If I ever had to pick a lousy coach in the NHL, Toronto Maple Leafs' Ron Wilson does come to mind.
I've watched him mouth off time and time again, complaining about what his team has not done and ranting about other teams and their players.
The latest snipe that he made was a comparison on Phil Kessel and Tyler Seguin: “Well Phil Kessel’s got seven goals, Tyler’s got what, one?,” Leafs coach Ron Wilson said prior to Thursday’s game.
So to break that down a little, let's do our own comparison:
Phil Kessel, age 23 in his fourth year as an NHLer. In his rookie year (age 19), he totaled 70 games earning 11 goals and 18 assists for 29 points. He was at a +/- of minus 12.
Tyler Seguin is just 18 years old in his rookie year and in just seven games. He has 2 goals and 2 assists for 4 points for a +/- of minus 1.
So, to compare a player at this point in time (a young veteran versus a rookie) is not only idiotic, but down right irrational.
Sure, at this time, Kessel is the better player; the only problem is the Maple Leafs has 23 goals for and Kessel has scored seven of them.
30.4% of the toal goals to date is by one player. On the other side of the game, they allowed 21 goals with a goal differential of +2.
My point? Offense is great, but what's the point if you have no defense to complete the win? What happens if the offense goes cold and your defense continues to struggle?
Seguin is a goal scorer and he will get better. Under the tutelage of Coach Claude Julien, Seguin will be a two way player and with players like Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi (for however long he will be playing or staying in Boston), he will develop as such and that will be a far more valuable player than a pure goal scorer.
Kessel did not like the two way system that Julien had in place and he got benched as a result by Julien during the playoffs in the 2008 playoffs because his offensive minded play actually hampered the Bruins, as they were constantly one man down in the defensive end.
After the benching, he did wake up and played the system that was presented to him where he still scored, but helped out in the back end as well. THAT'S how you get the message to the player without completely embarrassing him to the point of resentment.
Did Kessel like getting benched? Of course not. But the message rang true.
Back to Wilson.
Wilson has time and time again called out his players to the media and that can be a double edged sword: Call them out when needed and it sends a message that they need to get their act together; constantly call them out and you lose the room.
I rarely hear of a positive comment from him and he will find a negative aspect that they should do better.
Is is a perfectionist? Maybe. But when you are coaching teams that are struggling, when you call out your players both to the media or right at them in front of the media, that can hurt you as a coach just as easily as help you.
Some will say that he had a bad hand dealt to him. I beg to differ.
During his days in San Jose, the team was poised to take it to the higher level, but they failed to go to the show in four consecutive years.
The sarcasm that he brings to the dressing room and the media gets tiring and again, you lose the room. The lack of respect can go both ways and you don't get the quality of play from your players.
His style of defensive play is going to help the Leafs, that I do not doubt.
Does he know the game of hockey. Absolutely. Does he have the passion? Maybe a little too much as emotion can help and hurt you depending on how you channel it.
That is Wilson's problem at this time: He needs to control the emotion and earn the respect of his team. So far, I think there might be a problem, but time will tell.
Just my opinion and I would like to hear other points of view.