Ron Wilson vs. Howard Berger: Give Rd. 1 to Ronny Boy

Derek HarmsworthSenior Writer IMarch 11, 2009

His act long gone stale with the fans and followers of the team, Toronto Maple Leafs beat writer Howard Berger has officially now worn thin with head coach Ron Wilson.

We all know about the incident that happened near the conclusion of the Leafs/Senators game from Monday night. For those who may not, a quick recap: Ron Wilson called for a stick measurement on the cue of Jason Spezza, tipped off by Martin Gerber perhaps.

The stick was deemed to be illegal, and Spezza was given a penalty for it.

Following the game, Wilson defended his decision, saying his young team played their hearts out, and played well enough to win. He was trying to give them that chance to win the game. A chance he, and yours truly, thought they deserved after a solid road effort in Kanata.

Howard Berger, however, didn't see the cleverness, or the charitable ways of the tactic, and went on record to say that Wilson should have been trying this stuff in November when the games mattered. He even questioned his integrity as a coach for calling for the measurement when he did.

Do I need to say what happens next?

No matter where they are in the standings, no matter how many wins they have on the year, you don't tell players and coaches that games don't matter, no matter what time of the year.  

And you certainly don't tell Ron Wilson games don't matter.

Upon hearing of Berger's comments, Wilson decided to publicly call out the reporter after last night's game. In his customary postgame presser, Wilson was patient, quiet, and methodical. However, once he got his opening...WHAM.

Wilson sounded off on Berger, using the word integrity in a mocking type fashion when answering the question Berger posed. He then went off on about a two-minute tirade about how Berger questioned his integrity.

No question many fans reveled in Wilson's bashing of Berger, someone who has been on thin ice with Leafs fans for a long time.

You can even credit Wilson for looking away, attempting to answer the next question. He wasn't able to however, because Berger immediately interrupted with yet another comment. 

This is just the latest blemish on the record of Howard Berger. One other most recent incident occurred when he reported that two New York Ranger players told him Sean Avery made a cancer comment to Jason Blake.

It was later denied by any member of the New York Rangers, Avery threatened to sue Berger, and he had to issue a retraction saying it was all fabricated.

Even if the Leafs may not be fighting for playoff positioning, there appears to be plenty to look forward to down the stretch in terms of feuds between figureheads.  Heck, the post game press conference just got a little more popular no doubt.

It's nothing against Howard Berger on a personal level, but on a professional level this guy lacks many of the qualities that being a journalism entails.

He is not an honest guy and will do whatever he can to get his name out there.

Not that Ron Wilson isn't a self promoter, mind you. We all know he is, it's evident in the press conference.

He doesn't, however, ever run from any statements he has ever made.  That's probably the difference the two.  One of many I suspect.

News on the Heward-Kolzig Trade

Some quick news on some members of the much talked about trade that seen the Leafs send Richard Petiot to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for Jamie Heward, Olaf Kolzig, Andy Rogers and a fourth round pick.

While it was thought at the time this was solely a trade that consisted of cap space for a draft pick, it appears the Leafs may be getting a little more out of this than they thought.

Jamie Heward, injured with a concussion suffered early in the season, is getting increasingly closer to returning to on-ice activity.  According to the Toronto Star, Heward could be about 10 to 14 days away from returning to the practice.

It is unsure whether or not he will see time with the big club or will be sent to the Toronto Marlies for added grit and depth for a Calder Cup playoff run.

Olaf Kolzig is a bit of a different story. The veteran netminder, who is currently recovering from season ending bicep surgery, will meet with doctors next few weeks to see how far along his progress is.

Following that he will meet with Brian Burke and the management team of the Toronto Maple Leafs to see if he can somehow fill a role within the organization for the remainder of the year.

The Maple Leafs would consider having Kolzig hang around the team, in order to mentor their young goalies and players at the NHL level.

It is unclear as to what Kolzig's plans are after this season, but if he were ready to hang it out, I would suspect the Leafs would find a job for him if he so desired.


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