It probably does and has probably left you wondering who it was taking on the Toronto coach. Was it Joe Thornton? Maybe Evgeni Nabokov or Olaf Kolzig? Well, the answer is none of the above. The former player who laid into Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Ron Wilson on TSN's Off the Record this week was Jim Thomson.
If you just said 'who?' you're not alone.
Jim Thomson was originally a ninth round pick of the Washington Capitals in 1984. For 12 years, Thomson carved out a nice career for himself as an enforcer in both the AHL and NHL. He played a total of 115 NHL games for six NHL teams, compiling four goals and over 400 penalty minutes. The funny thing is that Thomson only spent one year under Wilson's wing. Not only that, Thomson was injured for most of said year.
In 1993-94 the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim skated in the NHL for the first time. Their coach? Ron Wilson. Their journeyman enforcer who would retire after playing only six -- yes, six -- games? None other than Jim Thomson.
Somehow, TSN decided that the opinion of someone with six games of experience under Wilson more than 15 years ago was worthy to be filed under "headlines" on their website Saturday night. Clearly, if there is anyone who knows Wilson it's not any of the Sharks players he coached there for five seasons nor any of the Capitals he led for the same number of years. But I digress. Let's humor Thomson and TSN by taking a look at the damning quotes.
Or maybe it's just tough to manage an expansion team made up of rookies and throw away veterans led in scoring by the likes of Terry Yake and Bob Corkum. I'm going to go with the latter."Ron Wilson is not a good coach," Thomson told OTR. "Where it breaks down is he can't motivate players, he doesn't know what to do with players when there's controversy and they are losing."
Thomson may have more of a point here. Tverdovsky was a former second overall pick who never quite panned out. But he lasted only a season and a half in Anaheim before being shipped off to Winnipeg for Teemu Selanne (that worked out well for Anaheim, I think). It's hard to blame a 10-year NHL career that fell short of second overall expectations thanks to the guy who coached about 1/8th of said career. Of course, I wasn't there so I can't dispute that Wilson had no influence on Tverdovsky."When he calls out Luke Schenn three games into the season, a young player who's their future, and starts beating the hell out of him. ... You don't call a player out in the media, you go behind closed doors," Thomson stated. "I watched him do it to Oleg Tverdovsky in Anaheim, and he ruined the kid's career."
Either way, I'm glad that TSN brought this to our attention. I really thought Wilson was a great coach -- after all he has a winning record, has been to the Finals and has stuck in most places he's been -- but now, I know better.