Former Leafs coach Wilson takes aim at Kessel — ‘You can’t rely on Phil’

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Former Toronto coach Ron Wilson went on TSN 1050 radio today and, boy, did he have some some stuff to say about the firing of his successor, Randy Carlyle.

Specifically, he took aim at the players.

“I’m gonna have to say you have to change some of the players,” said Wilson. “Eventually they will. I don’t think they will right now, because I don’t think there are a lot of trading partners for a lot of these players. But they’re going to come to that sooner or later.

“These guys, some of the core players, have failed under two or three different coaches, so it’s gotta be the players’ fault.”

On winger Phil Kessel, a player with whom he did not enjoy the closest relationship, Wilson relayed a mixed opinion.

“I think you can win with Phil Kessel,” he said. “He shows obvious signs of brilliance throughout the year. But Phil’s problem, and I think it’s pretty much the way Phil’s been his whole career, he’s two weeks on and two weeks off. … You can’t rely on Phil. It’s just the way it is.

“He comes and goes, and he gets emotional, and he lets that affect his game and his relationship with other players. But that’s just the nature of the beast. That’s what you have to coach. You have to know that Phil’s gonna give you everything he’s got for two or three weeks, and then for the next two or three weeks, everything seems to go wrong for Phil. That’s just the way it is.”

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