Why the Toronto Maple Leafs Should Sign Randy Carlyle
Many people in the Toronto media are wondering what Brian Burke will do next. Will he give Ron Wilson a contract extension before the Christmas holidays? Will he wait to see if Wilson can finally lead the Leafs to the playoffs after a record seven year drought? I for one would not give Wilson an extension until the end of this season. If the Leafs finish very strong, resign him. If they begin to falter, fire Wilson immediately and bring in a man with a proven track record. Randy Carlyle.
Many will point to the fact that Wilson has more career wins than Carlisle. The question I pose to you haters is this. How many Stanley Cups does Wilson have? The answer is zero. Carlisle has recently won the cup with Burke’s old team, the Anaheim Ducks. For those with short memories, Ron Wilson hasn’t done much with the Leafs since he was signed to turn them into a winner. Year after year the critics have called for his firing. The Leafs have stunk, and I will lay the blame on Wilson. You can argue all day that he didn’t have the right personnel, which is a valid point, but look at Nashville. Every year they “overachieve”. Is it the players? Or is it the system? I believe its a combination of both. Coaches implement a system, and call on the right players at the right times to execute. Barry Trotz continually runs an effective system and has the right players in to make it work.
Wilson has had a mediocre team, but has never implemented an effective system. Case in point, yesterday against the Bruins, the returning Stanley Cup champs. DO they have the best roster in the league? Not even close. They have players buying into the system and executing it effectively. That is why they have been so dominant. That is something that Ron Wilson has never been able to really accomplish. You can argue that the Leafs are winning now and doing well, but they are not executing the system they were built for. Burke built a team with truculence, and edge. Tough to play against, built from the goalie and defence out. Isn’t it strange now that this team is all about scoring. The D has been soft, the goaltending suspect, and if there are any extended scoring droughts, the team is going to crash back to reality. I don’t think this roster is a championship contender, rather they are a fringe playoff team. If Wilson couldn’t take a stacked San Jose roster to the finals, then how can do that with the Leafs? I beg you Mr. Burke. Don’t make the mistake of giving your buddy an extension until we see them in the playoffs, and actually competing. A first round slaughter at the hands of a legitimate playoff team like Pittsburgh, Washington or Boston will not show growth. It will temporarily appease Toronto fans, who have been craving playoff hockey, but the real goal is the championship. Not perennial playoff births and unprecedented playoff failure (see San Jose Sharks).
Wait a bit Brian, and if your old friend isn’t improving the penalty kill and seeing the system you wanted really implemented, then do yourself a favor. Hire Randy Carlisle. He’s a proven winner, a tough defensive conscious coach who hasn’t underachieved with talent, rather, he’s overachieved with teams not expected to win it all.