January 30, 2011
Wilson is Mr. UnpopularLeafs coach snubbed by players
By LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency
TORONTO - Our guess is that Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke wonít be bringing up a new Hockey Night In Canada/NHLPA poll when talking to potential Leafs later this year.
A survey of 318 players conducted by the hockey show and the union listed Torontoís Ron Wilson as the coach they would least like to play for. Toronto as a destination to play full time ranked fourth last in the same poll, released Sunday during all-star game facilities.
The increasingly caustic Wilson, whose team is verging on missing the playoffs a third straight season was the 24% leader.
The next closest was fiery John Tortorella of the New York Rangers at 15%, just edging Marc Crawford of Dallas. It should be noted that Wilson is also seventh in career NHL wins and that the survey included idle coaches such as Mike Keenan (9%) whose tough reputation lingers almost two years after his last employment.
Dan Bylsma of Pittsburgh was the playersí favourite potential coach at 21%, ahead of Mike Babcock of Detroitís 18% support.
The dysfunctional Islanders led the way as the NHLís most unappealing address with 27% of the votes, followed by Edmonton (20%), Atlanta (7%) and Toronto at 5%, just ahead of Florida. The Leafs did not appear among the leading clubs considered desirable destinations, which was topped by three Western Conference contenders, Detroit, Vancouver and Chicago with the Rangers and Tampa Bay next.
But players were supportive of a second team in Toronto, naming it the third-most wanted new locale for the rank and file after old favourites Quebec City (53%) and Winnipeg (25%).