Ron Wilson clearly tweeted his desire to have his contract extended after Thursday's win over the Islanders. GM Brian Burke has indicated to the media his intention to resign Wilson when the time was right. I'm hoping the time is never right but somehow I don't think that will happen. I hope that at least Burke waits to see if the Leafs make the playoffs, something I feel is very much in doubt with Wilson in charge. Here are my reasons for not extending Wilson:
1. Leafs haven't won under Wilson
Sure he has been saddled with bad teams but I truly believe the team has continually underperformed with Wilson as coach. The team has played well for short spurts but overall hasn't scared anyone. There are bad teams that make it tough for opponents but that's not been the case with the Leafs.
2. Penalty killing
Seriously how can you not pin the worst penalty killing in the NHL on the coach? The Leafs have been at the bottom of the league while a man short for almost 4 years now. Funny that's how long Ron Wilson has been coaching here. Can that be a coincidence? Over that time span he has worked with dozens of players on killing penalties and nothing seems to help.
3. Bad defensive teams
This might be related to bad penalty killing but you can't help but notice how poorly the team plays in its own end. Even as the calibre of players improves, their defensive play continues to stink - giveaways, poor defensive zone coverage, mental errors, gambling with the puck - it's painful to watch. Over the summer, Burke replaced two of the assistant coaches but that hasn't helped either. Isn't it time to point the finger at the head coach?
4. Nazem Kadri
Back in San Jose Wilson made Patrick Marleau his whipping boy. Dumped all over the team captain who happened to also be their best player. Wilson seems to have replaced Marleau with Nazem Kadri. There is no reason why Kadri should have started the season in the minors after having a strong rookie season with the Marlies. Does anyone really believe Philippe Dupuis is a better hockey player? Then a long succession of players got called up before Kadri finally rejoins the Leafs and then goes about scoring two goals in his first two games. I'm betting that Kadri gets benched or sent down once he makes a couple of errors. The Leafs can't afford to ruin a high first round pick with a good scoring touch.
5. Wilson loves to throw his players under the bus
Wilson loves to dump on his players in front of the media. He hates talking to the media but when it comes to pinning a loss on someone he seems to find his voice. Earlier in his tenure it was someone brought in by Burke's predecessor, John Ferguson. However, the current roster is entirely built Burke. I worked for a boss who tried to throw everyone around him under the bus. It is a very demotivating experience. Aside from Islander goalie Evgeni Nabakov's recent comment to the media how he enjoyed playing for Wilson, can you recall another player making the same comment?
6. There are better coaches available
There is a huge selection of very good coaches available if Wilson were to be replaced. There is even a better one in the Leafs organization - Dallas Eakin.