December 1, 2011
Burke: Wilson isn't going anywhere
By MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency
Randy Carlyle barely had the opportunity to hit the unemployment line when rumours of his imminent arrival to the Maple Leafs engulfed the city of Toronto.
But before many Torontonians had the chance to sip their first cup of steaming morning java, Leafs president Brian Burke attempted to put an end to all the out-of-control Carlyle-to-Hogtown speculation.
“Sad to hear about Randy Carlyle,” Burke tweeted on Thursday morning. “But our coach isn’t going anywhere!”
That’s good news for Ron Wilson, notsomuch for his detractors who wanted him gone after last season already.
There was no shortage of observers connecting the dots for a potential Burke-Carlyle reunion when the Ducks fired their long-time coach after, of all things, a victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the story out of Orange County was that Carlyle’s replacement is Bruce Boudreau, who had been axed by the Washington Capitals just two days earlier.
Yes, Carlyle and Burke did win a Stanley Cup together in 2007, making the connection between the two an obvious one.
And, yes, Carlyle should be a relatively hot commodity on the NHL’s open coaching market.
But there are several factors that come into play here.
First off, while Wilson’s contract is up at the end of the season, the Leafs are off to their best two-month start in recent memory. Whether you want him gone or not by next summer, turfing him now while the team is actually practising what he is preaching, well, it makes no sense.
Secondly, if the Leafs did eventually have a coaching vacancy, does the Marlies’ Dallas Eakins, considered one of the top up-and-coming candidates for an NHL job, not warrant consideration?
Finally, with volatile coaching situations still going on in places like Columbus, who’s to say Carlyle won’t end up coaching somewhere else by season’s end?
Given how Boudreau’s quick hiring in Anaheim caught much of the hockey world off guard, nothing in the NHL can be considered a surprise any more. To that end, maybe Randy Carlyle will be behind the bench of the Maple Leafs one day.
But not now. Not yet.
At least that’s the impression you get from Brian Burke.