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.”
Want more on Wilson, Burke and the Leafs?