No one knows the challenges of coaching the Toronto Maple Leafs better than Ron Wilson.
After coaching in the NHL for 19 straight seasons, Wilson hasn’t been behind the bench since 2012 when he was fired by the Maple Leafs after three-plus seasons in Toronto. After that stint in T.O., the newest coach of the United States National junior team is all too familiar with the pressures that come with the gig.
So what advice would Wilson offer new Leafs coach Mike Babcock?
“I’d just tell him what you have to worry about is keeping everything as tight and as close as you can,” Wilson said on Tuesday’s Dean Blundell & Co. on Sportsnet 590 The FAN. “He’s got to make sure the players communicate with the media, that’s the biggest problem they have in Toronto.”
The overload of media attention is just one of the many things Babcock will be facing as he begins his tenure with the Blue and White. Another is dealing with the team’s core of players — most notably captain Dion Phaneuf and top forward Phil Kessel — a group that struggled mightily over the final weeks of 2015-16 regular season.
“I think they’re going to have to make an adjustment to how Mike (Babcock) demands accountability from everybody,” Wilson answered when asked which players will struggle under Babcock. “And I think anybody who’s a little leery of that might struggle.”