The stage for Toronto head coach Ron Wilson was Buffalo, and he was being grilled yesterday on the morning of his team’s game against the Sabres about the precarious position long-time Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff is in right now.
What Wilson said in response applied not only to Buffalo’s situation, but also could be related to the Bruins or any other team in pro sports, or even politics or life.
“They’re [the Sabres] just going through a rough time right now. You go through a rough time in your life. That’s half the problem with our society – you’re married to your wife and you have a rough spot and it’s, ‘oh, that’s it, I’m getting a new wife,’” Wilson was quoted in the National Post.
“And you see that every damn day in our society. We just get rid of things. One thing you don’t generally do is get rid of your kids. And, you know, I don’t think … not many people go, ‘that’s it, I’ll trade my kids for a new set of kids.’ But it’s the same thing.
“You’re going to have rocky times. You stick in there. You battle through it. Don’t take the easy way out. You’ll be better off for it in the long run.”
While they’d probably do it in less gruff terms, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli and head coach Claude Julien would probably say something similar when talking about their team and players. So far, that’s the sort of philosophy that has worked. Tim Thomas struggled with his play and health last year, but the Bruins decided change wasn’t better than the status quo just because it’s change. They were rewarded with one of the best starts by an NHL goaltender ever.
The Bruins have benefited from similar decisions with Michael Ryder and even Matt Hunwick. If the Bruins had overreacted to their opening-night loss to Phoenix, Hunwick would be playing elsewhere.
Even as it relates to Julien, Chiarelli’s approach has been to subscribe to the theory Wilson expressed. The Bruins have gone through some “rough times” under Julien, including last year’s playoff flame-out. But Chiarelli has stuck with Julien — knowing that the coach didn’t go from Jack Adams winner to no-nothing loser in one year — and now, with a healthier, deeper team, Julien looks like a master coach again with the Bruins off to a hot start.
It’s arguable if Wilson ranks among the upper half of coaches in the NHL. In the aftermath of his diatribe Saturday, however, there’s no doubt he’s one of the league’s better philosophers.