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Will Brian Burke Fire Ron Wilson after Public Outcry?

Ron Wilson is one of those NHL coaches that immediately upon hearing his name, one thinks of his long list of credentials. Tuesday night marked his 1400th game as an NHL coach; and he’s up there with having the most wins under his belt as a coach. His skill is there, and has proven itself time and time again. The question is not whether or not the man can coach; it’s whether or not he can coach the current Toronto Maple Leafs.

On this past milestone Tuesday evening, it wasn’t just a big career-mark for Wilson, it was also a must-win game for the Leafs. Facing the Florida Panthers, the Leafs were chasing them for a playoff spot, and coming right off making a few trades the day before, it was time for Toronto to show the world that they were there to fight. And for Wilson to show that he could pull his team together.

It all ended just 13 seconds after face-off. After an embarrassing defensive play, the Panthers took the lead 1-0, and it went downhill from there. It wasn’t long after that the fans started chanting “FI-RE WIL-SON” from the stands. This too is nothing new; albeit a bit disappointing for Wilson. But fans and the media have been talking about firing Wilson for some time. The question is whether or not Brian Burke will actually do it.

Burke and Wilson have a long-standing history. And maybe even more than that, they have a long-standing friendship. With these two, it goes way back to the days they shared a college dorm room together, and played together for the Providence College Friars hockey team. Burke did not hire Wilson to coach for the Leafs, but known for his loyalty, Wilson hasn’t gone anywhere since Burke’s come onto the team. Despite what fans and experts have said.

Burke has said that he’s not going to allow personal feelings to get in the way of business decisions; and in the end, he’ll probably do the right thing. Ron Wilson is a great coach, there’s no denying that. But his team is no longer listening to him, and he’s simply no longer effective in this organization. And let’s not forget that he’s in the biggest hockey town in the biggest hockey country in the world — a place where public outcry accounts for a lot.

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