May 12, 2008
As you may have heard, the San Jose Sharks have fired their head coach Ron Wilson exactly one year too late. Please recall that Wilson had to pass a 50-question quiz administered by his general manager after last year's playoff defeat in order to tenuously hang on to his job for 2007-08. Please also recall that Wilson asked for, and received, extra time to finish the exam; and that he likely only kept his job because of the automatic points he earned for spelling his name correctly. Finally, please recall that we mention this preposterous methodology for determining a coach's fate whenever the subject of Wilson's employment comes up; because, to paraphrase Beetlejuice's feelings on "The Exorcist," it keeps getting funnier every single time we read it.
Mark Purdy of the Mercury News took his shot at a postmortem on Wilson's 4-and-a-half years in San Jose:
Wilson was not the most popular guy in the Sharks dressing room. Who says coaches are supposed to be? Wilson pointed fingers, named names. Some players thought his ego overwhelmed the team. When the Sharks blew that third period lead to Detroit in Game 4 of 2007, there were reports of him scorching the ears of the offending players, face to face, in front of the entire room before the overtime period.
If his motivational strategies had worked, Wilson would have been applauded. But after four-plus seasons of attempting every possible ploy, what could Wilson have done differently next season to get a different result? I am sure that's what team management was thinking. I can't disagree.
It speaks volumes about the inevitability of Wilson's firing when The Chum Bucket and Puck Politics -- two blogs located clear across the country from each other -- offer the same sort of pithy kiss-off. Cheechew of Battle of California said it was simply time for a different voice in the locker room, and is correct: This collection of chokers and also-rans needs a Pat Burns-ian kick in the rear to see if they respond in the postseason; if they don't, it's time to say "Smile you S.O.B." and blow up the Shark.
Mirtle said earlier this month that Ron Wilson won't be homeless for long, and we agree: His regular season results are enough to entice a franchise that would
trade away Olli Jokinen re-sign Peter Forsberg do just about anything to get back to the playoffs. His tactics are effective, if a tad unorthodox. OK, make that a tad bat-poop jack-crazy. Here's to you, Ron Wilson: The only coach who tried to motivate his baffled team in the Stanley Cup Finals with a parable about Crazy Horse. Hanta yo, baby... even if "Hanta Yo" may actually translate as "Move it, scram."