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Satisfying the masses: Brian Burke fires Ron Wilson

Mar 2, 2012, 8:34 PM EDT

Ron Wilson AP

Whether it was an easy decision or not, Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke pulled the trigger tonight and fired his friend and head coach, Ron Wilson.

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

The move comes with Toronto mired in a miserable 1-9-1 stretch, sitting 11th in the Eastern Conference with 65 points. Wilson’s final game will end up being a 5-4 loss in Chicago on Thursday, a game in which the Leafs blew a 3-1 lead, allowing the Blackhawks to score three goals in a 13-minute span.

With the firing, we can now write Wilson’s tombstone as Maple Leafs head coach: June 10, 2008 – March 2, 2012. He compiled a 130-135-45 in almost four full seasons with the Buds.

Jonas Siegel of TSN 1050 Toronto points out this is only the second coach Burke’s during a season, with “Iron” Mike Keenan (in Vancouver, 1997-98) being the other.


— If there’s a silver lining for Wilson, it’s financial stability as the Leafs handed him a contract extension around the holiday season. Wilson infamously tweeted the news on Christmas Day.

— Wilson becomes the eighth coach fired this season, joining Randy Carlyle, Bruce Boudreau, Jacques Martin, Paul Maurice, Terry Murray, Davis Payne and Scott Arniel.

— Toronto also announced that assistant Coach Rob Zettler has been “reassigned to other duties in the organization.”

Want more on Wilson, Burke and the Leafs?

  1. taytay099 - Mar 2, 2012 at 8:37 PM

    I would not be surprised if Burke hired Marc Crawford.

    • firstandonlywarning - Mar 2, 2012 at 8:55 PM

      I think they should have, but they went with Randy

  2. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Mar 2, 2012 at 8:45 PM

    Woah. Satisfying the masses is right. Not that I’m in any way opposed to this. Better we give Eakins a chance than let him walk (if it’s anyone else this situation borders on the ridiculous).

  3. firstandonlywarning - Mar 2, 2012 at 8:52 PM

    FYI Randy Carlyle is the new coach

  4. davego6 - Mar 2, 2012 at 9:17 PM

    Totally agree with the firing of Wilson, but I don’t think Carlyle, is the answer. Burke should just run the season out with Gordon and the other assistants. Wait till the media in Toronto try to interview Carlyle, they’ll wish they had Wilson back. Next on my wish list is a resignation of Burke!

    It is really baffling to me, where a region such as Toronto and the surrounding area of southern Ontario, who produces more NHL caliber hockey players than any where else in the world, the team from Toronto doesn’t have any local players on its recent roster. In fact, this team is so dominated by American and western Canadian players that it just doesn’t make sense. Maybe, if they did have a few southern Ontario players on the team, they would display to their teammates just what hockey means to Toronto fans, after all so many of them grew up as Leaf fans and bled blue and white.

    • sharksfan754 - Mar 2, 2012 at 10:24 PM

      The second part of that sounded like something a Montreal fan would say with the whole needing more local players thing.

  5. pavelfitzgerald - Mar 2, 2012 at 9:19 PM

    Burke did this to help save his own job. He’ll now get another year to make the playoffs

    • firstandonlywarning - Mar 3, 2012 at 2:59 AM

      * and Miss the playoffs


  6. cbjfan75 - Mar 2, 2012 at 9:25 PM

    Only thing I wonder is if the reconnection of Carlyle and Burke will have same affect as Hitchcock and Armstrong…

  7. canuckinamerica - Mar 2, 2012 at 9:30 PM

    Whoa. Blustering Burkie fired his “Hall of Fame” coach?? Recycled coaches……Eakins will end up somewhere and probably get into the playoffs before the Loafs. Sad…..but funny nonetheless.

  8. phillyphever - Mar 2, 2012 at 9:39 PM

    Ok….so where’s the line that says Burke gets the ax as well?

    • firstandonlywarning - Mar 3, 2012 at 3:00 AM

      under Jeff Carter and Mike Richards nose

  9. vanchuk - Mar 2, 2012 at 10:15 PM

    OK, so today is Friday, March 2nd, 2012… Burkie said that Wilson would be working again in 2 weeks. Start the countdown. Friday, March 16th, 2012. Write that down

  10. elguapo12 - Mar 2, 2012 at 11:15 PM

    Where’s Ted Nolan these days? Did he really burn all his bridges? That would have been more interesting a hire.

    • kitshky - Mar 3, 2012 at 12:40 PM

      No other organization embodies the “old boy” enviroment more than the Leafs …no way in hell Nolan would get hired in T.O.

      He seriously should be in the League though.

  11. habsman - Mar 2, 2012 at 11:30 PM

    Looks like it was all Wilsons’ fault eh Burkie? You provided him with a playoff roster and he blew it, right? All those super stars you acquired through the draft and free agency with no results. You built a Stanley Cup team but they floundered because of Wilson. You Mr. Burke are above reproach. You built this superior team but the coach failed miserably. You had no other choice. Good move sir. This will surely rocket the Leafs to the playoffs and ultimately a cup final which they will surely win. Burke has built the best team in the NHL, all he needed was the right coach. It’s been a long 41 years, but finally the wait is over. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2012 Stanley Cup champions!

  12. drewsylvania - Mar 3, 2012 at 10:51 AM

    Another “vote of confidence” casualty.

  13. akritchie - Mar 4, 2012 at 6:45 PM

    I’d like to see Wilson back in Washington. Hunter is doing no good there.

  14. phillyphever - Mar 2, 2012 at 9:37 PM

    Why isn’t there a spam report button on this site?

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