Is Brian Burke To Soft On Toronto Maple Leafs Coach?


Quick hit before the big game.

Anyone else catch this quote from Damien Cox in his blog post today?:

“The dismissal of Martin, meanwhile, demonstrates the different standards of Montreal compared to Toronto, a team that has missed the playoffs for three straight seasons under Fibbin’ Ron Wilson and is going to be in a dogfight to make it this year, yet GM Brian Burke pronounced Wilson his team’s No. 1 star this week.”

So, spare us the usual oh it’s only Damien, or I hate Damien, comments and let’s talk about the issue he presents. Are the Maple Leafs as an organization to complacent? I mean that’s the inference right? The Habs fired Jacques because they are unwilling to accept poor performance and the Leafs who have missed the playoffs for all three years of his tenure are “content”.



About the Author
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
December 17, 2011 8:38 pm

No, Burke is letting Wilson’s contract play out this season. My bet is that the day (if) the Leafs make the playoffs, Wilson will get a two or three year extension. If the Leafs miss the playoffs, Wilson will not get renewed. Burke’s stated intention to be a good employer (i.e. the extended pre-Xmas trade freeze for players) is being extended to Wilson, in allowing Wilson to fulfill his contract, and deciding what to do after that.

December 17, 2011 9:43 pm

Burke is backing his man. He is a good boss. (Damien does not get that).. If the Leafs miss again, Wilson goes, if they make it, he gets extended. Leafs haven’t sucked like the Habs this year. How did Martin ever get another job?? That was the real surprise…They can’t fire Wilson right now.

Habs suck so far, sorry but its true – Leafs have not sucked – they have had bad nights (apples and oranges)…and I hate Damien

December 17, 2011 9:50 pm

@ RobinAurora, the Leafs are only 2 points ahead of Montreal, how is it that they are doing that much better than them?

December 17, 2011 9:57 pm

As much as I want the Leafs to make the playoffs I know that will result in Ron Wilson getting a contract extension. If Ron Wilson gets this team to the usual spot which is golfing by April then you can bet he will be terminated and working at TSN or Sportsnet sharing his “insight” for the post season. Just a prediction. Question is if Ron Wilson did get fired who would Brian Burke hire to replace him? Randy Carlyle? Mike Keenan? Dallas Eakins?

December 17, 2011 10:16 pm

Wilson should be toast… need to look no further than there PK over the past few years… unless they turn it around and make the playoffs..

December 17, 2011 11:34 pm

I won’t even go there about the Leafs PK but we all know it lacks severely.

Ron Wilson should be toast; but I think Brian Burke is more the guy who should take the heat. Burke’s letting his friendship with Wilson affect how he is running his hockey club.

I don’t agree with Burke’s stances on a “non-trade freeze” prior to Christmas and he needs to feel the heat. These players are trained professionals and being traded close to Christmas is a part of the job. But to impose a deadline quicker than the NHL does – is nuts! This team has not won a cup in 45 years and hasn’t even made the finals in 45 years. Why do we cater to these players that have come through this organization for the 45 years? I just don’t know who is out there that the Leafs could go and replace Wilson with.

@RobininAurora – Toronto is in free fall mode and Toronto has one of the worst PK’s not only this season but for the past few seasons. Clearly it is Ron Wilson’s doing – even after axing a few assistant coaches and blaming them for the deficiencies. I am the furthest from a Montreal supporter – but the one thing I applaud Canadien fans for is that they don’t stand for patch up work.

December 18, 2011 12:27 am

How has Wilson kept his job? He has no business still being the coach. If he hasn’t hit his best before date, he’s damn close. This team has a chance to make the playoffs, but I don’t see it happening if Wilson stays as coach. So, we’ll go through another year without playoff hockey. Or, we can tie the can to Wilson now, hire a former Stanley Cup winning coach (hired by Burke in Anaheim) in Carlyle, and continue the process of turning this team into a Stanley Cup contender. That would start with making the playoffs this year. The playoffs, let alone a Stanley Cup, won’t happen under Wilson’s watch.

December 18, 2011 1:26 am

I’ll admit to being a Wilson booster. But I may have changed my mind tonight. Watching this team in their own zone can be nothing short of infuriating. I’d say this season his performance is a wash. All the accomplishment offensively and on the PP is negated by the PK and their work in their own zone.

Burke won’t hesitate to prop his coach up in the media one day and fire him the next. He’s just working the media like he always does. Doing whatever he can to stop questions before they’re asked. He’s more than aware that there are elements of the media who are just waiting to step on Wilson’s back when he gets shown the door.

I like Wilson, but I get the feeling that if this team isn’t stabilized soon Burke will pull the trigger.

December 18, 2011 7:26 am

Agree with no point in firing Wilson till there’s someone to replace him with. Leafs are 9-11-2 since their 7-2-1 start (total 16-13-3).

Sam in Oshawa
December 18, 2011 8:33 am

Can a coach coach hockey sense,i dont know but a team that plays out of position as much as this team does speaks to both the players lack of skill and hockey sense and the coaches lack of keeping this team focussed on a system that matches the skill level.Burke will not be swayed by outside opinion,leaf nation is in for the long -haul.Cox’s thought is right on the money but do not hold your breathe when it comes to change.Why not some drastic change for the long suffering leaf fan? I guess forty odd years is not quite long enough.For all his verbosity Grapes does have valid points when it comes to the leafs play,players and coaching.The media has been soft on this leaf crew,get some stones and do your job,for the sake of the leaf fans…

December 18, 2011 8:54 am

Leaf fans are indeed happy with complacency.
In a very difficult NHL, you are only as good as your last playoff performance.
Take the Habs, who were bounced in the first round last year by the eventual Cup winners.
The year before, they shocked both Washington and Pittsburgh before losing to the Flyers.
These are smaller victories that at least provide entertainment and a measure of hope – something Leaf fans haven’t enjoyed in – how many years now?

December 18, 2011 9:04 am

Wilson’s defensive system in their own zone sucks. The strategy of getting into the shooting lanes and blocking shots just means you have 5 guys ignoring the 4 players on the other team that don’t have the puck, and essentially screening your own goalie.

This team is a completely different team from 3 years ago yet they have the same problems. It has to fall back onto the coach.

If you want to blame the players fine, but if they aren’t listening to the coach it still amounts to the same thing. The coach has to go.

Steve in Waterloo
Steve in Waterloo
December 18, 2011 10:21 am

What I don’t get is Burke naming Wilson as his #1 star for the season thus far.

Kessel’s leading the league in scoring – Wilson is the #1 star?
The team is middling and terrible defensively – Wilson is the #1 star?

By naming Wilson #1 star, does that mean he has done a terrible job recruiting and that without Wilson, they would be out of the play offs?

I just don’t get that…

December 18, 2011 1:59 pm

Im 41 years old..I can remember starting to watch the Leafs when I was 5. That’s 36 years of NOTHING!
Is Brian Burke too soft?
Is the Pope catholic?
Does a bear crap in the woods?
I’m sick to death of the wait and see approach, because in all honesty, that has gotten the Leafs absolutely NO WHERE!!
I’m sorry, but Brian Burke is the one who needs to go. It’s HIS team. Not Wilson’s. Wilson just coaches. Burke is the one who put the team together.
And let’s get the brass tax out too.
James Reimer is not that good of a goalie.
The Monster is even worse.
The Leafs need a goalie with a PROVEN track record!
The Leafs had an amazing start. But, the Leafs of old have shown up again in the last month.
Before this gets out of hand, BIG TIME changes need to be made. Sooner, NOT LATER!
Unfortunately, Brian Burke is the first who needs to go! But I’m dreaming, that will never happen with the higher ups who run MLSE. They are even softer than Burke!:(

December 18, 2011 2:05 pm

One more thing on my rant:
If Wilson is Burke’s number one star, WHERE IN THE HELL is the new contract extension????

Something stinks like putrid garbage in Leafland!

December 18, 2011 2:10 pm

I agree with Steve on Burke saying that Wilson was his first star, I would almost consider it an insult. There’s a lot of players who are playing over their heads for the benefit of the team yet Burke putting the praise on a guy with a suit, and not the guys out there game after game on the ice.

Paul in Hespeler
Paul in Hespeler
December 18, 2011 3:45 pm

If the new Rogers/Bell ownership is serious about winning, not just the continuation of raping their very loyal fans wallets, I believe they must clean management house.

Brian Burke who has proven not be the almighty saviour as advertised as the team has not improved in the standings or in relation to others who were behind them 4 years ago.

From my vantage point, it seems lll Burke has been consistent at is over his tenure is poor talent evaluation, and subsequently over paying, talent, making up excuses for poor play and picking fights with the media and fans alike. If Burke was President of either Rogers or Bell, his arse would have been long out the door by now.

Aye Eye
Aye Eye
December 18, 2011 7:29 pm

I’ve heard people say Leaf fans are the most knowledgeable hockey fans anywhere. I’ve never believed it. After reading what’s on your idiot minds, I feel I’ve been right all along. You are a part of the problem, not the solution. Do you clowns actually think Burke, or anybody else, could turn this mess around this quickly? Give your heads a shake… no don’t do that, the sound of empty might scare you. Burke has done a good job so far, have some patience. And Brad, why didn’t you wear a helmet?


[…] than there PK over the past few years… unless they turn it around and make … Read more on Toronto Sports Media (function() {var s = document.createElement('SCRIPT'), s1 = […]

Sam in Oshawa
December 18, 2011 8:16 pm

I’m 52 yrs old,and ditto what Brad posted well done.The discontent is starting to build!!!

December 18, 2011 8:27 pm

Leafs have not made the playoffs since the lock out – When Quinn missed the playoffs for the first time as coach he was let go. Maurice missed the playoffs twice he was let go yet Wilson has missed three times and working on a 4th time & still is coach. Martin in his two seasons went to the final 4 & the other time went to a 7th game and lost in OT to the eventual Stanley Cup winner. When Martin was fired he was two points out of a playoff spot. Different standards for different franchises….

Another Steve
Another Steve
December 18, 2011 8:42 pm

Is this a media blog or a fan-blog about the Leafs?

December 19, 2011 12:58 am

TSM can always count on a great deal of reply’s when the subject is about the Leafs.

Anyway, since this is a media blog, and today’s topic is the Leafs, maybe I can marry the two here a bit.

Is Burke soft on them? Yes, I believe he is. The bigger question, to me, is: Is the media too soft on them? Yes, they sure are!

Always have been. I think that as much as anyone connected with the team, or MLSE, over rate their talent, the Toronto media does it like it’s going out of style. If memory serves me correctly, this has been going on since Brit Selby won Rookie of the Year.

Or was it Jim McKenny being compared to Bobby Orr? Or was it Jack Valiquette being the next big thing? Jim Benning? Gary Leeman? Matt (or “Mattie”, as Bowen called him) Stajan?????

Anyway, you get my drift. Toronto is the easiest big market to play in because the media and the fans are so used to mediocrity, that they are never going to be tough on players.

You want tough? Try playing for the Yankees.

wally world
January 22, 2012 7:53 pm

Goodbye Ronny see you next to Kippie at noon with Maclean as well. You will blow that as well cause Burkie aint the program manager.

February 23, 2012 11:11 pm

No, the Toronto media is too soft on BURKE. Burke knows that if he were to fire Wilson, his replacement would do just as bad if not worse. This team isn’t nearly talented enough to consistently win games in the NHL. Burke needs to stop turning the Leafs into team USA and go get some big, strong, skilled, hard-hitting Canadians who play with heart. Over the past several years we could’ve had legitimate star players like Kovalchuk and Richards.. instead Burke went with a bunch of soft over-rated players like Kessel, Komisarek, Connolly. How is that working out for him? Burke has been an EPIC FAILURE!

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x