Ex-Maple Leafs coach Wilson rips into Kessel

Hockey Central at Noon’s Doug MacLean tells us why thinks the Maple Leafs deep-rooted problems go far beyond coaching.

Ron Wilson insists Randy Carlyle wasn’t the problem with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Appearing in a radio interview with TSN, the ex-Leafs coach says the team’s issues are a direct reflection of its core players.

“Some of these core players have failed under two of three coaches,” Wilson said Tuesday. “ You would have to surmise that some of them are uncoachable now.”

Wilson ripped the Leafs for a lack of commitment to defence and said the inconsistency from the players is what caused Carlyle to lose his job.

One of the players that Wilson said was difficult to coach was top scorer Phil Kessel.

“Phil’s problem, and I think it’s pretty much how Phil’s been his whole career, is that he is two weeks on and two weeks off,” Wilson said.

Wilson added that Kessel’s erratic play causes him to become emotional, which makes it difficult for a coach to get his message across.

“You can’t rely on (Phil). That’s just the way he is. It affects his game and his relationship with players,” he explained.

Wilson said he never seriously considered benching Kessel, and added that it would take a coach with “pretty big balls” to do so. According to Wilson, the fear among coaches would be dealing with management in the event the team lost a game because Kessel was on the bench.

In the short term, Wilson says the coaching change will get the players’ attention but they will eventually revert back.

“You can never change a leopard’s spots,” he said.

Wilson coached the Leafs from 2008-2012, posting a record of 130-135-45 with no playoff appearances.

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