TORONTO -- Imagine, a Jekyll and Hyde team covered by a "bipolar" media.
At least that's the way Leafs coach Ron Wilson sees it.
Wilson talked about how he believes his young club is neither the cream of the NHL crop, despite a great performance against the Red Wings on Thursday, nor are they dogs, as they appeared against the Canadiens Saturday.
"I've seen the good and the bad," Wilson said. "So, somewhere in between probably lies our team. We have to find a middle ground."
Wilson's priority with the Leafs is to get them to buy into his defensive and forechecking system and to put forth a consistent effort.
Another duty of his, it seems, is to protect his players from getting too high after big wins or too low after losses.
DOESN'T GET 'HYSTERIA'
One way to do that -- if his post-practice rant yesterday is any indication -- is to encourage them not to read the newspapers.
"I've already seen how everybody gets euphoric when you win a game and how everybody wants to blow up the world when you lose a game, and I don't understand that kind of hysteria. And a lot of it comes, believe it or not, from the media -- in the sense of a bipolar approach to reporting, instead of a nice and even approach to everything," Wilson said.
Wilson, like pretty well every other professional coach, insisted that he doesn't read the newspapers, but gets a sense of the media "hysteria" by the way the questions are put to him -- and it's something he doesn't love, nor does he want his players to get caught up in it.
"I can't tell you guys what to ask, or anything like that. I don't know how I'm supposed to do that here, except just don't read crap that's printed in the paper."
"Please," he said, interrupting a question. "All of your questions are related to the media and their importance. Ask me about the hockey team, not about how you guys report the action. That seems to be a question all the time -- 'how are we handling the media?' It's irrelevant."