Saturday, March 03, 2012

The Wilson Watch comes to an end

The long twisting in the wind of Ron Wilson came to an end on Friday night, with Brian Burke playing the role of the Governor apparently not providing the last minute reprieve, leaving Wilson to the fate that the growing noise of the rabble of Maple Leaf had been demanding.

No word on whether he was provided with a blindfold and a cigarette, nor what he had for his last meal.

The news which overshadowed TSN's Friday night doubleheader of hockey upon its delivery in the Senators / Hawks game quickly resonated around the hockey world, the Leafs in the midst of a free fall of epic proportions chose as always the case in these things to fire the coach, rather than the roster of non performing players.

Brian Burke compared the free fall to akin to an eighteen wheeler going off the cliff, and as Damien Cox pointed out in his Toronto Star column, Burke admits that the players had tuned out their head coach.

And with that (and a recently signed Christmas present contract extension) the Ron Wilson era at MLSE has now come to an end, replaced by another old acquaintance of Brian Burke's, Randy Carlyle the coach who Burke won a Stanley Cup with while in Anaheim.

Carlyle was identified as the new head coach shortly after the story began to snowball across the hockey telegraph wire, or to be more precise once the twitter feeds started to chirp in a noisy cacophony.

An actual introduction to the new Leaf's coach took place earlier today as Burke relived the last few torturous weeks of Maple Leaf hockey and hoped for better days (or at least a playoff spot we guess) to come over the course of the remaining games of the season.

In the end, Wilson's final days became the thing of a Maple Leaf soap opera, something not unfamiliar to Toronto fans.  From the crowd chanting for Burke to fire the coach earlier this week to the renewed calls of the media (a collective that never seemed to have a good relationship with the coach) that Wilson be removed, it was not an unexpected result, though the timing is perhaps a case of coming just a little bit too late.

Basically Wilson had lost his room, had lost the media (not that he ever had them, nor that it should matter) had lost the faith of the fans (see above), but most importantly he had lost the faith of his boss, which in the end is the only thing he couldn't solve.

Lest he think that he may have a bit of slack to play with in Toronto, Carlyle should probably be aware that coaching in the Big Smoke seemingly has no such honeymoon period ,  only it seems pre authorized payments to a divorce attorney for the eventual split.

Carlyle was offered a three year contract, which considering how things go in Toronto is probably more of a pre-nup arrangement than a contract, his arrival however has many Leafs observers suggesting that Marlies coach Dallas Eakins a rising star in the AHL ranks is most likely going to be exploring other coaching options now, not likely to want to wait to see how things develop with the big club over three years.

The Cox article outlined the success of Randy Carlyle as an NHL and AHL coach, a record that features never having a losing season,  if ever he was going to put that accomplishment to the test, you have the feeling he's going to tempt the fates and put that record at peril with his arrival behind the Leafs bench tonight.

Needless to say the developments in Leafland are but the main talking point of the day, some results of which can be found below.

Toronto Star-- Ron Wilson fired: Leafs turn to Randy Carlyle
Toronto Star-- Maple Leafs chat with Dave Feschuk
Toronto Star-- Maple Leafs GM: It was like an 18 wheeler going right off a cliff
Toronto Star-- Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle, winger Joffrey Lupul set aside differences
Toronto Star-- Fans react to Wilson firing, Carlyle hiring
Toronto Star-- Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson fired...
Toronto Star-- Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson fired: Leafs GM Brian Burke lowers boom
Toronto Star-- Ron Wilson fired: Fan chants cap tumultuous era
Toronto Sun-- Burke: Team fell 'right off a cliff'
Toronto Sun-- Leafs Locker: Burke calls Eakins
Toronto Sun-- Wilson's fate was sealed
Toronto Sun-- 'Fire Wilson' chant was last straw
Toronto Sun-- Carlyle, Lupul mend fences
Toronto Sun-- Ron Wilson fired as Leafs coach
Toronto Sun-- GM took easy way out
Toronto Sun-- He simply failed to win
Toronto Sun-- Carlyle isn't Mr. Congeniality
Toronto Sun-- Burke throws Wilson under the bus
Globe and Mail-- The inside story behind Burke's decision to can Wilson, court Carlyle
Globe and Mail-- Carlyle brings gruelling practices, gruff style, savvy for reading team
Globe and Mail-- Carlyle runs first practice, clears the air with Lupul
Globe and Mail-- Burke says decision to axe Wilson came after chants at last home game
Globe and Mail-- Leafs fire head coach Ron Wilson, replace him with Randy Carlyle
Globe and Mail-- Push finally comes to shove for Wilson
Globe and Mail-- Meet new Leafs' coach Randy Carlyle
National Post-- Was Leafs' firing of Ron Wilson the right call?
National Post-- Inevitability catches up to Leafs GM Brian Burke
National Post-- Ron Wilson's shelf life runs out with Maple Leafs
National Post-- Ron Wilson fired: Leafs name Randy Carlyle new coach
National Post-- Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke stands tall in face of defeat
National Post-- Ron Wilson fired to save him from more 'cruel punishment' from Leafs' fans: ...
National Post-- Brian Burke on the end of Ron Wilson and the Leafs' future
CBC-- Wilson out, Carlyle in as Maple Leafs coach
CBC-- Leafs GM Brian Burke: Season can be salvaged
CBC-- Dallas Eakin's NHL coaching days will come: Burke
CBC-- Wilson's tenure another miserable Leafs chapter
Sportsnet-- A crack in Burke's image
Sportsnet-- Leafs Fire Wilson, Hire Carlyle
Sportsnet-- Eakin's accepting of Leafs' decision
Sportsnet-- Dawn of a new age
Sportsnet-- The Spotlight's on Burke
Sportsnet-- Unmet expectations
TSN-- Carlyle introduced as new head coach of Maple Leafs
TSN-- Carlyle looks to 're-energize' slumping Leafs

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