Whether it was an easy decision or not, Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke pulled the trigger tonight and fired his friend and head coach, Ron Wilson.
“This was not an easy decision for me to make,” Burke said in a statement. “I want to thank Ron for all of his hard work and dedication to our organization over the past four seasons.”
The move comes with Toronto mired in a miserable 1-9-1 stretch, sitting 11th in the Eastern Conference with 65 points. Wilson’s final game will end up being a 5-4 loss in Chicago on Thursday, a game in which the Leafs blew a 3-1 lead, allowing the Blackhawks to score three goals in a 13-minute span.
With the firing, we can now write Wilson’s tombstone as Maple Leafs head coach: June 10, 2008 – March 2, 2012. He compiled a 130-135-45 in almost four full seasons with the Buds.
Jonas Siegel of TSN 1050 Toronto points out this is only the second coach Burke’s during a season, with “Iron” Mike Keenan (in Vancouver, 1997-98) being the other.
— If there’s a silver lining for Wilson, it’s financial stability as the Leafs handed him a contract extension around the holiday season. Wilson infamously tweeted the news on Christmas Day.
— Wilson becomes the eighth coach fired this season, joining Randy Carlyle, Bruce Boudreau, Jacques Martin, Paul Maurice, Terry Murray, Davis Payne and Scott Arniel.
— Toronto also announced that assistant Coach Rob Zettler has been “reassigned to other duties in the organization.”
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It makes sense that a swift bit of history happened in a game in which three goals were scored scored on three shots in about three minutes.
Brad Marchand found the net eight seconds in after an icing call, setting a new record for the Boston Bruins.
(You can see that goal in the video above.)
Watch that three-goal burst in this video:
The two teams weren’t done then. Loui Eriksson made it 3-1 while Pavel Datsyuk scored his 900th point to make it 3-2.
Maybe the best moment wasn’t a goal: Torey Krug was seemingly hurt by a Pavel Datsyuk hit, yet he returned without missing much time.
When the New Jersey Devils shut down a team 1-0, it’s usually with Cory Schneider in net.
Their workhorse got the afternoon off against the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday, yet Keith Kinkaid did his Schneider impression, grabbing his first NHL shutout in the process.
It was a low-event game with just 46 combined shots on goal, but Kinkaid had to work, stopping all 28 shots. To give you an idea of how tight this game was, the only tally was credited to David Schlemko on the power play.
This gives the Devils three straight wins. They managed to climb into third place in the Metropolitan Division, although New Jersey’s edge is a little misleading; the Islanders trail them by one standings point while holding three games in hand.
That leaves the Islanders in the bottom wild card spot, while the Penguins aren’t so far behind either.
Third in Metro: Devils – 65 points with 57 games played
Second wildcard: Islanders – 64 points, 54 GP
First spot outside the East playoffs: Penguins – 63 points, 54 GP
So, the Devils’ hold of a playoff spot is a bit tenuous, yet the bottom line is that they’re staying in the mix.
The Kings, meanwhile, remain comfortably in first in the Pacific.
The Boston Bruins (without Patrice Bergeron) take on the Detroit Red Wings (missing Jonathan Ericsson) on Sunday afternoon.
It’s a matchup between the second-ranked and third-ranked teams in the Atlantic Division, with little separating the two in the standings.
You can watch the game on NBC and also stream it online via the link below.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
As cool as it was at the time for many, Patrice Bergeron‘s fight against Blake Wheeler is … honestly, a good reminder why players like Bergeron rarely drop the gloves.
Multiple outlets including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty report that Bergeron will miss Sunday afternoon’s game against the Detroit Red Wings (which you can watch on NBC).
We don’t know a ton about the injury aside from the fact that the multiple Selke-winner is considered day-to-day.
People don’t seem overly concerned about this issue, but you have to wonder if Bergeron made a bad choice, especially considering his history of concussion issues.
You can watch the bout that may or may not have left him injured in the video above.