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Leafs lose ugly enough to inspire “Fire Wilson” chants

Feb 28, 2012, 9:51 PM EDT

Ron Wilson AP

Earlier today, PHT’s Jason Brough discussed the Toronto Maple Leafs’ need for 1) James Reimer to have a strong start and 2) Luke Schenn to avoid horrific turnovers.

The Florida Panthers built their 5-3 win off of some blatant failures in each regard as Reimer allowed two goals in 2:21, including one thanks to an absolutely unconscionable whiff by Schenn. (At least Schenn didn’t nail Reimer with his stick when he angrily reacted to the goal, although some Maple Leafs fans might have cheered for it.)

That 2-0 lead was just the beginning of an agonizing loss for the Maple Leafs, who flopped profoundly enough to inspire a “Fire [Ron] Wilson” chant a day after GM Brian Burke gave his fledgling goalies the dreaded vote of non-trade confidence. Don’t feel too bad for Wilson, though; he has a shiny contract extension that means he’ll get some more money (firing or not) and coached his 1,400th game on Tuesday.

A symbolic defeat?

If the Maple Leafs miss the playoffs – and yes, they still have a chance, morbid Buds fans – people might look at this as a microcosm of the season. Times were bad, except for Phil Kessel‘s top line, as the American sniper scored goal No. 32.

(One thing that wasn’t typical, though: Nikolai Kulemin actually found the net.)

Wilson sad: a gallery of depression

To make some laughter lemonade out of this lemon of a performance, check out this gallery of unhappy Ron Wilson photos – which may or may not make Maple Leafs fans feel better.

source: AP(Feb. 18, 2012)

source: AP(Jan. 31, 2012)

source: AP(Nov. 13, 2010 – is that cheating?)

source: AP(Cheating again, March 2, 2010 but you’re not complaining right?)

source: AP(Hey look, he’s almost smiling … June 14, 2010)

  1. babar61 - Feb 28, 2012 at 10:24 PM

    I used to hate the leafs with a passion. Now I just feel sorry for them. I wonder if they can pull it together before the “fire Burke” chants get started.

    • phillyphever - Feb 28, 2012 at 10:52 PM

      Better idea: actually fire Burke. The only thing he did is give Boston the Stanley Cup.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Feb 29, 2012 at 12:16 AM

        Seguin’s 7 playoff points really carried them last year eh?

      • habsman - Feb 29, 2012 at 10:25 AM

        How many playoff points did Kessell get last year?

  2. eastcoastcynic - Feb 28, 2012 at 10:35 PM

    Need more information. Is there any inside gossip on whether the dressing room is quitting on Wilson? Are players demanding trades?

  3. murtdurt - Feb 28, 2012 at 10:54 PM

    This article is great!

  4. cowboyscanada - Feb 28, 2012 at 11:07 PM

    Clean house! Vouldnt happen to a classier guy!

  5. blomfeld - Feb 28, 2012 at 11:46 PM

    Both Wilson and Burke should be liquidated “post-haste” ! … what they’re doing to to the city of Toronto is a disgrace and it shouldn’t be tolerated for a second longer … Maple Leaf fans are excellent people and they deserve so much better than this …

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Feb 29, 2012 at 12:15 AM

      This is the first year since the lockout that the Leafs have actually looked like they’re headed in the right direction. Until two weeks ago they looked like they were headed to the playoffs. Leafs fans have Burke to thank for that and he’s not going anywhere. People need to have some patience, you don’t turn an AHL team into a Cup contender in three years.

      As for Wilson, I’m torn. He’s done a decent job with the teams he’s been given as coach and I don’t know how much the coach’s actions factor into this recent slide. I’d give him one more year but if things don’t get better it’ll be time for a change.

      • hawknuts - Feb 29, 2012 at 9:31 AM

        No offense man but Brian Burke is a moron. In Hartford he didn’t do anything of merit except draft Chris Pronger,which was blatantly obvious to anybody who had watched Major Junior Hockey the prior season that he was going to be a special player.

        In Vancouver he made one good trade, getting the sedin twins together and they took so long to mature he got fired. Still he did good in that one move. The rest of his tenure in Vancouver he set them up for failure. Bad move after bad move resulting in him leaving to watch the team go down in flames for five more years. West Coast Expressed themselves into lawsuits and drama, nothing more.

        He gets the gig in Anaheim and that team is pretty much put together. He inherits massive amounts of talent and makes one significant move that was handed to him from Prongers wife because he fathered a child with an edmonton sports journalist and wifey made him leave the country. So they win his cup. Good for him, he took another man’s team and added one player that wouldn’t go anywhere else. wow, talented guy let me say!

        Heads to toronto and what happens? he guts your team for a bunch of scrubs, but the GTA is so desperate for a good team that they are drinking the kool-aid. Too bad its laced with cyanide. How have those draft picks worked out for you guys?

        Kessel deal is only now looking moderately alright because he has put the puck in the net this year again but still you sold the farm for a one dimensional player who won’t get you where you need to go if you can sneak in to the tournament. Phaneuf as a captain ha ha ha

        The monster eh! gustavsson’s hype made it seem like he was martin brodeur come again. The way he deals with the media when he knows its part of his job is pathetic and only slightly less so than his handling of Ron “i think each team deserves a gold medal even though we lost” Wilson’s coaching status.

        i feel for leafs fans because they want to win, it just won’t happen with this coach and most likely by the time Burke gets lucky again in the draft he will have been fired and your riding out another few years to clear up all his mistakes.

        the fact that he got into a pissing match with kevin lowe over stanley cup rings when its common knowledge lowe played with gretzky for the oiler dynasty and won another over in NY with the Rangers in ’94 says all i need to know about the guy. that is common knowledge to any hockey fan let alone an executive. He has an ego the size of the Pacific and will get into a pissing match for nothing other than pride. That is not a leader or a team architect, its an insecure little man.

        i feel bad for leafs fans, i really do

      • blomfeld - Feb 29, 2012 at 11:06 AM

        hawknuts – all kidding aside, that’s a terrific commentary ! … very factual and very much to the point … about the only thing I’d add is the fact the wifey Jennifer is a bona-fide “beach” ! :)

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Feb 29, 2012 at 12:00 PM

        I still think he’s done well given what he had to deal with. He picked up Phaneuf for nothing. He found a dumping ground for Toskala, Blake, and Kaberle. He picked up Lupul and Gardiner for Beuchemin.

        I’m not sure how you can argue that this team doesn’t look better than it did when he took over. It’s the second youngest team in the league so them caving under the pressure of being in a playoff race in Toronto isn’t all that surprising. They have tons of potential and Burke will have an opportunity to add a few pieces that will help them improve even more this offseason.

  6. atwatercrushesokoye - Feb 29, 2012 at 12:18 AM

    hopefully the Red Rider BB gun is working out better for him than the contract extension will.

  7. elguapo12 - Feb 29, 2012 at 12:30 AM

    Actually, Seguin’s seven points…oh, never mind, it’s getting boring ragging on the Leafs and their hopeless fans. Burke inherited a 90+-point team and turned them into a total mess…but enjoy the delusion.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Feb 29, 2012 at 12:54 AM

      Where are you getting your stats? He inherited a team that had 83 points the year before he came in and a lineup that included perennial All Stars Jamal Mayers, Dominic Moore, and Lee Stempniak.

      • luvsleafs - Feb 29, 2012 at 4:57 PM

        actually since the year 2000 the four lowest season totals have come under Burke and Wilson. Ferguson had a better win record than Burke.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Feb 29, 2012 at 5:22 PM

        That 83 point season was under Ferguson so you’re incorrect. He was the one who inherited the 90+ point team and totally ruined it. If you can name one good move that guy made I’d love to hear it. I can only think of atrocious ones.

  8. jaysfan64 - Feb 29, 2012 at 5:08 AM

    All things considered Burke has done ok (he hasn’t had a lot to work with)….Wilson does need 2 go….give Eakins a shot-nothing to lose there …if not they’ll lose him anyway in the summer….

  9. luvsleafs - Feb 29, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    OK now, enough is enough, we’ve been royally fleeced by Burke and Wilson. Now someone down there at Rogers needs to light a fire down at the Air Canada Centre or The House that 2 Yanks Ruined (no offence to any other americans). Leaf fans are the loyalist fans, we believe right to the end and if there is a slim chance we ride that chance until it is no more, HOWEVER, even I can see the writing on the wall, our pockets have been picked clean and we do have a slim chance to make the playoffs but we need to act fast. We need to fire Wilson, bring up Dallas Eakins and let him do what he does best -WIN. I think we should give Ben Scrivens a shot, but we’ll leave that up to Dallas.

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