Watching the Leafs fall to the Carolina Hurricanes last night was painful. Gut-wrenching. Agonizing. Excruciating. Okay, I think you get my point.
However, more disturbing than watching Brian Burke’s foot soldiers blow an early three-goal lead and allowing the tying goal with only seconds remaining on the clock, was the indifferent composure displayed by coach Ron Wilson, who continues to show a noticeable lack of emotion behind the bench.
I realize all leaders, be it sports, business, or other lifestyle pursuits, have their own distinct management styles and approaches and that no one method is ever the solution. However, when your team finds itself in last place in the league and shows no signs of improvement, channeling another style may be in order.
While I feel a roster shake-up is needed to make this team more competitive, I also think Wilson needs to step outside his comfort zone and fervently exhibit his pent up irritation (anger, ire, wrath—however you want to label it is fine by me) with how his players are executing night in and night out.
Shaking your head, deploying the evil eye, and sitting a guy down on the bench for the third period are fine and dandy, but these tactics obviously aren’t working with this group of players.
Now I’m not saying Wilson has to transform himself into Bobby Knight; the highly successful former NCAA basketball coach that was well known for his expressive and sometimes controversial outbursts, but a little more passion certainly couldn’t hurt.
If he’s not sure where to start, here are a few suggestions. Throw a water bottle, launch into a mini verbal tirade, or give the ref an earful. There’s certainly much more that could be done on this front, but you have to learn to walk before you can run.
Perhaps, and this is a big perhaps (remember, this is the Leafs we’re talking about here, so all logical thought must be set aside), a little more passion from the coach could elicit an increase in positive performances from the players.
Mr. Wilson might see things differently and could argue that this is not the way he does things, but I honestly can’t envision him getting worked up enough to have a heated debate with anyone on this subject.
That said, I’ve love to be proven wrong on this topic and hope there comes a day when he reaches out and grabs that bottle to throw some cold water on this argument.