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Columnist: Burke extending Wilson is “openly embracing mediocrity”

Dec 28, 2011, 1:00 PM EDT

Brian Burke AP

Toronto Star columnist Damien Cox has some thoughts on Leafs GM Brian Burke extending the contract of head coach Ron Wilson.

Take it away, DamoSpin:

Wilson and Burke have talked ad nauseum about getting rid of “blue-and-white disease” in the dressing room. But there is no greater expression of blue-and-white disease, basically defined as accepting what others would see as average result as excellence, than that which Burke has delivered in extending Wilson at this time.

Mikhail Grabovski and John-Michael Liles, both in the last year of their contracts, must play on without new deals.

But not Fibber Ron. He gets taken care of.

The money angle is interesting. Some folks, like Cox, argue Wilson’s extension is nothing more than a Christmas bonus, on par with tipping the paperboy or leaving beer for the garbageman. Why? Because come season’s end, that extension will have no bearing on Wilson’s employment future:

He makes the playoffs, he’ll stay as Leaf coach. He misses, he won’t. This extension is mostly about feathering his nest, at least in terms of certainty. He’ll get his money, which is apparently what he wanted under his tree and Brian Burke was happy to provide.

The deep-pocketed Leafs aren’t going to let a contract extension keep them from firing a coach. This is Toronto, not Anaheim (no offense to the Ducks, but the financials made them hesitant to turf Randy Carlyle after extending him through 2014.) If Wilson needs to go at season’s end, Wilson’s going to go — but he’ll still be getting paid.

Which brings us back to the Burke-Wilson relationship. The former roommates at Providence College have had each others’ backs for years, so this latest move shouldn’t come as much of a shock. But is the extension really “openly embracing mediocrity”…or is it just Burke’s way of giving Wilson his gold watch a little early?

  1. psousa1 - Dec 28, 2011 at 1:14 PM

    This franchise needed 4 years to turn it around. It was a mess! Now it is finally showing life so get rid of Wilson and Burke? Silly. Look at how much dead weight they got stuck with when they came in.

  2. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Dec 28, 2011 at 1:14 PM

    Raise your hand if you care what Damien Cox thinks. Nobody? That’s what I thought.

  3. babar61 - Dec 28, 2011 at 1:17 PM

    Wilson has done ok and the leafs are headed up not down. I would still wait to see if the leafs make the playoffs before I extended him though.

  4. davego6 - Dec 28, 2011 at 5:06 PM

    Wilson does not deserve an extended contract and his arrogance towards the media which is really us who hold him to accountability is strained. I, for the life of me can not understand how he could possibly think he deserves this. This team is mediocre at best! No improvement on the penalty kill!
    Burke says Wilson would be hired by a new team within 2 weeks, as what a head coach? What team?
    Time to go in a different direction, how about Dallas Eakins, he’s the one who is preparing the young guys and doing a pretty good job at it. If he isn’t promoted soon, he’ll be gone!

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Dec 28, 2011 at 6:36 PM

      “his arrogance towards the media which is really us who hold him to accountability is strained”

      Umm…..what? Please explain.

    • danphipps01 - Dec 29, 2011 at 1:09 AM

      Stop defending the journalists. No, seriously, just stop. There is no way to do so in good conscience. The Toronto hack squad are miserable, shoddy people. Ron Wilson and Brian Burke just buck the trend by having the balls to tell them what ignorant morons they really are and mocking them for being so appallingly stupid – and for that, friends and neighbours, we should thank them.

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