Saturday, March 3, 2012

Mr. Coach

Hey! Haven't posted in a while and thought I'd take the time to post something new and refreshing for my 18 readers. It couldn't be better timing too as a whirlwind of events have avalanched regarding the Maple Leafs. Not counting today's win over Montreal, the leafs had a disastrous record in their last 10 games. Only 1 win in that span and it cost Ron Wilson his job. Any real hockey fan, not just a leafs fan would know that Ron Wilson was replaced with Randy Carlyle, a man much like Wilson who had a track record with Brian Burke, albeit a better one. And those are a few of the similarities between the two coaches. Lets Compare shall we?

Lets start with Ron Wilson. Anyone that knows me knows that I'm a stat shark. I love hockey statistics and I'm sure most hockey fans do. Ron Wilson Coaching Statistics*: GP 1401 W 648 L 561 T 101 OTL 91 Pts 1510** In 3 and a half seasons with the Leafs, Ron Wilson never finished higher than 4th in the Northeast division. Its not exactly a cakewalk division but at the same time it is far from the strongest division in the league. He missed the playoffs in all 3 seasons prior to this one and if he were to stay on as coach it's very likely (even today) that the leafs would miss the playoffs again. You can easily build a case for Ron. Oh he didn't have the proper players like he did in San Jose when he put up 108 points in a single season and won the presidents trophy as the leagues best team (statistically) numerous times. Excuses are excuses though. In all 3 and half years of Wilson's tenure as coach, the leafs had a terrible PK unit. PK is executed by by the players but the strategy is all planned out (or at least should be) by the coach. When it's not working its up to the coach to make the necessary changes to get the tires kicking again. Wilson failed to change on the PK and when he finally did at the beginning of January it a tale of too little too late. His experience in the league is unquestionable. How many people can say they have coached more than 1400 hundred games in the NHL? Not many, well i shouldn't say not many as you have Lindy Ruff, who has been coaching since... wait, what year did he start again? 1970?

Anyways in my words,"Wilson's experience was both an asset and a liability (i wrote an accounting exam today so you will have to forgive my accounting terminology). When you've been in the business as long as Ron has, you pick up a few tricks along the way but at the same time it can hurt you as you can fail to adapt to change. You can becoming egotistic, not listening to anyone else because they don't have the same level of experience as you do and your way is the only way and i think that's what happened to Ron Wilson. He got caught up in doing things his way and the players failed to response to him and stopped playing for him. When players stop playing for you, its a tell-tale sign that your are going to get the boot as a coach sooner or later. Ron was a good coach but he failed to meet expectations. Simple as that.

Randy Carlyle Coaching Statistics* GP 516 W 273 L 182 OTL 61 PTS 607 Randy Carlyle took over Ron Wilson's job as coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday March 2, 2012. The moment news of Wilson being fired and Carlyle being hired sent Twitter into ablaze. Leafs fans were tweeting about the coaching change left and right and i was afraid that twitter might of actually crash and it chaotic! But you can't blame the most loyalist fans in the league for letting out a sigh of relief, fans who have suffered too much for too long but still show up every other game. Lets look at Carlyle's track record with Anaheim, the only team he had ever coach up until Friday.

He's only coached about half the number of games that Wilson has coach but he has managed to do more in that time. He has been to the playoffs in all but 6 (excluding this year, 2011-12 as he was fired at the beginning of the season) of the seasons as coach of the Mighty Ducks and now just Ducks due to a lawsuit by Disney over the "Mighty Ducks" name. That says a lot about a coach. Yeah he had the Getzlaf's and the Ryan's and the Perry's but now he has the Kessel's, the Lupul's and the Grabovski's. Randy Carlyle also has a Stanley Cup ring, which Wilson does not own. The ring was scored in the 2006-07 season with Burke at the helm as GM. So the GM-Coach relationship in Toronto is alive and well and that is a great thing to have.

 A similarity between Carlyle and Wilson is that they are both "no-non-sense" coaches but here's the kicker, which by the way was evident before Carlyle even step foot behind the Leafs bench, and further cemented in his 3-1 victory over the hooser Habs and that is that HE ACTUALLY TALKS TO THE PLAYERS! He talked to them in the hotel room and during the time outs his hands rather than being crossed were on the drawing board talking to the players. That makes a huge difference to the player because i don't care who you are, you need a coach to guide you, show you the way, and the execution is up to you. Carlyle  is a great coach with a great track record.

He has ring and know what it takes to win. It my opinion the leafs are not going to the make the playoffs, the hole they dug for themselves with their atrocious run of late has cost them a playoff spot. Smart move by Burke to bring in Carlyle now instead of at the beginning of the season. This way he can implement his system and get the Leafs into the playoffs next year. Here's hoping it works out with him and the Leafs but... Only time will tell.

** The numbers for Ron Wilson's total career points as a coach is correct on Wikipedia and not on How do i know? I calculated it my self (and people say Wikipedia is not reliable, pshh!)


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Just a guy trying to make a living on the internet. Have had no luck with other jobs.