Most of Friday’s local papers are carrying a feature story about Wilson’s visit to the Leafs’ prospects camp yesterday. They cover a range of subjects including finalizing his move to Toronto, his thoughts about the prospects he saw (and Luke Schenn’s chance of making the Leafs’ roster out of camp), as well as a bit of insight into his coaching philosophy and a few of his coaching plans for the upcoming season.
The stories contained a nice collection of interesting or informative quotes. Here’s a sampling, assembled from three different pieces (links to them are provided below).
Talking about himself, he had this to say:
“I’m in the middle of everything. I found a place to live yesterday, I sold my house in San Jose, and I’ve got a wedding in two weeks with my eldest daughter, so I’m juggling. Everything’s up in the air.
“I’m no different than anybody else — I just happen to have this job. That’s the way I look at it. I will take the subway — [my wife and I] were on the subway last night. Yeah, some people were surprised. [But] I’m not above riding the subway or riding on a bus, I don’t care. As long as people don’t hit me.
“I’ll wear disguises — like I’ll wear a Red Wings jacket, or a Sharks hat. I don’t throw out any of that stuff. I’ll wear a Capitals shirt. I’ll be incognito. I’ll have fun with it.
“Aw, I’m fine with being recognized. I think it’s going to be fun being here.”
“[When it comes to looking for a house or condo] I’m the poster boy for location, location, location. When you go in you might like some place, but in coaching you’ve got to have an exit strategy, because it could be anywhere from one to five years, two-and-a-half years on the average. So whatever you buy, you’ve got to make sure that you’re in a place that you can sell. You might give up something, but you look at the big picture so you can sell your place when you hit the road.”
He briefly spoke with the young defence prospects at camp yesterday:
“I talked to the defensemen, about things I see and tips about how I coach and how it may be different from what they’ve seen in the past.
“A player has to be more mature than his age, moreso in Toronto. I was lucky in San Jose with Marc-Edouard Vlasic (who played a full season on defence as a 19-year-old). The player has to be mature in his age group to survive. If a player is ready, his age doesn’t matter.
Regarding his plans for the Leafs and the upcoming season:
“Don’t compare the Leafs to an expansion team. There are good pieces in place, we just have to put in some structure I’ve not seen them all on the ice, but I’ll be open-minded and I hope the players will be open-minded, too. They will learn to understand my coaching (concepts); good defence and strong on both sides of the puck.
“The best teams in the league are totally committed to their play with and without the puck. You look at Detroit, yes, but you can look at New Jersey and San Jose as well and that’s the kind of thing we want to create here. I’m going to be very demanding. I believe in attention to detail, and that’s what the first couple weeks of the season is going to be about. Trying to cross every ‘t’ and dot every ‘i’, because a lost detail is a lost game.
“You have to do these things or you don’t play, and there are going to be no exceptions. If you’re a veteran who’s had great numbers but playing on a losing team, and you don’t want to buy into the little things that we’re talking about — how to play in your own end, competing, playing for the team and not for yourself — you’re not going to find yourself getting much ice time. But I don’t think we’re going to have a problem with anybody.
“All the moves that [general manager] Cliff [Fletcher]’s making, is to make our team a little bit more stable, a little bit more trustworthy from a coaching standpoint.
For more quotes and further information on what the new Maple Leafs coach is up to, check out:
- Toronto Sun: Good pieces in place
- National Post: Changing Leafs’ on-ice culture will be tough for Wilson
- Toronto Star: Travelling Wilson takes a quick look