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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Leafs Fire Burke – It was a “Wonderful Day for an Exorcism!”

On Wednesday, January 9th, it was a “WONDERFUL DAY FOR AN EXORCISM” in Toronto, and an exorcism indeed took place as the Leafs finally fired President and GM Brian Burke! Unfortunately, however, the Leafs ownership (Bell Canada and Rogers primarily) decided to not perform a complete exorcism because they will be keeping Burke under their employment in a senior advisor role. Dave Nonis took over the President and GM positions.

According to NHL.com, upon being told of his dismissal, Burke:  

“…was still quick to point out the building blocks that are already in place for the Maple Leafs”

What a disgrace for Burke to take credit for what the Leafs currently have when every hockey fan knows that he has ruined the team in the past, present, and near future! He has acted unethically in his employment practices, he favored his buddy Ron Wilson and gave him a contract that the Leafs have to pay (even though he was fired shortly after), and he has badmouthed others behind their backs and disgraced himself.

I am going to discuss some issues that I have with Brian Burke (regarding his four years with the Leafs) including some unethical actions that he is guilty of—and Don Cherry is involved in this part of the discussion.

In four years under Burke the Leafs have never made it to the playoffs! What did Burke really do for the Leafs in trades and drafts and free agent signings? Don’t tell me how good it was for the Leafs to get Phaneuf, one of the worst defensive defensemen in the league due to his poor speed. Last year I lost count how many forwards made him look like a pylon and went in on breakaways! The biggest problem with Phaneuf is the fact that his salary does not match the caliber of his play. He made a whopping 6.5 million last year! On that basis alone I can’t consider him an asset to the team, no matter what happened on the other end of the trade. There is another NHL defenseman who is brutal defensively, who is a worse skater than Phaneuf, who has always had a brutal plus-minus, and who also makes four times what he is worth (cap hit of 5.2 million)—Dustin Byfuglien of the Jets.  

Of course, most people would agree that Burke’s biggest mistake was trading for Phil Kessel. The Bruins ended-up with Tyler Seguin, Jared Knight, and Dougie Hamilton—enough said.    

Brian Burke was the 13th GM in Leafs history and the first who was American-born. Before I continue, I want to say that I happen to consider myself as much or more American as Canadian because my grandmother was American, and because I hate Canada and the government in Canada—experienced a huge amount of corruption from the government and used to work for the government—so, if you are American please don’t get mad at me for the facts that are contained in the remainder of the article, but rather, be unbiased like I am being. As President and GM of a Canadian hockey team, Brian Burke’s role was not to see how many American people he could employ, but rather, it was to conduct himself in an honest, ethical manner in an attempt to build the Leafs into a playoff contender and Stanley Cup Champion—but, instead, he sacrificed integrity and did the best he could for his country.

The remainder of this article I have copied and pasted from a previous article. Don Cherry’s Coaches Corner rebuke of Burke for stocking the Leafs with American players is included.

From an article from last year (“Don Cherry and Burke — More Fuel Added to the Fire”) I quote:

Cherry Blasts Burke On Coaches Corner About American Players on the Leafs

In the March 3, 2012 episode of Coach’s Corner, Cherry decided to publicly pull down Burke’s pants by exposing him for purposely acquiring and playing many American players. To be more specific, Cherry pointed-out that every team in the NHL has at least one player from Ontario except Burke’s Leafs, who, are located in Ontario! Furthermore, Cherry stated that the Penguins have six players from Ontario, that the Blackhawks had seven when they won the Cup, that the Bruins had seven last year and nine this year, and that the Blues currently have nine players from Ontario. I did a little research on my own and found that the Leafs have more American players than any other Canadian team. It is good to have people from different countries on a team but every team (American or Canadian) should have a respectable number of players who represent the country in which they are located. The fans like to be able to cheer for a home-province, home-state, or home-town guy. Look at the Minnesota Wild, they obtained Tom Gilbert from the Oilers prior to the trade deadline and Gilbert grew up about 20 minutes from the Xcel Energy Center where the Wild play. Boston acquired Matt Mottau from the Islanders and he was born and raised in Quincy, just outside of Boston. I could state many other examples but the point is that Burke should have significantly more Canadian players on his team, and, defnitely some from Ontario. The fans are funding the team! 

In support of Burke’s purposeful acquiring of American players [rather than ignoring nationality and looking at talent and value to the team], on the Maple Leafs NHL.com website it says, 

“Burke is on the U.S. National Team Advisory Committee that is charged with leading the selection of players for the U.S. Men’s National Team that competed at the 2011 World Championships in Slovakia. As well, Burke was the General Manager of the 2010 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team, which won a silver medal at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. In 1993, 2009 and 2010, Burke was the General Manager of the U.S. World Championships teams. On August 7, 2008, Burke was recognized for his outstanding service to hockey in the United States when he was named the recipient of the 2008 Lester Patrick Award.”

Sounds like a guy who really wants to do the best for his country, and that includes stocking the Leafs with American players. When Burke is eventually fired from his position he will likely go back to the US and boast about how many American players he had playing for him right in Ontario.

I definitely don’t have anything against American players but every GM of Canadian teams should make sure that they have more Canadians than any other group of players, and every GM of American teams should make a point of having a good number of Americans on their teams. The fans want this and they are funding the sport.

Leafs Future

Unfortunately, due to Brian Burke and Ron Wilson the Leafs are going to miss the playoffs once again. Burke has done nothing to please the fans in Toronto and they can’t even cheer for a home-province boy! It is amazing that the fans still go to the games. It will be interesting to see what transpires next year under Randy Carlyle, but I believe that any long-term significant improvement can only be achieved by bringing in some new players. The Leafs need some good draft picks this year and they should make a couple of trades. Too bad they won’t find anyone interested in Phaneuf and his salary.

End of quote.

Well, barring a miracle, in 2013 we can expect the Leafs to miss the playoffs again. Honestly, that is what Bell Canada and Rogers deserve because Bell Canada illegally phoned residents across Canada to take a survey; and, people’s phones would ring and the survey would hang-up on them, over and over again at various times of the day. This happened to us and we, along with thousands of others, filed complaints and Bell Canada was fined a large sum of money. Sometimes justice is done.

TJ Stanley