night.

The ESPN story is here

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November 19, 2008 11:32 pm

Amazing point TSM. I’ve been paying serious attention to hockey for only a couple of years now and I would love to see more analysis of the tactics of the game.

I think the most I heard was Stajan saying how the neutral zone was the team’s home plate. I’d like to know more about Wilson’s system.

Guy Trottier
Guy Trottier
November 20, 2008 2:52 am

Refreshing points,ironically I began thinking of Howie Meeker just prior to you invoking his name……remember Bob Goldham?

November 20, 2008 9:32 am

Loved both Howie (Meeker) and Bob G….for that matter, Peter Puck provided more hockey analysis than those you speak of above!

I know for some reason people don’t like Pierre McGuire (okay, he can use over the top superlatives) but he does provide true analysis….

Down Goes Brown
November 20, 2008 10:58 am

Not only does Cox not refute the point, he instead goes out of his way to giddility predict a Wilson meltdown.

Conflict! Drama! Oh, the excitement!

This is what Toronto’s hockey media has become. No interest in the nuts and bolts, just constant personality-driven storylines. Who’s fueding with who, who’s angry about what, etc. Meanwhile, the important stuff just floats on by.

One example: Remember last year, when Maurice had the Leafs playing a man-to-man defensive system, the only team in the league to do so? Did anyone ever see a good, in-depth breakdown of what that meant in the Star or Sun? I mean, you have a team trying something new defensively that nobody else seems to think will work… that seems important, no? Worth some actual reporting, maybe.

Or take the leadup to the deadline. We heard all about the NTC drama — will he? won’t he? what does his wife think? But did anybody ever actually do any reporting on what the various NTCs said? Kubina and Kaberle both had special clauses that limited their NTCs, but the media wasn’t interested. Forget the details, get to the soap opera!


November 20, 2008 12:09 pm

From the sun and star I get Mats Sundin sold his house…. for in depth analysis I have to go to

November 20, 2008 3:23 pm

DGB – It’s like what Pat Quinn said: The Toronto media is more interested in being the story than reporting the story.

November 20, 2008 3:25 pm

” The Toronto media is more interested in being the story than reporting the story.”

Wow I couldn’t of said that any more perfect than that! Great quote!

November 20, 2008 3:28 pm


Guy Trottier
Guy Trottier
November 20, 2008 8:36 pm

I haven’t really had a fave Toronto sports writer since Frank Orr.

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