With his team currently sitting in 28th place it’s no surprise that Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Ron Wilson is receiving plenty of criticism. Off-season additions Kris Versteeg (who can’t seem to score) and Colby Armstrong (currently injured) have been bitter disappointments to management and the Leafs Nation alike, while big money players such as Dion Phaneuf (also currently injured), Tyler Bozak (who carries a $3.75 million cap hit), Mike Komisarek and Francois Beauchemin have also garnered their fair share of scrutiny for their paltry play. Through it all Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke has stood behind his head coach, suggesting that it is the players who deserve the criticism, not Ron Wilson. With the players struggling to find their way and the team plunging deeper into the abyss of the NHL standings the question remains, can Ron Wilson
OK, it’s been awhile since Brian Burke was the GM for the Vancouver Canucks, 2004 in fact. But having watched him work as a GM, his tendencies for a quick win solution have never left him where ever he has gone. Before I relate what this has to with the Phil Kessel trade, let’s look back at his time in Vancouver. In June of 1998 Burke was hired by the Canucks as the GM, and operated as such until 2004 when his contract was not renewed. Upon his arrival he already had the likes of Markus Naslund, Mattias Ohlund, Todd Bertuzzi, Brian McCabe, Pavel Bure, Mark Messier, Alex Mogilny and Adrian Aucoin.
With all the attention the news of the Toronto Maple Leafs calling up Nazem Kadri got everyone could understand if he played poorly last night. Instead, Kadri responded with a spirited game that saw him create a number of scoring chances, make a few nifty plays and register a shot on goal. Now, let’s not get carried away here, Kadri was not spectacular and, given the fact he didn’t score (which is why he is here) you could easily call his first regular season game of the 2010-11 campaign a failure, but head coach Ron Wilson and general manager Brian Burke had to be encouraged by what they saw of Kadri, which is to say, it’s a start. Playing on a line with Tyler Bozak and Nikolai Kulemin, Kadri looked at ease on the left wing, often making the right
With the Toronto Maple Leafs number one prospect Nazem Kadri expected to play tonight against the Vancouver Canucks many Maple Leaf fans are looking at tonight’s game as a new beginning. Not only will head coach Ron Wilson be adding another offensive threat to his lineup, he will also have the opportunity to blow up the current lines in favor of four units that actually work. As good as Tyler Bozak has been in the faceoff circle (59.8%, ranked sixth overall) his lack of scoring (two goals and five points in 15 games) is concerning. Thus far, Bozak has been appointed the Maple Leafs number one centre. With little to no competition for said position Bozak has been able to avoid a lot of scrutiny from Leafs Nation. Recently one of my faithful readers suggested putting Mikhail Grabovski on the
With the news hitting the airwaves today that Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke has called up top prospect Nazem Kadri there are a lot of differing opinions as to what to expect from the former seventh overall selection. After what many called a disappointing rookie tournament and pre-season, Kadri was sent down to the Maple Leafs AHL affiliate Toronto Marlies in hopes that he would rediscover his confidence and learn a little defense along the way. After a slow start Kadri has rebounded to register five goals and nine assists through 14 games and seems to have found some defensive responsibility along the way. Many Leaf fans have commented that calling up Kadri screams of desperation, but the team struggling to score goals and with Tyler Bozak looking lost on more nights than not Burke had to do
With the Toronto Maple Leafs starting to plunge further and further down the NHL standings there has been a lot of discussion about firing head coach Ron Wilson. On the surface it appears as if Wilson may not be getting through to his troops, a hunch backed up by the teams seven game losing streak, poor power play and equally poor penalty kill. As it stands right now, the Leafs are ranked 29th in scoring (2.13), 13th in goals against (2.67), 27th on the power play (11.1 percent) and 26th on the penalty kill (76.5 percent). Oh yeah, and did I mention they are currently sitting in 25th place? Clearly, something has to give. Perhaps general manager Brian Burke needs to make another trade? Maybe Burke needs to call up Nazem Kadri? Maybe Burke and Wilson need to look at