Toronto Maple Leafs GM and Coach: Case For Patience with Olympic Success?

Louis PisanoAnalyst IFebruary 23, 2010

MONTREAL - JUNE 26:  (L-R)  Toronto Maple Leafs President & GM Brian Burke, Special Advisor Cliff Fletcher, First Round Draft Pick Nazem Kadri, Senior VP of Hockey Operations Dave Nonis and Head Coach Ron Wilson stand on the stage during the first round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft at the Bell Centre on June 26, 2009 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Ron Wilson has led team USA—who wasn’t considered a pre-tournament favorite, in fact quite the opposite—to a 3-0 record and top seed overall at the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Is this an indication of what is to come for Toronto once the pieces are in place?

Toronto GM Brian Burke built the team, mind you he had all of the American players to choose from and no cap to deal with, but to this point it’s hard to say he hasn’t made the right choices.

It’s a given that it’s more difficult to build an NHL team and Burke will need time as he stated he would take to get this Leafs team headed not just towards the playoffs but towards becoming cup contenders.

But has he now along with Ron Wilson shown that they have some answers for Leafs Nation?

Toronto fans must feel that this Olympic success albeit for team USA gives some validity and added reassurance that the tandem their beloved blue and white are entrusted to are the right men for the jobs.

Wilson has taken a group that was considered too small, truly an un-Burke-like team, and made them successful to a point.

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The gold medals have certainly not be handed to the Americans by any means.

But they have the best goal differential and are undefeated and stand as the No. 1 seed.

If you’re saying to yourself, "yeah, but Wilson led the Sharks to heights and when the chips were down, and when it counted in the playoffs he failed."

I hear your voices echoing in my head as well.

Is this Olympic success because of coaching, or because of the players in place, or a combination of the two, Leafs fans are hoping the latter of course.

Burke has made significant changes to this Toronto team’s roster with not a lot to work with and has definitely put some of the right pieces in place.

Phil Kessel, Dion Phaneuf, J.S.Giguere, Fredrick Sjostrom, Francois Beauchemin, and Nazem Kadri are just a few of the names Burke has brought to Toronto.

I’d be willing to bet that 99 percent of Leafs fans will tell you that this is a better team than was on the ice last season hands down.

So Burke has done his job well so far in most minds while Wilson will have to continue to prove that he is the right choice and will have at least the end of this season and most likely the whole of next to right the ship in Toronto.

There is a very small trade window between the end of the Olympic trade freeze and the trade deadline of March 3 for Burke to continue to give Wilson the right bodies.

GM’s have been busy throughout the Olympic break though nothing is official but deals are being discussed you can bet on that.

Tomas Kaberle and Alexei Ponikarovsky, two players who trade talks have surrounded for quite sometime, could bring some more young talent and draft picks back to Toronto if Burke pulls the trigger.

No matter who is on the ice for the Leafs the fact is 21 games remain in the season and I think Leafs fans faith would be encouraged by ending the season on an above .500 note.

Leafs Nation is hoping this is the beginning of their rise back to the ranks of Stanley Cup contender status with Burke at the helm and Wilson rallying the troops.

With their recent success at the Olympics, it may be just that, but the proof is in the pudding and we will all have to wait and see.

Follow me on twitter for hockey updates and sports chatter.

KingofRoncy@twitter.com and check out my show “Get the Puck Out” on www.morencyssports.com or check www.ustream.com for replays just search “Get the Puck Out” Past Guests include Johnny Bower, Wendel Clark, Helen Stoumbos live from the Olympics.

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