I just realized that not everyone would be able to watch Ron Wilson's press conference and not every question would make the reports so here's a semi-transcript of the press conference. I'll try to get the gist of both sides of the question.
Click through to read the 11 questions.
Question # 1
Will Mark Bell be able to help the team?
Because of Mark Bell's problems Ron does not really have a good picture of him as a player. He's going to sit down with him and see where he is in his life with regard to all that he has been through. Wilson noted that taking care of the player as a person is the first consideration.
Question # 2
Is there any challenge in switching conferences? People think that there is a big difference.
The West is better and that has a lot to do with the better, bigger defenceman and the better goaltending. Eastern has better travel which allows better quality practices which will help in developing younger players. It is much easier to coach in the Eastern Conference.
Question # 3
There are some great defencemen available but Filatov could have a bigger impact sooner. Any ideas on the direction of the draft?
No, most coaches do not have any input on the drafting. A defenceman can contribute at 18 if he has been coached properly and is surrounded by the right people. He noted that he has had the youngest defence corps in the league in terms of age and games played over the past three years and it's showed that the young D can play if they are handled properly.
Part of that will be trying to control the media's insatiable desire to create heroes and stars. It makes it harder to develop young players in Toronto because of the level of scrutiny although it also has the effect of strengthening players that adapt well. His advice on the draft would be to get warriors and people that want to play in Toronto for the right reason ie to win and that is part of the culture that he wants to instill. He compared it to how players want to play for the Yankees.
Question # 4
Do you feel that you are good at sheltering players?
Oh yeah, that's definitely important and veterans will play a big role in creating the kind of environment needed. Young flowers can't grow if there are weeds in the garden and his job is to clear the garden of weeds.
Question # 5
Are you surprised by how much your arrival has been attached to Brian Burke? What can you say on the record?
Well, it's not really a surprise. We've been friends since Providence College in 1975 so obviously we are friends. Turns out both were pre-med students in their first year. Brian helped Wilson get his first job as an assistant in Milwaukee where he actually lost money. As for the rest of the ridiculous rumours the connections exist for good reason. Also, take note that Burke has never hired Wilson in 15 years. They both have close relationships with Lou and he's never hired him either.
Question # 6
A lot has been made of your relationship with Patrick Marleau. What comments do you have on that?
Pat called him and left him a message on his phone that thanked him for helping him grow as a person and he would play for him anywhere. Pat's worries were that there was carry-over from last year and the thought that he might get traded really affected him. Wilson tossed lots of bouquets Patty's way.
Question # 7 (I think this is Simmons but that doesn't make sense because this is a good question)
You seemd to favour a downlow cycle in SJ. Is that your style or a function of the players you had?
There is no Ron Wilson style of play. I adapt to the players you have. I had a huge forward corps and small defence so a hard forecheck helped protect them. After they picked up Brian Campbell they adjusted their systems and became much more puck possession oriented during their ridiculous 20 game run to end the season.
Question # 8
Given how negative the media could be are you ready for the media?
This brought up the anti-Christ comment. He mentions that a lot of the stories seemed like they came out of a game of Telephone. He joked about how many people's names that he'll have to remember. He'll be available as long as they are upfront and honest with him which likely means that there will be smaller press conferences going forward.
Question # 9
(to Cliff) are you going to get Wilson's input on your veteran players?
Of course. The coach uses the players and has to feel comfortable with them so we'll obviously be talking because it's part of the natural process of things.
Question # 10
Do you remember your first game?
Picked up an assist on a Sittler goal and then scored on a dribbler at 4 on 4.
Question # 11
Is the high-risk/high-reward what appeals to you the most with Toronto?
This is a dream that I never thought would happen. He learned a lot from Roger Nielson and that has developed his Captain Computer approach. He knows that his job is to be patient and to help develop young players. He wants to be knocking on the door in a couple of years based on hard work and defensive tenacity as the calling cards of the team. He noted the amazing defensive system that Detroit used to win the Cup. He noted that if his top players buy into what he's selling then that will go a long way toward getting the entire team to buy in.