Is Ron Wilson Serious?

Ok, Garnet Exelby has joined Jamal Mayers in expressing his desire to be moved out of Toronto. This really doesn’t come as a big surprise considering neither player has really had much playing time this season.

The Maple Leafs are deep in defencemen making more money then Exelby, with $21.925 million tied up in Mike Komisarek ($4.5 mil), Tomas Kaberle ($4.25 mil), Francois Beauchemin ($3.8 mil), Jeff Finger ($3.5 mil), Luke Schenn ($2.975 mil), and Mike Van Ryn ($2.9 mil) all against the salary cap. This pretty much put Exelby in the press box. The consistently good play of Ian White at $850 000 didn’t help Exelby’s chances either.

All that said, the really amazing part was how Ron Wilson was doing his thing with the media again. He more or less blames all of the problems in Leaf-land on the media, in one way or another, and chalked all the hype to “negative reporting” on our part… What? Should we not cover this situation? Do Leaf fans not want to hear about potential movement of players on a team that desperately needs change? Like it or not Ron, you coach in Toronto and people care about what’s going on with the Leafs. It’s not the media’s fault that there really isn’t anything “positive” to talk about. Instead of worrying about what the media is saying you should be worried about how long until it’s all been said, and no one is saying anything anymore.

 The opposite of love isn’t hate, Mr. Wilson, it’s apathy.

Exelby was speaking candidly about his time in Toronto, and was really pretty politically correct in stating his wishes, as was Mayers…

“”It’s funny how things change and never quite work out the way you hope they might,” said Exelby on Wednesday. “I understand we have a team that’s deep in defencemen and it’s tough for me to get in the lineup and stay in the lineup. It’s been that way all year.”

A seldom-used defenceman who was acquired in an off-season deal that saw Pavel Kubina sent to the Atlanta Thrashers, Exelby added that he just wants a chance to play somewhere and doesn’t feel that will happen in Toronto.

“If there’s not much use for me here then I’ll be happy to go somewhere if it helps the team and do something that’s right for the organization,” he said.

Much like Exelby, Mayers says he is not pleased with his lack of playing time and thinks his rambunctious style could be put to better use on another team. But he vows his unhappiness will not manifest itself in a lack of effort on the ice with the blue and white.

“The reality is that I am a Leaf and I’m going to continue to work hard. That won’t change and hopefully people notice that,” said Mayers, who was acquired from the St. Louis Blues in 2008 for a third round pick.”” (Source: TSN)

As far as Exelby and Mayers are concerned, Wilson said that their numbers speak for themselves. It’s true, their numbers were weak. I was of the impression they were acquired to add toughness but I’ll entertain Wilson’s spin of the situation.

If it is fair to measure the players performance’s based on their numbers then the same rule should apply to evaluate Mr. Wilson himself. His numbers in Toronto are less then impressive to say the least. In 136 games coached in the last season and a half in Toronto, Wilsons record is 51 wins against 85 losses (including OT losses). This season their penelty kill is ranked 30th at 69.4% under Wison’s direction, a team system widely viewed as a coachable skill. The powerplay is clicking along at 16.5%, good for 25th overall.

How can that be spun to blame the media? Then again, maybe I’m just being negative.