My main man Barack Obama is officially the Democratic presidential nominee. Finally. His meteoric rise from the Illinois Senate to hopefully the White House has been historic and nothing short of remarkable. He ran his campaign with a message of hope and change, and it's time to apply that message to our beloved Toronto Maple Leafs.
On an aside, screw you Hillary Clinton. Her speech last night was one of many examples why many can no longer stand the Clintons. She had the perfect opportunity to begin healing the deeply divided Democratic party, and she didn't take it. Instead, she continued to act as if the nomination was still in sight, completely ignoring reality. What an ego. It's difficult to imagine just how large the Clinton ego truly is. She lost but was unable to admit defeat. It was shameful. I don't think I've ever called a woman a douchebag before but, well, there's a first time for everything. What a douchebag.
So, you're probably wondering what the hell Barack Obama has to do with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Let me tell you. I believe in hope. And I believe in change. Hell, I even donated a cool $5 to the Obama campaign. While I won't be donating any money to the obese coffers of the Maple Leafs, I do believe that although things are George-W.-Bush-bleak around here, we must have the audacity of hope, just like Barack Obama. It is these times of struggle and failure that we will look back upon most fondly when we are, eventually, on top of the hockey world.
As has been widely reported, Ron Wilson is likely to become the next coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Ladies and gentlemen, Wilson represents change. I can't say I know much about the man but I do know that he comes to Toronto with a winning record in almost 1100 games coached in the NHL. His playoff record, while not sparkling, is one game under .500. Wilson got a lot out of some average Washington Capitals teams in the late 90s and his San Jose Sharks teams during his tenure in the Bay Area were always a force to be reckoned with.
In stark contrast to the recently canned Paul Maurice, Wilson comes to Toronto with the reputation of a hard-ass. He's not the friendliest coach to play for. He pushes his players' buttons and demands accountability. I must say, he is exactly the type of coach the Maple Leafs need - the anti-Maurice. While I was hoping for Pat Burns, I can't say I'm disappointed with Wilson. You probably knew I'd support whomever the Leafs hired. That is, after all, what this blog is all about (unequivocal support of the home team). But I'm optimistic because Wilson's style and hiring represents change, and the hope that things are finally going to get better around here.
The hireage of a reputable head coach like Wilson, arguably one of the more accomplished coaches on the market, is also a sign to soon-to-be free agent Mats Sundin that shit is actually getting done upstairs. It can only help in convincing him to stay in the blue and white.
The potential Wilson signing - we're not going to know for sure until the weekend, apparently - has me convinced that Brian Burke is not far behind. This is all just a little too convenient, you see. Burke and Wilson go way back. They were room partners during their college days and Burke is the godfather of one of Wilson's children. They're tight. Cliff Fletcher, the mastermind, is setting the table for Burke's arrival.
Think about it, who's the only other high-profile candidate the Leafs have interviewed for their vacant general manager position? Dave Nonis. Another one of Brian Burke's homeboys.
In another interesting twist, Burke's wife won't be returning to her job as host of a television program in Vancouver. Perhaps she's getting ready to pack her bags for Toronto?
I have a feeling it's all going to go down once the Detroit Red Wings win the Stanley Cup. Wilson signs, Burke gets released out of his contract with the Ducks, and the Toronto Maple Leafs have a brand-spanking new GM and head coach. I don't for a second believe that Wilson has gone home to mull over the contract presented to him. It's done, he is the next coach of the Maple Leafs. I'm thinking the Leafs are hoping the Wings win it all tonight, and they can then arrange one super-duper press conference next week to announce the hiring of both Burke and Wilson. And maybe Nonis too.
Ron Wilson and Brian Burke: Change We Can Believe In.