Wilson Fired

This is Ron Wilson as a Minnesota North Star, maybe 1986. He was fired today after once again falling short of a pennant and trip to the Stanley Cup finals.

Wilson is a very famous coach for a man who hasn’t won it all (three stops as head man so far, Washington, Anaheim and San Jose) but has one pennant (Washington, 1998) and I doubt he’ll spend long out of the big league coaching loop.

He is known for bringing technology to the forefront in the National Hockey League and early this calendar year won his 500th NHL regular season game. He was the 11th man in the league’s history to do it.

After losing in the second round for the third year in a row, the Sharks as an organization had enough of him. He also probably didn’t help himself with a bizarre press conference right after the season.

If there is an ideal team for Wilson to coach, with his swagger and his laptop, it would most certainly be Toronto. It’s the logical marriage and it would probably work.

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36 Responses to "Wilson Fired"

  1. Showerhead says:

    I’ve been reading quite a bit on Wilson lately and all I can say is HA! “Bizarre” is a friendly way of saying he said something pretty fucking stupid for the context in which he said it.

  2. Bruce says:

    Good riddance to an arrogant asshole.

    No doubt he’ll turn up again, people with such supreme self-confidence always seem to. He’d be just about perfect for Florida. Cuba would be even better, since it’s further.

  3. digger says:

    Yeah, 5 years is about right for his act to wear thin.

    His GM gave him Joe Thornton gift wrapped with a bow on top, and Wilson went on and wasted 3 years of him with a trifecta of 2nd round exits. His dismissal was no surprise.

    IMO his bizarro end of playoff post mortem was his way of reading the tea leaves and deciding it would better serve him to aggressively defend his record, even at the expense of making himself look like a self-important jackass.

  4. doritogrande says:

    couldn’t get the job done with some of the best horses in the Western Conference. What makes you think he’d do well in TO with one once-proud clydesdale about a year away from being taken to the glue factory and a bunch of mexican donkeys?

  5. Jonathan says:

    TSN has an interesting discussion about him up at their website.

    Milbury, who chose Wilson to coach Team USA, and thought he did a good job, talked about “coaching disease”, where a coach starts to think that he is more important than the players. Given what we’ve heard of Wilson, it seemed apt.

    They also suggest Quenville to replace Wilson, and Duthie adds that Wilson may be contemplating retirement from coaching.

  6. RiversQ says:

    I dunno, I don’t mind Wilson.

    As for his results, they have been pretty impressive but they haven’t had much good fortune in the playoffs.

    How else can you explain Dallas winning that series while really only outplaying SJ in one game? What is a coach supposed to do when the results don’t match the performance? I’m not sure what else you can do as a coach when your team consistently outchances and outshoots the other team while spending most of the game in the o-zone.

  7. Dennis says:

    Without getting into what Joe T. has or hasn’t done in the playoffs, can’t we all agree that the Sharks D has never looked like a lock for a long playoff run?

    Fuck, I thought they’d come out of the West this year as well and I liked how they looked chances wise but if you can’t always score goals, maybe it’s nice to have a group of D that makes a lot of good decisions. Can’t remember their ’07 core for now but in ’06 we were all waiting for the Oilers to pound their young and shaky D and now this seaosn they were depending a lot of a guy like Erhoff for instance and Mclaren got hurt again.

    I’m not saying the Sharks couldn’t use a change — I think it’s wise to shake it up for any time these days considering the lack of authority that any coach has in a league that has 30 options for any player and big salaries — and I’m not saying Wilson isn’t an arsehole but it’s not like I saw a complete Sharks team and thought it was a gross underacheivement when they didn’t win.

    As I read from one of their beat writers, they played this season 10 mill under the cap so before they overturn all the stones, maybe they could spend a little more money and see how that works at season’s end.

    Anyway, him and Lou and Burke all came from Providence so it wouldn’t be a big surprise to see Lowe in TO with Burke soon to follow.

  8. therealdeal says:

    Just what Toronto is missing: an arrogant blowhard.

    Honestly, it wasn’t all Wilson’s fault, but he didn’t get the job done.

    I’ll always remember him for 1996 though. That bastard.

  9. Lord Bob says:

    Ron Wilson is Gordon Bombay in Mighty Ducks 3: This Time They’re All Maple Leafs.

    Because the real Mighty Ducks 3 never happened, you understand me? It never happened.

    But seriously, one of the better coaches in this league gets canned and I’m reduced to making Emilio Estevez jokes, which probably says more than I could ever intend to. I don’t think he ever did anything wrong in San Jose, but I’m not sure he ever did anything clearly right either, and as is so often the case it’s easier to can the coach than redo the rest of the roster.

  10. Ribs says:

    Well it’s about gaddamn time. With the amount of talent on that team they have to play better than they have even if you exclude Big Joe’s efforts.

    Wilson to TO sounds good to me. They have a losing tradition to uphold, you know! Heck, make him GM while your at it.

  11. Jonathan says:

    Wilson to TO sounds good to me. They have a losing tradition to uphold, you know! Heck, make him GM while your at it.

    Surely Mike O’Connell is available? Or Craig Button? Or maybe Mike Keenan is sick of coaching?

  12. Showerhead says:

    Dennis: One thing I will definitely say having read some of the comments is that I agree with you re: SJ never quite being a complete team in my eyes. Not once did I look at them on paper in all of these years pundits have been picking them to go all the way and think to myself they were the best team in the West. Why? Obviously their defense. Too young, and to use a cliche that I hate, they have too many “puck movers” and not enough “shutdown D”. Seriously, there is just no way they match up well against any of the top offensive teams and if you’re watching any of the Detroit series right now the Red Wings are too clinical for perhaps any team in the league this year so no San Jose wasn’t going to make a run if they bounced past Dallas.

    Speaking of that series, it’s not as if SJ didn’t get their fair share of bounces. Morrow’s kick, for one… but what that series illustrated IMO is that driving the play doesn’t count for shit if your defense is going to part like Finland’s on Getzlaf’s goal 2-3 times per game.

  13. Traktor says:

    Wilson fired? “Not surprised”

    MacTavish fired? Not a chance.

    Seriously, is Edmonton the only team that doesn’t care if the coach produces results or not?

    Well with Bucky’s promotion I think we know the answer.

  14. Jonathan says:

    Wilson fired? “Not surprised”

    MacTavish fired? Not a chance.

    Seriously, is Edmonton the only team that doesn’t care if the coach produces results or not?

    Name a team MacTavish has coached that didn’t have significant holes, or one that failed to meet expectations.

    The only time MacT has ever had a complete roster to work with was post-trade deadline 2006, and he rode them to the finals.

  15. Traktor says:

    jonathan: Mac has made the playoffs once in the last 4 years. 2 times in the last 6.

    That fails my expectations.

    Even with Pronger, MacTavish needed Vancouver to lose like 5 games in a row just to make the playoffs. One year MacTavish didn’t make the playoffs because he lost the final game of the season.

    It’s the same thing every year. We never win the big game. The team always loses focus and goes on 5,6,7 game losing streaks. One year it’s the goaltending, the next year it’s the lack of a one-shot scorers, the next year it’s a lack of puck-moving defensemen, or maybe it’s too much youth on the team, or maybe Torres and Stoll are having off seasons? That’s not MacTavish’s fault right? It’s always the same thing year after year; excuses.

    It will be the same thing next year too, when we miss the playoffs again. Better coaches with better coaching records will be fired and MacTavish will be safe.

    A what point are we going to send the message that losing isn’t exceptable? Would any other Org promote Bucky after his shit season? This Org is a fucking joke with no accountability.

  16. digger says:

    “It will be the same thing next year too, when we miss the playoffs again. Better coaches with better coaching records will be fired and MacTavish will be safe.”

    Just my opinion obviously, but I honestly think that if the Oilers aren’t devastated by injury and STILL don’t make the playoffs next season, it’ll be MacT’s final season as head coach. No grand firings or anything, he’ll just walk away.

  17. Bruce says:

    what that series illustrated IMO is that driving the play doesn’t count for shit if your defense is going to part like Finland’s on Getzlaf’s goal 2-3 times per game.

    Well said, Showerhead. There’s driving the play and there’s scoring opportunities and there’s great scoring opportunities, and the one doesn’t necessarily lead to the other.

    I hearken back to Game 5 in the Shark Tank in 2006, when the Oilers won 6-3 despite just 18 shots on goal (and just 29 attempted shots). But the shots they did get were great chances, which they converted with clinical precision. San Jose drove the play and the Oilers kicked their ass.

    Often as not it would be one or more of Ehrhoff or Gorges or Preissing or the raw rookie Carle who got exposed. A couple of the names have changed since then, but it remains a youthful, fairly inexperienced group with the addition of Vlasic and Douglas Murray, the Best Offensive Player in Hockey who was reduced to third-pairing minutes by the Dallas series. On the veteran front, Campbell in, Hannan out hardly icreased their shutdown capability. As a group those guys could control and move the puck (almost) all game long, but they better score while they’re doing so because they’re apt to give up one or two.

    Wilson rode the shit out of Campbell, Vlasic, Ehrhoff, and Rivet, hardly an imposing shutdown group to say the least, and tried to spot the other guys where they would be least noticed. I could swear there was even an Alexei Semenov sighting in there.

    But they moved the puck and they drove the play and they outshot their opposition 2428-1975 (30-24/GP) during the season and 353-279 (32-26/GP) in the playoffs. As a group I bet their Corsi numbers were outstanding. And we all know that’s what really matters.

    :D

  18. Jonathan says:

    Let’s look at those teams that missed the playoffs.

    In 2001-02, MacTavish was given a team that:
    a) had 20-year old, 41-game veteran Mike Comrie as a first line centre
    b) had Jochen Hecht (16G, 40PTS) as it’s leading scorer off the top line and
    c) Had only one defenceman who topped 25 points

    and still finished only 2 points out of the playoffs, setting a record for most points by a non-playoff team in the process. He would have finished 7th in the East.

    In 2003-04, MacTavish’s team boasted the following:
    a) Tommy Salo (2.58GAA, .896SV%) as a starting goalie
    b) Mike York (61GP-16G-26A) as a first line-centre
    c) No defencemen with 30 points or more.

    That team finished 9th in the West.

    2006-07 and 2007-08 are both fresh enough in memory that we should remember them, and those teams certainly had no business contending for a playoff spot.

    So again, I ask, show me a season where a MacTavish coached team underperformed?

    And I completely agree on Buchberger, incidentally. He hasn’t shown anything to warrant a promotion, certainly not over Rob Daum, who the organization is praising right now.

  19. Dennis says:

    Bruce: Yeah, that was a Semi sighting but he shagged up in G1 and then came out for Carle.

    Anyway, only so far you can go — or at least when you really come up against it — and probably that’s why the Stars are having some trouble in their own end now. Granted, the Wings are absolutely banging on all eight and make like only a handful of mistakes all night but there’s not a whole lot of places for young D to hide and those places get even fewer as you come up against better and better teams.

    Not sure if everyone will get it or not but if the Sharks are turfing their coach, maybe they’ll bump their ticket prices and pour some money into their D as well. So here comes a bit more vet to their D and the Pavelski’s and Co. get older and VOILA, Wilson was the problem;)

    BTW, I remember G5 and I think it turned on a Bernier penalty up by the Oilers blueline. Seemed like he was still sore from the hit on Michalek and he took a run at someone and then the Oilers wound up on a 5 on 3 and Stoll scored his last goal of that run, no?

  20. therealdeal says:

    I hearken back to Game 5 in the Shark Tank in 2006, when the Oilers won 6-3 despite just 18 shots on goal (and just 29 attempted shots). But the shots they did get were great chances, which they converted with clinical precision. San Jose drove the play and the Oilers kicked their ass.

    Wholeheartedly agree. That was the story of the Wilson era Sharks.

  21. CrazyCoach says:

    Someone had to pay for the Sharks playoff failure and Wilson knew it was coming just like Paul Maurice knew his days in TO were numbered once JFJ was fired.

    I imagine Wilson’s bizarre final press conference was just a man grabbing at one last time in the spotlight before being brought behind the shed old yeller style.

    I still can’t believe the Av’s let the big Q go after their run.

    Maybe Ted Nola is the answer to the Sharks prayers. I know he’s not happy on the Island and may want a change of scenery. I think him and Danny Flynn would do wonders in San Jose.

    As far as the Oilers promoting Buchberger, I can only say if it is at the expense of Rob Daum, theny they truly are screwed in the head as an organization. Daum truly knows his stuff and can only bring positives to the Oilers.

  22. Ducey says:

    “Seriously, is Edmonton the only team that doesn’t care if the coach produces results or not?”

    No, but Edmonton does seem to lead the league in fans who project their own personal problems onto the coach.

    You judge a coach on whether he exceeds expectations. Three years ago (the cup run) and last year MacT exceeded expectations. Two years ago, no coach would have made any difference. If you have a complaint take it up with Lowe, Lady Luck, and maybe Mrs Pronger.

    You really think MacT would have any problem taking the current Sharks team to the finals?

    As for Daum, I seem to remember that Daum didn’t get along well with his players – maybe on his AHL team. Anyone else remember this? Maybe this is why he is getting kicked off the bench?

  23. Dennis says:

    I hope that any of these guys who are wondering why MacT has a job aren’t the same fellows who are dying on Lowe’s Hill.

  24. Jonathan says:

    As for Daum, I seem to remember that Daum didn’t get along well with his players – maybe on his AHL team. Anyone else remember this? Maybe this is why he is getting kicked off the bench?

    Except that Daum hasn’t been behind the bench- he’s been doing game prep and video work.

  25. CrazyCoach says:

    MacT coaches a team the same way he played. You don’t really notice him out there, but he’s incredible at doing what he does, except of course when he makes a mistake, which is very rare.

  26. doritogrande says:

    Threadjack:

    Sam Gagner enters the World Championship fray in Canada’s quarterfinal game against Norway.

    http://tsn.ca/canadian_hockey/story/?id=237622&lid=sublink02&lpos=headlines_main

    Eric Staal has returned to Thunder Bay to attend his grandfather’s funeral.

  27. mc79hockey says:

    Even with Pronger, MacTavish needed Vancouver to lose like 5 games in a row just to make the playoffs.

    This is the stupidest fucking criticism. I was tracking the playoff odds the whole way out. With how tight all of those teams were and with how many H2H games they had, if Vancouver hadn’t lost 5 games in a row or whatever, they would have been taking points off of someone else who just finished in front of the Oilers. Plus, earlier in the season (FYI: those points still count in the standings in April) MacT was coaching a team that was winning games despite ECHL goaltending.

    As for Ron Wilson, anyone got a link to a story about this presser? BTW, here’s a list of playoff rounds played in since 2005-06 in the West (might be missing one or two):

    DET – 8 (counting this year)
    ANA – 8
    SJS – 6
    DAL – 5
    EDM – 4
    COL – 4
    NSH – 3
    CGY – 3
    MIN – 2
    VAN – 2

    I don’t know how you could argue that Wilson has done anything but run a top three team in the west over that period with, as Dennis noted, less money spent on talent.

  28. Traktor says:

    Expectations is predicated on the past. If you’ve always been a loser the chances are you expect to be a loser when you wake up tommorow.

    You guys are right, MacTavish isn’t underperfoming at all. He’s meeting our expectations.

    I guess he is a good coach if you expect him to miss the playoffs. I see your guy’s point now. Some coaches who miss the playoffs do a horrible job but MacTavish is one of those rare coaches that does amazing work even when he doesn’t make the playoffs. We should hold on to him.

    If we actually expected MacTavish to have success, well that be be a different story. Ron Wilson wouldn’t have earned half as many points as MacT did with the 3rd highest payroll in the NHL.

    Lowe is the problem. He should have listened to the bloggers and signed Mike Johnson.

  29. mc79hockey says:

    Lowe is the problem. He should have listened to the bloggers and signed Mike Johnson.

    Shit, particularly since the Souray and Penner moves that we were screaming for worked out so well.

    What was the Blues record with Mike Johnson dressed again? He got hurt and only played about 25 games or so. Anyone know what their record was? Anyone?

    Also traktor: money spent does not correlate with wins if you spend it foolishly. If you don’t acknowledge that, you’re an idiot. If you think that the Oilers money was spent well…well, figure it out. Funny how MacT was so much smarter when they spent $6.25MM on Pronger instead of on Souray.

  30. Jonathan says:

    What was the Blues record with Mike Johnson dressed again? He got hurt and only played about 25 games or so. Anyone know what their record was? Anyone?

    File this under things that make me laugh:
    STL
    w/ Johnson – 13-6-2
    w/o Johnson – 20-30-11

    I find it very difficult to believe that Johnson was the sole cause of that, but that’s an awesome statistic.

    I kinda think Mike may have been a better option than say, Jacques or Sanderson.

  31. Jonathan says:

    Lowe is the problem. He should have listened to the bloggers and signed Mike Johnson.

    Given that you’re arguing that the coach (MacTavish) is the problem… and Lowe is the guy who hired, extended and had the authority to fire the aforementioned coach… aren’t you already arguing that it’s Lowe’s fault? Isn’t it Lowe’s job to ensure that the coaching staff is competent?

    Personally, I think keeping MacT is one of the better decisions Lowe’s made.

  32. Shawn says:

    Losing is never exceptable damnit!

    I’d be upset at Mac T if I thougth any of these Oilers teams did worse than they should have. For example, if the Oilers of 05-06 missed the playoffs I think he was done.

    Instead, they made it and nearly won the cup.

    The Oilers of 06-07 had huge holes and were in first place until injuries hit and the wheels fell off.

    The Oilers of 07-08 had one of the worst injury records in the league on top of an absurdly young team and nearly made the playoffs.

    The only season of all of those that gives me cause for concern is the 05-06 regular season. That’s the only time I really wondered about Mac T’s ability to coach this team.

    However, next season Lowe, Mac T and the rest of them will have to make the playoffs or the act will get old.

    If they don’t and get fired, I suspect the guys that follow them will look like geniuses.

    That’s how hockey works sometimes.

  33. Shawn says:

    Trak it’s amusing you seem to think that the GM or the Coach is at fault for missing the playoffs. Perhaps it’s not one or the other.

    Expectations in San Jose were not high because of San Jose’s great winning tradition and high expectations. They were high because they have a great roster of talent who had great regular season success for a few years in a row now. They are good enough to do better in the playoffs than they did. That creates expectations.

    Expectations for Edmonton were not low because this is Edmonton and we don’t care about winning or losing. They were low because the Oilers had a very young roster with very little proven talent.

  34. Shawn says:

    Regarding Wilson…

    I think he’s a good coach who has produced results everywhere he’s been. I expected the Sharks to go further in this year’s playoffs, but anything can happen in playoff hockey. The Red Wings were all losers too until they finally win in 1997.

    This Sharks roster that is apparently so talented and should have done better… how many of these guys were proven star players before playing for Ron Wilson? Joe Thornton AND? And he wasn’t even an MVP until he played for Wilson.

    Why do all those young, talented guys seem to make huge strides so quickly at the NHL level? Good drafting, good development and good coaching. Who knows in which order, but those all would have to be factors.

    In the end, I don’t think Doug Wilson gave Ron Wilson enough sand paper. Not enough die for a win, bleed for a win, throw yourself in front of a puck, grind it out warriors on that team. A lot of young skill. Not enough heart.

    However, I can see that a guy who singles out players for criticisms and gets into feud with players (if it’s true he and Marleau wern’t talking) might run out of real estate with teams after a while.

    Sooner or later any message can get old.

    Florida should be all over him. That young talent will thrive under Wilson. He’d have them in the playoffs next year.

  35. Dennis says:

    Shawn: ’06 Oilers had terrible netminding and carrying that around has taken more than a few teams down and especially ones that were depending on kids like the Oilers were in some places: Hemsky-Stoll-Torres-Bergeron.

  36. Shawn says:

    There were absolutely holes in the team. I’ve come around on Mac T. I’m just saying when they were having a hard time getting together at the end of that season I was wondering.

    I really like Mac T as a coach. I think he’s a solid B, B+ at least.

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