Coming off the Toronto Maple Leafs’ embarrassing 5-0 loss to the Edmonton Oilers – and considering the widespread hand wringing that ensued – it seemed like a good time to ask if Brian Burke and/or Ron Wilson should get canned on Friday.
Similarly enough, tonight seems like a solid one to publish the results. After all, Burke and Wilson’s Leafs are currently playing the Boston Bruins (the game is tied 1-1 after the first period as of this writing), one of the teams associated with Burke’s biggest moves.
(In case you need a refresher, Burke gambled big on a trade with Boston for Phil Kessel in a deal that included highly valuable draft picks, most notably one that gave them the chance to select Tyler Seguin.)
Honestly, this seems like a situation in which a volatile, please-the-masses firing would do more harm than good. Aside from the expiring contract of fledgling backup J.S. Giguere, Burke locked the Leafs into Kessel and Dion Phaneuf being their big money guys. Cleaning house would be a difficult thing right now and would simply hit the “Reset” button on a rebuilding process that’s gone on since (at least) the lockout.
Now, don’t get me wrong; that’s not my way of saying that either Burke or Wilson is excelling at their jobs. It just seems like they Leafs would be better off sticking with an ugly marriage rather than dealing with a crippling divorce.
Enough of my thoughts, though, let’s take a look at who PHT readers would fire if they were in charge.
As you can see from the poll, an overwhelming majority (46.2 percent or 73 of 158 votes) believe that both Burke and Wilson should be fired. The next largest group of readers wanted Wilson to go (42 votes or 26.58 percent) while almost as many readers voted for neither (36 votes or 22.78 percent). A remarkably scant amount of voters thought that Burke should be the only one to go (7 votes or 4.43 percent), although then again, it is difficult to imagine Burke going and Wilson staying.
Again, contextually, I think it’s a bad time for a house cleaning with the ownership situation in the air and very little flexibility to make big moves before next summer. If it were based on job performance alone, though, it would be pretty hard to argue that either Burke or Wilson deserve to keep their jobs.
(At least in a league in which firings are extremely commonplace outside of Buffalo and Nashville.)