With Christmas over, it’s time to attempt to get things back to some semblance of normal here at HockeyDraft.ca. On a personal level, I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas and was able to get something out of the holiday season regardless of what, if anything, is celebrated.
Ron Wilson is someone who was able to get something out of the holiday season, too, with the head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs playfully announcing a contract extension via Twitter.
“‘He came! He came!’ Remember saying that as a little kid? Well he did: I got a new Red Ryder BB gun and a contract extension!” Wilson posted on Sunday.
“This coach has earned this extension,” Leafs GM Brian Burke said. “It’s not charity, it’s not a gift.”
Wilson has helped build the Maple Leafs into a respectable Eastern Conference club again, even though they haven’t made the playoffs in the three years since his arrival. As the Leafs’ bench boss, Wilson has gone 119-120-42 to date.
This season, though, the Leafs are singing a different tune and are well in the playoff hunt with 40 points, trailing the Pittsburgh Penguins by just four. ”It’s pretty impressive, it’s certainly a healthy clip,” Burke said.
Prior to the extension, Wilson was in the last year of a four year contract. There are no real details as to the length of the new deal, but the Leafs should be announcing that soon enough.
“When the coach goes into the cage, he needs the chair and the whip – not just one,” Burke said. “It’s not enough to just be the coach for the rest of the season in my opinion. So I think it’s an important statement. I think there’s a respect level involved and I think it was the right thing to do.”
Wilson, however, isn’t off the hook.
“I’ve seen lots of coaches get fired this year with lots of (contract) term left, so the pressure doesn’t change,” he said after the Leafs practised Monday. “It’s still the same. I could get fired next week for all I know. So I have a little bit of combat pay coming in other words. That’s kind of the way I look at it.”
According to Burke, the deal was actually worked out three to four weeks ago. ”Ron elected to release it (news of the deal) in the last couple of days and that’s fine with me,” the GM said.