Monday, June 20, 2011
Maple Leafs name new assistants
ESPN.com news services
Former New York Islanders coach Scott Gordon and Northeastern University bench boss Greg Cronin were added to the Toronto Maple Leafs' staff, the team announced Monday.
Both will serve as assistants to head coach Ron Wilson, replacing Keith Acton and Tim Hunter.
"I do think we need a change," Leafs GM Brian Burke said in a press conference Monday. "Ron is a loyal guy. It didn't come easy to him to make those changes with people who were his friends and colleagues."
The Maple Leafs finished 10th overall this past season, eight points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The finish led some critics to question whether Wilson would return for another season behind the Leafs' bench, but Burke reiterated Monday that Wilson deserved a chance to coach the Leafs in the fall. Having said that, the GM has yet to give Wilson a contract extension.
"I don't think anyone can question my loyalty to Ron," Burke said. "Last fall when we had a tough start, people clamored for a change and I didn't make one, but I don't believe that extends to an extension. I told him if we had a good start [to the 2011-12 season] that would be something we would address very early on."
Gordon and Cronin, both 48, each have ties to Burke and Wilson through Team USA. Gordon was an assistant to Wilson and Burke on the 2010 U.S. Olympic team, which took home a silver medal in Vancouver. Cronin was an assistant coach for the 1997 and 2011 U.S. world championship teams.