Thursday, January 13, 2011

Congratulations to Ron Wilson for win #600

Weeks after fans at the Air Canada Center chanted “Fire Wilson” the Maple Leafs Head Coach won his 600th game against the same San Jose Sharks that fired him 2 years ago. He is only the 7th Coach in NHL History to do so, now in the company of Scotty Bowman, Al Arbour, Dick Irvin, Pat Quinn, Mike Keenan and Bryan Murray.

Things in Leaf Nation have, naturally, settled down.

Of course, Leaf Nation will pounce on Wilson the minute he or the Leafs falter because…well, that is how it is here in Toronto.

And the Leafs will falter. They will likely go on multiple losing streaks before the season is over. Each time Wilson will be the one crucified by Leaf fans.

Wilson, however, does not deserve all the blame.

Phil Kessel has started showing up again. He has 8 goals in the last 8 games and is once again playing like a dynamic winger.

The line of Kulemin, Grabovski and MacArthur is on fire and has stolen the spotlight away from Kessel in match-up scenarios as opponents line up their top defensive pairings against them. In fact, Kessel's return to the scoreshheet may be due to the attention the line has taken away from him.

The Leafs defense core, led by Luke Schenn, has been far more responsible defensively. In fact, Francois Beauchemin, who has been criticized many times this season for his play in his own zone, may have saved the game against the Los Angeles Kings on Monday. He is Plus 4 in January with 4 points in 6 games compared to being Minus 7 in December with only 1 point in 13 games.

It is highly unlike for the Leafs to make the Playoffs but at least they came make the games fun to watch.

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