TSN.ca is reporting that Cliff Fletcher has made an offer to a new coach, but would not name him. The site also says that former Sharks coach Ron Wilson is getting on a plane to Toronto, but wouldn't comment on whether he's the new coach.
I'm not a huge fan of Wilson, and I think it's completely moronic that the Leafs would hire a coach before a general manager.
That said, I can see where Cliff may be going with this one. Wilson has a reputation around the league as an awful coach to play for. To put it nicely, he's a jerk. This is the guy who likes to walk into the dressing room during intermission, write a player's name on the chalkboard and declare "this guy is the reason we're losing" and then storm out. Players hate him.
And after two years of the Paul Maurice Country Club, where every veteran was coddled and every loss came with an excuse, that sounds like a just what this team needs.
I sincerely hope Wilson comes in and makes these guys miserable. This pack of long-time losers could use a good kick in the balls, and Wilson sounds like just the guy to do it. What do you think about waiving that no-trade clause now, Bryan? Still want to be a Leaf for life, Darcy?
Of course, that may apply to Mats Sundin as well, but I have my doubts. It's interesting that Sundin talks publicly about the club's "direction", then meets with Fletcher just a few days before this news breaks. Could Mats be as tired of the excuses as we are, and have actually asked Cliff for a coach who'll hold people accountable?
Either way, the next few years is about cleaning house, so why not bring in a miserable jerk like Wilson to help sweep out the cockroaches? Then, when its time to take a shot at winning again, you can flush him out too and find a real coach.
I think I could talk myself into this.
Update: Check out this great five-month-old quote from Wilson, courtesy Howard Berger:
"I've talked to a few of our players -- names I won't mention -- and have said, 'Hey, if you want attention, it would be something to play in Toronto,' " said Wilson, who broke into the NHL as a defenceman with the Leafs in 1978. "They tell me, 'No chance -- there's no way I'll ever go up there and be put through that.' Unless you knew you could absolutely win the whole thing, it's awful tough to survive in that atmosphere..."Um, Ron? May want to stay away from this guy's column tomorrow.
"My P.R. people show me everything and highlight it if [a newspaper] says I'm getting fired," Wilson said. "But, guys like Paul Maurice and Mike Babcock -- in bigger markets -- need things sanitized so they never have to read they're an idiot. It's hard to see that stuff about yourself."