Burnt Berger!- Updated From Berlin With Berger’s Retort

Anyone hear the press conference after tonight’s game?  Wow….Wilson went after Berger but good….really scorched him.


TSM Update:

Here is what Howie has to say:

“If there is one thing, among many, that I’ve learned in my first season around Ron Wilson, it’s that the coach of the Maple Leafs doesn’t react well to criticism. That’s not to suggest the other Leaf coaches I’ve had experience with in the past 20 years enjoyed being challenged, but Wilson takes it as a particular affront — mainly because of his heightened sensitivity to all things media.”

Ya think maybe the common denominator is maybe, just maybe the idiot asking the question?

“Ron fancies himself as being cool and detached when it comes to reporters; he has often insisted that coverage of his team is “irrelevant”. But, he belies that notion in just about every one of his daily gatherings with the media horde that follows the Maple Leafs. In fact, he’s probably the most media-paranoid coach I’ve ever been associated with, and that’s saying a mouthful after my years around the big Irishmen, Pat Burns and Pat Quinn. Though Wilson is often cutting and sarcastic in his repartee with the Toronto media, he finally boiled over in his post-game scrum on Tuesday night, moments after the Leafs had come from behind to beat the New York Islanders in overtime.”

I think Wilson is actually good with the media. He goes on the radio all the time. He isn’t as brash as Maurice was, that’s for sure…

“I couldn’t quite figure the timing of it. Here the Leafs were — in Game 67 of another lost season, with no chance to make the playoffs — and Wilson is suddenly pulling out all the stops. Stick challenges are so rare in the NHL, and are almost always utilized as a last resort in a critical circumstance. I had difficulty in Ottawa envisioning such a circumstance, with the Leafs 11 points removed from a playoff spot and wedged, as per usual, in no-man’s land in the Eastern Conference standings.”

Oh, you mean you wanted them to TANK???? You are so two faced Howard. You, on your high horse telling all that will listen that you don’t believe it is possible. How pathetic that you play this card when Wilson does what you say he should, that is be trying to win at all costs, he is a coach after all. Now of course in that your prediction of them finishing 30th is in jeopardy you must find a way to criticize, so why not suggest they aren’t doing the right things to lose???? What a jackass.

“Wilson’s move in Ottawa on Monday was justified, but I found the timing to be ridiculous. If this was the sort of tactic he planned on ultimately deploying, why didn’t he try and pull it off back in November or December, when the potential gain would have been more meaningful? That’s all I was questioning. Calling for a stick measurement isn’t really a ballsy move; in fact, it borders on a cheap ploy by a coach who’s team is usually in a desperate situation. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Wouldn’t it have been more useful for Wilson to try such a maneuver, let’s say, on Nov. 15th in Vancouver, when his players were nobly battling the Canucks at the end of a tiring road swing? Or against Washington at the Air Canada Centre on Dec. 6th, when the Capitals clung to a 2-1 lead for the entire third period? At least the season was still hanging in the balance back then. There was nothing to be gained from growing desperate in Ottawa on Monday.”

They were trying to win a game you moron! Like you want them to. Maybe Wilson isn’t as bright as you and didn’t find the right guy to call it on during the games you question. Maybe the Spezza one was so obvious it was a near certainty that it would be successful.

“Where Wilson’s media paranoia, and his aversion to any sort of criticism, got the better of him, was in his interpretation of my question. He chose to view it as a challenge to his integrity as a coach. I was simply asking about the odd timing. Now, I can understand why he took exception to my thought that he could have used the stick challenge earlier in the season. I think he determined it to be an accusation that he wasn’t trying as hard to win games back then, but that’s absurd. It never crossed my mind, and the concept of his integrity as a coach was not at all a part of my thought process until he raised it in his post-game harangue Tuesday night. On reflection, though, it was a rather insensitive remark after a tough loss to the Senators, and one I could have phrased differently. Wilson is a proud man and a very good coach; I’ve never questioned either of those qualities in a general sense. My challenge on Monday related only to the timing of his decision in that particular game.”

It never crossed your mind? Didn’t anyone ever teach you to think before you spoke? Your a reporter. You like to think you are the king of the Maple Leaf Beat. You put so much time in to it that you don’t bother watching other teams play ( something others may refer to as preparation), but you don’t think about how your question could be interpreted. Think about it Howard, how else should the question be interpreted? Your argument holds no water in my opinion. You are setting up the old, they can’t even lose properly argument (we can all hear it now) and you know it.

“Unfortunately, Wilson doesn’t have the mind-set to accept any sort of media challenge. He is so hyper-sensitive to being even mildly confronted that he often executes pre-emptive strikes, accusing reporters in scrums of harebrained notions about his club that have never — and would never — cross our minds. Just about every day, it’s “you guys” this, and “you guys” that, as Ronny pre-supposes some imaginary form of attack. I’ve lost count of the number of times my colleagues and I have looked at each other moments after a Wilson rant and said, “Where the hell did that come from?”

This one is simple. He told “you and your colleagues” this earlier, start asking hockey questions! You aren’t there to ask insightful questions, you are there to dig up dirt, get a scoop etc. How about trying to be a hockey reporter as opposed to the expose kind of crap you usually have, you may get the respect it sounds like you are looking for!

“Sadly, this flaw in his character shrouds one of the most thorough, clever and articulate hockey people I’ve ever run across. Hardly a day passes that I don’t learn something from Wilson and — privately — we’ve had several engaging chats, mostly about his days as a defenseman with the Maple Leafs in the late-1970s. When I felt we had gotten off to a rocky start in our relationship early in the season, I attempted to call a meeting with Ron. I asked him, personally, and I tried to arrange it through Leafs’ media relations director Pat Park. I had a tough few years with Quinn as well, but we ironed out our differences very quickly once we got together behind closed doors. It’s the way I always try to mend confrontation, but the request to Ron fell on deaf ears. Perhaps such an understanding or truce would defeat an edge Wilson feels he holds over reporters. In that regard, he’s only fooling himself.”

Look in the mirror my friend, look in the mirror.You know what they say about first impressions, you can’t undo them. Perhaps, your reporting style (gasp) is of the kind that Wilson figures the meeting wouldn’t be worth the time he lost in having it with you. This response is pathetic. You will be on the radio all day today answering up to it, calling the stick challenge at this time stupid and counter-productive to finishing last….all so predictable. I say it again…. Jonas, the bar is soooo low, you have to improve only slightly to be the best radio beat guy. Pull up your socks, become a little less one sided and you will be years above Berger.

More later from Berlin…

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Mike S
Mike S
March 10, 2009 11:03 pm

I heard this while driving home from the game……………I guess we can add Happy Howie to the list of people that Wilson has gone to war with (including Don Cherry, among many others)…………..when Wilson got hired I knew it was only a matter of time before the sparks started to fly

March 10, 2009 11:26 pm

I neglected to say…..Interesting to see how Wilson reacts when challenged in public considering comments he has made about his players in the media this season….Still enjoyed hearing Ron take a run at Howie.


March 11, 2009 12:44 am

Wilson chose a battle he knew he would win.He knew he could bully Howie.When Wilson had his back and forth with Cherry, he was jokingly dismissive and brushed it off.

March 11, 2009 9:34 am

According to Wilbur on with Oakley this morning, Howie was kindly asked by Maurice not to report on his firing last year until he was able to pick up his kids from school so they wouldn’t hear it from someone else….Howie ran the story regardless. We know who has the lack of integrity and class.

March 11, 2009 9:35 am

Wilson said explicitly that he made the call on Spezza’s stick because he thought his guys had played hard and they deserved the opportunity to win, is that not reason enough. That’s a damn fine coach in my opinion and I guarantee you the guys in the dressing room (the ones that matter, sorry Howie) respect Wilson because he was rewarding their effort. Man, Howie’s annoying, put him in the Garrioch pile and break out the hankies.

March 11, 2009 12:06 pm

Wilson is paid to win – end of discussion. For Berger to comment on that is crazy.

I really think Beger has worn out his welcome in Toronto,

Mike S
Mike S
March 11, 2009 1:27 pm

I have heard several people in the media (including Doug MacLean) who have said pretty much the same thing that Happy Howie said about the Wilson-Spezza illegal stick incident…………..if Howie gets trashed for it by Wilson (and others) then the rest of those media people should get trashed too.

March 11, 2009 1:36 pm

Howard Berger is by no means my favourite member of the of the Toronto sports media but I think Wilson’s criticism was bordering on some kind of obsessive disorder. Just because anyone at those press conferences asks a question about why anybody did anything does not automatically mean the questioner is disagreeing with the move. What Wilson did was out of the ordinary for him this season. Somebody had to ask why he did it. The fact that he goes off a night later and starts accusing Berger of questioning his integrity is a bit rich coming from a guy who has acted from Day 1 in Toronto as if anybody who’s paid to comment on the Leaf situation is trying to get him fired.

March 11, 2009 3:42 pm

To ask for a stick measure is always out of the ordinary
You might as well ask any coach why they didn’t do it on any number of prior situations.Wilson was perfectly justified to call out Berger regerding his inuendo.

Ryan Logan
Ryan Logan
March 11, 2009 8:49 pm

I feel that Wilson definitely picked his spot on when he wanted to attack Howie. Howie made a dumb comment and Wilson had to call him out on it.

Am I glad that he got called out? Absofuckinglutely.

I can’t stand Howard Berger and I am glad that Ron Wilson is in the same boat as 90% of the Leaf fans out there. Howard Berger is in definite need of a change of scenery as he has been all-too-negative for that last while, and it’s honestly driving me insane. Everything he sais is a shot at the fans and he just sits in this imaginary throne where he casts stones at all of us for actually cheering for our hockey team. The fact that he has lasted this long in such a Leaf-crazed market has amazed me and I hope that the FAN 590 realize this and can the guy. It has been way too long, and it’s time to move on for everyone involved. Looks like that firehowardberger.com site you guys have been promoting will be getting a few more signatures after last night.

March 12, 2009 7:51 pm

It is out of the ordinary and that’s why you ask about it. And it’s out of the ordinary because he’s never done before this season? Why not? Obvious question. Just because Wilson is touchy about EVERYTHING doesn’t make the question wrong or innuendo-laced. “Um, excuse me Mr. Wilson, sir, please explain to me your brilliance in asking for a stick measurement in this all-important game? Thank-you, Mr. Wilson, sir, for you all-enlightening answer.” That would be an awesome press conference. You guys would would be right up Wilson’s ally.


[…] equivalent of a Howard Berger blog post, squarely raising the issue of why it wasn’t released in November, when things matter.  Others have rightly pointed out the hackneyed resort to cheap tricks like the upside down Leaf […]

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