Maple Leafs head coach Ron Wilson said a supposed feud he is having with bombastic TV broadcaster Don Cherry is strictly a one-way affair.
"I don't even listen (to Cherry)," Wilson said. "It's irrelevant. It has no affect on what I do as a coach. Honest to God, I don't listen to it."
On his popular Coaches Corner segment on CBC, Cherry has hammered Wilson for a number of things, including times when Wilson has criticized and called out his own players and when he said last week that the Leafs weren't a very talented team. Cherry, a self-proclaimed "players coach" doesn't believe in calling out players publicly. Cherry's taken to calling Wilson Napoleon, after the former French emperor.
"Napoleon?" Wilson said. "Well, whatever Don Cherry wants to say -- I'll compare my record with Don Cherry. He can call me whatever he wants.
"I've got a job to do and whatever people think of the job I'm doing, has no impact on what I have to do," Wilson added. "I keep counsel with my bosses and they're pleased with what we're doing. I don't have to worry about what anybody else who's not in the actual cauldron and doesn't know what's really going on."
The Leafs could get defenceman Mike Van Ryn back for games this week either against Carolina (tonight) or Boston (on Wednesday), depending on how he makes out with his scheduled base line test today. Van Ryn has missed the past 14 games after suffering his second concussion of the season on Dec. 18 in Boston. It's unlikely however that fellow defenceman Jeff Finger, who suffered an undisclosed upper body injury on Jan. 8, will be back before this weekend's all-star break, although, like Van Ryn, he is practising regularly with the team.
Jeremy Williams, out since Dec. 30, also practised, but will not play tonight.
Wilson admitted yesterday that there may be something to the theory that his team -- which has blown two big leads in their last two games, although they came back to defeat Carolina in one of them -- has become a little worn out, and that's why he is thankful for this weekend's all-star break.
"Yeah, there could be some of that. But it's an indication of where we have to get to on a fitness level," Wilson said. "We're half way through the season and we're kind of pooping out -- if that's what people want to claim. I don't know. Because of some injury situations we've had to overuse some of our defencemen and they've made some mental mistakes. But that will change when we get (hurt players) back."