When the Catholic Church elects, or is divinely inspired to select, a new Pope the announcement is accompanied by a couple of signals. After each vote the secret ballots are burned in a fireplace and, after a successful vote, a chemical is added to make the smoke come out white rather than black. Obviously, this led to CNN prematurely predicting that a Pope had been elected because the smoke 'kind of looked white right?'. The other thing that happens is that the oldest cardinal in the college of cardinals proclaims the Habemus Papam.
If Brian Burke was being sincere about the Toronto being the Vatican then we might not have our Pope yet but it looks like we have a coach (cogo is apparently Latin for coach). Word is that Ron will be announced as the 27th coach on Tuesday and will sign a deal that proves that Howard Berger and Nick Kypreos are liars. Pure, unadulterated liars. Or idiots that don't fact check phone calls from a 'relative'. Kevin McGran is treating this as official so I guess I will too. Actually, I have been which is why you can read some conversations with San Jose bloggers to get an idea of how Ron Wilson will fit in with the Leafs:
- Mike Chen from the Battle of California and FOXSports took part in the first installment.
- Jason Plank from We Bleed Teal came in to do the sequel.
- and SBN's own Diecast Dude from Fear The Fin wrapped up the trilogy.
Steve finds it amusing that what has been billed as a dramatic and wrought out process was actually pretty straightforward. Once Burke makes his way over to TO there will be a lot of sportswriters with a lot of egg on their face. Wyshynski! and myself and seemingly everyone else agrees on two things: Ron Wilson makes young players better and eventually everyone hates him. The latter is a problem for 3-4 years down the line but the former is an exciting prospect.
As much as fans would like to suggest otherwise the Leafs do indeed have a good core of young players. Tlusty, Kulemin, Steen, and Antropov are potential top 6 forwards. Poni and Stajan tease and flatter to deceive but could help round out a strong top 9. Having those home-grown forwards gives the Leafs flexibility in terms of bringing in a top forward.
On the back end the Leafs seem to have strength in depth. If Colaiacovo ever survives a season he in a top pairing defenceman. Kaberle and Kubina (the late season vintage) can hold down the fort for the next while. McCabe can be a decent defenceman when he remembers to hit opponents. Kronwall and Harrison are free agents but keeping them in the fold gives the Leafs a solid back end. Heck, even White is a decent 6/7 defenceman and maybe Wilson can teach him to stop making panicky backhand clearances in his own end.
In net is where Wilson's teaching could be most vital as Toskala has already shown that he is the end product that will help bridge the gap to the Pogge Era. None of that includes the # 7 pick in this year's draft. If Wilson's famed ability to mould young talent comes to fruition in Toronto then the future might take on a tinge of brightness. For the time being it's just a case of watching and hoping.
Quick links while you wait for the announcement: