Ron Wilson’s only friend these days might be the schedule.
With his Maple Leafs (0-5-1) already looking at 29 teams ahead of them, many with fewer games played, the last thing he should have to do is push this clunker back on the busy NHL highway, to be run off the road again.
After deciding the players needed a day off Wednesday to let their ears stop burning from another round of booing by their irate fan base, Wilson has two days to do a little Holmes on Homes renovation, followed by an ACC date against the New York Rangers, then another week off before five road games.
“We’re not helping ourselves by playing poorly at home,” Wilson said after the Leafs’ 4-1 loss to Colorado on Tuesday. “We’re not giving the fans any reason to cheer us. My job the next couple of days is do my best to get these guys to relax and play to the best of their abilities.”
But that’s something Wilson should have been well on the way to establishing by now, not going back to the drawing board.
The Leafs keep falling two or more goals behind early and snuffing their own rallies with bad penalties or soft goals. Case in point was Tuesday when Francois Beauchemin’s power-play goal made it a 2-1 game.
“We had some momentum, but then took a (bad Mike Komisarek) penalty,” Wilson lamented. “Stuff like that keeps happening to us that we have to eliminate. We can’t use the (goal) momentum the wrong way to get all fired up, flex our muscles. Next thing you know, we take a penalty and it ends up in our net.”
Wilson said Komisarek acknowledged the elbow he threw at Darcy Tucker was bad timing, not the first time he’s gone overboard. “There’s only one type of good penalty, the one that prevents the other team from scoring,” Komisarek said. “Those are the types of things we have to learn from.
“If you’re not getting the bounces, you simplify your game, take baby steps, start working together. There are a few of us, especially myself, trying a bit too hard to make our presence felt, instead of simpliflying.”