"We have a verbal agreement but nothing's on paper yet, "It isn't a contract until it's signed by the parties. And that won't happen for a couple of days." -- Leafs caretaker and maintenance man Cliff Fletcher announcing that the Leafs may at least have a coach in place in time for training camp.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are reported to have come to a verbal agreement with Ron Wilson, with an announcement expected any day now to firm up his terms and provide some sign of progress for frustrated Maple Leaf fans.
Wilson who most recently was the reigning hockey guru of Northern California, will be given a huge challenge should he sign on that dotted line. The Leafs have been perennial bottom feeders for far too long and will certainly provide a test of Wilson's patience, should their under performing ways continue into the new season.
Considered a hard taskmaster from his past affiliations, it will be an interesting change of atmosphere around the Air Canada Centre with Wilson in charge. Though one wonders exactly how the team building process will move along without a General Manager or President in the interim.
The Leafs have seemed to approach the idea of staffing the management levels in an unusual pattern, leaving the coveted top positions vacant until just the right person comes along, while filling in the actual day to day stewardship position first.
This of course has spurred an amazing volume of rumours that it's now a fait accompli that Brian Burke will be joining the Leafs, maybe this summer, incredibly maybe next year. Regardless of the timing, his long time association with Wilson seems to be the talisman that Leaf fans have been looking for that Burke is on the way.
That's to be determined, but it certainly makes more sense than having Wilson signed to a long term deal, only to have a new GM and President show up seeking out his own team to handle the on ice requirements.
Then again, it is the Maple Leafs who if nothing else are best known for their unorthodox ways of running professional hockey in the leagues most valuable market.
For Wilson training camp will provide him his first look at the collection of would be Dennis the Menace's that the Leafs have stored over the last few years, a precocious lot who tempt you with potential and then leave you wondering what's going to happen next. By Christmas, we would think he'll have a pretty good idea as to what he's up against (or gotten himself into).
We wish Mr. Wilson well, should be carve his name onto a contract and hope he's seen the movie and is prepared for all that is to come!