Okay, okay, okay - I know it's the easy thing to fire the coach. But hear me out on this more reasoned approach.
Wilson has had the team for two full seasons plus this season so far. They are 29th in penalty kill and 21st in PP. Granted, he wasn't dealt the best cards and he may have had success elsewhere but he is having no success with this team. It's not so bad to get fired - one of the biggest reasons coaches get fired is because they can't get traded. For the same reasons some good players have to go for the sake of team chemistry - so too must the coach.
The players don't play for Wilson any more. You can see it in their faces and the mounting frustration. They used to care when Wilson called them out but now they don't - see Phil Kessel's minor outburst when asked how he felt about getting benched last week. The players are playing the way they want to because they know whatever they do - Wilson will criticize them anyway ( why would he criticize them after the comeback from 4-1 against Boston last week?!! Let them have one celebratory night ! ) so Wilson's ability to motivate and guide these players is lost; the Leafs are a team at sea without a rudder.
It's in situations like this that leaders emerge - we all know Dion Phaneuf is the Captain but can he really LEAD this team? The current void in coaching leadership is an excellent time for Phaneuf to really make these Leafs HIS team. Lets hope that this is the rock bottom and a new chemistry is formed in this current morass.
My analysis of 'blue and white disease' is this: players come here and hit the ice amid massive press coverage heralding them as the next saviour - which forces the player to reach beyond his grasp; try too hard and spin his wheels - Kessel obviously is the best example of this but did the press need to welcome Luca Caputi and Jeff Finger as if Charlie Conacher rose from the grave? The Leafs have always been the team the press makes them to be and the players have never had to deal with reality because Management tries a short term fix. Past management has tried to trade its way out of bad performance but as we all know, this can't happen in the current NHL. All the players are spinning out at the same time now - Phaneuf, Mike Komisarek, Kessel - but as Dave Nonis told them last week - the only answer is in this room.
It won't be easy but a new team will emerge in the coming months, a team coming from the absolute bottom. Count on a trade or two - this season is gone and we will not make the playoffs. But I believe Burke's firm hand will guide them going forward. Forget about the Kessel miscalculation. History is history. Let's move forward.
The Leafs absolutely cannot do any worse with ANY other coach. Get rid of Wilson over the Christmas break and let Acton ride out the season. This will lift a gigantic weight off the team and give them a spark and hope in 2011.
And give the fans hope too.