Instead of enjoying his 1400th career game as an NHL coach, Ron Wilson was showered off to the locker room with the sound of "Fire Wilson" chants raining down on him.
It was during the third period of Tuesday's 5-3 loss to the visiting Florida Panthers that fans at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto let their voices be heard, turning what should have been a memorable night for Wilson into one that he would soon rather forget.
The loss marked Toronto’s fifth in a row, and ninth in their last 10 games.
The team now sits four points out of an Eastern Conference playoff spot with no games in hand.
To make matters worse, Leafs’ fans could only watch as the Washington Capitals were able to secure a come-from-behind victory against the New York Islanders to slide into the eighth spot in the East with 69 points.
Only four points out, not that bad, right? Not so fast.
As close as Toronto is to a playoff position, the team is as equally close to the basement of their conference. Currently with 65 points, the Leafs only sit four points up on the 14th-placed New York Islanders.
So, what can Toronto do to snap out of its funk?
According to the Tuesday night's sellout crowd, the answer is simple: "Fire Wilson!"
In fairness to coach Ron, Toronto is a young team that is still in a maturation process, part of which includes dealing with the pressures of playing in a hockey mecca.
But whether or not you think Wilson is the problem with Toronto is irrelevant.
Results don’t lie, and if they are unable to turn their ship around soon, Leafs Nation will be forced to endure yet another year—the seventh in a row—without the joys of playoff hockey.
This was not the result that GM Brian Burke promised.
As recently as Monday afternoon during his post-deadline remarks, Burke told reporters that his management team decided to remain quiet on the trade front to provide their team with the confidence needed to make a run at the April dance.
Is it fair to say that Burke’s attempt to inject confidence into his club failed?
Tuesday night’s loss may have just been one defeat, but for a team as desperate for points as Toronto is, one defeat is far too many.
Unlike the trade deadline, which has come and gone, the losses may continue.
Rest assured, Burke heard the chanting onslaught of his coach, but will that have been enough to warrant use of the guillotine in Toronto?
The Leafs visit Chicago to play the Blackhawks tonight and, should they lose, fans may have their answer sooner rather than later.
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