Blog Entry

Randy Carlyle replaces Ron Wilson in Toronto

Posted on: March 2, 2012 8:40 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2012 10:31 pm

By: Adam Gretz

Toronto fans spent the better part of February demanding it, and on Friday evening the Maple Leafs front office made it happen.

The team announced that head coach Ron Wilson has been fired and will be replaced by former Anaheim Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle. The move comes less than three months after Wilson received a contract extension from the team, and after a stretch of games that has seen the Maple Leafs lose 10 of their past 11, including six in a row, to fall outside of the top-eight in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

“This was not an easy decision for me to make,” said General Manager Brian Burke in a statement released by the team. “I want to thank Ron for all of his hard work and dedication to our organization over the past four seasons.”

During Wilson's four seasons in Toronto the team compiled a record of 130-135-45 and never qualified for the postseason, as the Leafs and their fans continue to ride out what is one of the longest active playoff droughts in the NHL.
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Wilson had been facing mounting criticism in recent weeks for the teams collapse after such a fast start, and "Fire Wilson" chants could be heard throughout the Air Canada Centre during a recent loss to the Florida Panthers. The Maple Leafs visit the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night.

His firing will be the eighth coaching change in the NHL this season (including Carlyle's dismisal from Anaheim), and of the seven previous changes only one of those teams (the St. Louis Blues) is in what would be a playoff posiiton in the standings as of Friday night.

If nothing else the hiring of Carlyle adds a potential storyline -- and perhaps some awkwardness -- early on due to his history with current Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul.

Anaheim traded Lupul to Toronto last season, when Carlyle was still the coach, and they didn't exactly have the best breakup, dealing him shortly after he returned to the lineup after a serious back injury. Earlier this season, before a meeting between the Leafs and Ducks, Lupul talked about his bitterness toward Anaheim and Carlyle saying, via the Toronto Sun, “I know the opportunity I’m getting in Toronto, I never would have had in Anaheim. Randy Carlyle just did not see me as that type of player.”

Carlyle was the head coach of the 2006-07 Anaheim team that won the Stanley Cup. Burke was also the general manager of that team.

Photo: Getty Images

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Since: May 28, 2007
Posted on: March 3, 2012 9:34 pm

Randy Carlyle replaces Ron Wilson in Toronto

ger63,it's a sports board,not english class,your pointing out his grammar @spelling mistakes are dumber than his comment.quit being that guy please.thank you.

Since: Mar 3, 2012
Posted on: March 3, 2012 8:05 pm

Randy Carlyle replaces Ron Wilson in Toronto

I hope you're right... Been a while since we've had contending team, the kind that teams fear playing against.

Since: Mar 3, 2012
Posted on: March 3, 2012 7:26 pm

Randy Carlyle replaces Ron Wilson in Toronto

Really?  The context in which you use the word "exponentially" indicates you have no idea of the definition of the word. "Arguements"?  I think you mean "Arguments".  Heresay?  The word is Hearsay, again, the context in which you apply the word makes no sense.  Nonesence?  The word is "nonsense".  Desparate?  I think you mean "Desperate". At least you were able to spell "berate" correctly.

If you're going criticize people the least you can do is meet your own standards.  

Since: Jan 25, 2012
Posted on: March 3, 2012 7:18 pm

Randy Carlyle replaces Ron Wilson in Toronto

No, I don't think they have that guy yet.  But really this rebuild has been about assembling young talent.  I think that this offseason Burke will move the plan to another level to go get the first-line centre and one or two seasoned vets.  I really like the stockpile of youth they have now, and finally has some assets to dangle in trade discussions, and have some optimism to try to lure some free agents.  Could be the first time since the Cliff Fletcher days since they could really attract potential top free agents.

Since: Mar 3, 2012
Posted on: March 3, 2012 6:12 pm

Randy Carlyle replaces Ron Wilson in Toronto

As the roster stands now, do you believe there's anybody on it that can lead this team? Like I said before, there will never be anybody that will replace Sundin, but with that aside, who on this roster can possibly lead this team? Their captain is a dud, and far from being leadership material.

Since: Jan 25, 2012
Posted on: March 3, 2012 5:51 pm

Randy Carlyle replaces Ron Wilson in Toronto

Oh ya, and you are absolutely 100% correct in saying that they need some leadership.  All part of the confidence-building process.

Since: Jan 25, 2012
Posted on: March 3, 2012 5:48 pm

Randy Carlyle replaces Ron Wilson in Toronto

You're correct, they are not kindergarden children, but they are human and nobody can change that.

Here's what Randy Carlyle said today in case you missed it...

"The confidence level is at a low. My responsibility as head coach is to pick these guys up. To get them feeling better about themselves."

Oh, sounds like he agrees with me. 

Since: Mar 3, 2012
Posted on: March 3, 2012 5:41 pm

Randy Carlyle replaces Ron Wilson in Toronto

You speak of these players as if they were kidergarten students.... They need praise andsuch? These are men with NHL contracts and need to step up their game regardless of the ridicoul any coach will give them, whether or not it's Wilson or not, they needed to hear how lousy they were playing, coach making it public should have been a kick in the ass! Burke needs to get himself a leader on the ice to get this young talent motivated, as it stands now, there is no chemistry or leadership... On or off the ice..

Since: Mar 3, 2012
Posted on: March 3, 2012 5:30 pm

Randy Carlyle replaces Ron Wilson in Toronto

What the Leafs really need is a miracle at this point! They haven't had a decent team in a very long time, and it's not going to happen anytome soon either! The coach can only be blamed to a certain point, the players on the other hand are the back bone, and should be held individually responsible for their individual play. There's no inspiration on this team, they have no motivation, confidence and most of all... THEY HAVE NO GOD DAMN LEADER ON THE TEAM!! They need to make some big moves in order to turn this team around, I think Kaberle misses the Leafs just as much as they miss him too, key on the blue line, they've replaced him with bums instead. Truth be said though, I truly believe the the front office needs to be re arranged more than anything! They've done nothing but put a sad sack team on the ice for the longest time ever now, since the the Gilmour era.. They surrounded the best captain and leader any franchise could ever ask for in Matts Sundin, with a bunch of under achievers! Trading Matts Sundin was the biggest mistake this team could have ever made... Same goes with the Gilmour abd Wendel Clark trade, all these trades were made for an apparent re building process, which would give more space for youthful talent, I'm still waiting for this young talent! What are the god damn scouts for this team been doing for the last 10 yrs!!!??? NOTHING! FIRE THEM TOO! THEY'RE JUST AS USELESS AS THE REST OF THE FRONT OFFICE!

Long gone are the days the Leafs use to make us jump out of our seats, Leafs nation needs to get used to losing, it isn't changeing anytime soon, it's a shame is what it is, a mochary of what used to be a proud team. It's just not the Toronto Maple Leafs anymore, it's a god damn disgrace.....

Since: Jan 25, 2012
Posted on: March 3, 2012 5:20 pm

Randy Carlyle replaces Ron Wilson in Toronto

I'm kind of tired of hearing everyone saying that Burke should lose his job.  He's only been here for 3 years, and inherited a huge pile of crap with no prospects even in the system.  He traded away some of the worst contracts hockey has ever seen and has improved the talent level exponentially (that's big for all you Leaf-hater, fan-bashers who can't seem to construct a proper sentence).

The farm system has improved so much that the Toronto Marlies currently occupy first place in their Division, a clear 9 points ahead of the second place Rochester Americans.  That to me says that what Burke is doing is absolutely working, even just 3 years into his rebuild.  Pretty amazing results actually.

The Leaf team that he inherited had Vesa Toskola in net and Jason Blake with a ridiculous contract.  Burke was able to trade away both these duds in the same deal.  The big stars that they had were Antropov, Kaberle, Ponikarovski, Stajan, Wellwood...absolutely horrible at the NHL level, and an even worse farm system.  And you know what else?  He also inherited a egotistical grouch as the head coach in Ron Wilson.

If you don't believe that Ron Wilson was a big part of the problem in Toronto then you just haven't been paying attention, or didn't care enough to take notice.  After every game Wilson called out players publically, win or lose, on their poor performances.  I know that these guys must be accountable, but putting it to the Toronto media is totally thowing them under the bus.  He has destroyed Nazim Kadri's confidence, and Luke Schenn doesn't know if the next shift will be his last one for a month.  Schenn has a bad shift and Wilson would sit him and beat on him, instead of taking his young blue-chipper and instilling confidence in him.  Burke tried to give Schenn confidence with a decent contract, only to have Wilson attempt to ruin the guy's career.

Prior to his concussion, James Reimer was the second coming of Georges Veznia himself.  You guys are ripping the GM for not getting another goalie, but give this kid some confidence and he'll play very well again.  Wilson wouldn't let that happen as he continually criticized and put blame on the young goalie game after game.

This is a young, fast and exciting NHL hockey team that Brian Burke has miraculously assembled in the very short period of time that he's been here.  He's somehow turned a cast of peanuts and sardines into cashews and caviar, and they're ready to take the next step. They deserve to have a coach that won't berate (go-on, look that word up too) them, but will instead encourage and develop them.

All that said, Brian Burke is an arrogant ass and pisses fans off because he doesn't always do the popular thing.  But if you look at his accomplishments over his short stint with the Leafs there really is no arguement that he hasn't done one hell of a job.  And don't give me the "he shoulda got a goalie" arguement.  He has a goalie, in fact he has 3 or 4 who are all desparate for encouragement, praise, and confidence.  Like the Leafs or don't like the Leafs, I couldn't care less, but if you're going to post criticisms please do it with educated, researched arguements, not nonesence and heresay.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or