A few months ago, Brian Burke joined Twitter. He caved to fan and peer pressure, selected a username that will become instantly obsolete if he ever leaves MLSE for different employment, and took up social media residence on the popular frontier that has all but eliminated the need for news tickers and TSN alerts.
He could have quit there. But Burke, a master of rhetoric and image control, took it a step further and offered fans a one-hour window in which they could submit questions that he would attempt to answer directly over the coming weeks (and, one has to assume, months). To this point, heâ€™s been surprisingly thorough in responding to a massive amount of Twinquiries.
Brian claims heâ€™s personally in direct control of his Twitter account, with a little assistance here and there from the MLSE PR department to â€˜filterâ€™ some of his responses based on their appropriateness (as evidenced by some of the same stock, copy-and-paste answers that are sometimes used to answer multiple fan questions).
Well, weâ€™ve taken things a step further too. Through the magic of hacking, Twitter timeline surfing, and some complete and utter fabrication, weâ€™ve obtained several of Burkeâ€™s initial responses that the PR people wouldnâ€™t allow him to use.
Some of them are downright sarcastic. Others contain profanity. A few are nowhere near being able to fit into the 140 character limit. MLSE PR clearly didn’t want him offending players, fans, or the league itself – certainly understandable why they might think some of these responses were a little too abrasive and direct.
Witness the power of social media at its most truculent.
@sonny1981: if you some how trade for Getzlaf, you would become king. His the perfect centre we need. I’d even trade Kessel for him.
@LeafsBB20: That is a brilliant [censored] idea. Wow. Why didnâ€™t I think of that? A playmaker, a leader, and a decade of fans screaming â€œWe need a fast, skilled, dangerous scoring winger for Getzlaf!â€œ
@MySecondEmpire: Shocked that @LeafsBB20 is in yet another media fight. This barn is getting awfully crowded, except for the trophy shelf.
@LeafsBB20: In fairness to my trophy shelf – it’s only a couple of feet wide, and that big silver one in the middle is taking up most of the room.
[USER CENSORED]: so excited about the winter classic!! do you think an outdoor game will create any problems for the team?
@LeafsBB20: The medical staff has told me that, because of preexisting brittleness, they may have some trouble adapting Tim Connolly to the cold.
@EricLangton: trade for carter!
@LeafsBB20: Which one? Anson’s retired, Jeff’s coming off a separated shoulder, and Joe…ha, nice try. No way am I dumb enough to try and deal with Alex Anthopoulos.
@RobbiePilms: The AHL is a joke
@LeafsBB20: No. The AHL is not a joke. A joke is, â€œWhat do you call a man with no arms and no legs in a pool? Bob!â€ The AHL is a league of professional hockey players who are exponentially better at playing the sport than you could ever dream of being in your sad, lonely, Twitter-insult-driven sack of a life.
[USER CENSORED]: you should host 5 winter classics per year, all featuring the leafs!
@LeafsBB20: We could sell the tickets, but I think having the outdoor game once a year gives it the same special meaning that other annual events enjoy (like the Stanley Cup final, Christmas, and “…puck to Gomez, HE SCORES!”)
@deanobrown: looks like the leafs will b only team to not make playoffs since lockout. Congrats! Uve done what no other team could.
@LeafsBB20: Inherit a near-irreparable organization and improve them consistently and quickly with quantifiable results in the annual standings despite competing in a cap system that all but guarantees the process should reasonably take several years? No, no other team has done that since *late 2008*.
@gfairgrieve: make a trade!!! Get someone who can finish #blownleads
@LeafsBB20: I had a deal lined up for Sergio Santos. Some silent mother[censored]ing assassin apparently made a better offer.
@Extra_Butter: can’t wait to see the most pugnacious and truculent iteration of HBO‘s 24/7 yet
@LeafsBB20: Well, we will certainly promise that! (And then likely deliver a product that derives all of its success from moving really fast and not actually hitting you that hard.)
@MattyLombardi15: WHAT am I doing here?!
@west631: After seeing Sam Gagner play last night i would not be surprised if @LeafsBB20 @MapleLeafs traded one of there young d-men for him
@LeafsBB20: Get ready to be surprised, dumb[censored].
[USER CENSORED]: burkie!!! so many soft goals and no explanation! Do you actually believe in your goaltenders?
@LeafsBB20: It’s my bad. Frankie Allaire only told me last week that Jonas Gustavsson is, in fact, a hologram. Shocking.
@TSandrelli: Dan Bylsma reportedly said if they could ship Crosby, that would be good. Might be something worth looking into, don’t you think?
@LeafsBB20: Dan Bylsma is reportedly a smart man who did not, and would not ever, say that. But if it makes you happy, I’ll call Ray.
@LeafsBB20 (15 seconds later): Are you still there? That was a joke, I’m not actually calling Ray. That would be really [censored] dumb.
@EdgeOnHomes: Hopefully you will add some Canadian content to the lineup, instead of focusing on Americans all the time. Leafs aren’t Team USA
@LeafsBB20: Pffft. Acquiring Canadian players never works. Phaneuf, Lupul, and Franson are the trades I regret the most. #waitwhat
@Dixon_Curtis: Liles gives away their 3rd goal so you put him right back out there. #SmartCoaching
@LeafsBB20: Well, I try my best to scream heat-of-the-moment line combinations down from the press box, but there’s 15,000 people in the building and it’s a couple hundred feet. @coachrw63 doesn’t always hear me.
@j_wright_09: Hey Brian. Can I travel with you to the winter classic? My car was broken into the last time I watched the buds in Detroit.
@LeafsBB20: So was our plane, actually. That city is a [censored] warzone.
@gloucester22: @LeafsBB20 can we plz call up @mikezigomanis give him the chance he deserve we were great on PP and PK with him
@LeafsBB20: Great idea. @mikezigomanis is a total power play specialist and our PK has been atrocious in 2012. #doyouevenwatchhockey
[CENSORED USER]: What’s your opinion on mikhail grabovski?
@LeafsBB20: We’re not allowed to discuss players under contract to another organization. That constitutes tamp…wait, is it not February 27th yet? [censored]. Uh, disregard that answer…
@TOcorey: @LeafsBB20 speaks with wife and @CTVNewsChannel anchor Jennifer Burke about the #WinterClassic: ow.ly/8YwOr
@LeafsBB20: How this wasn’t one of the more virally Retweeted clips of the day is beyond me.
@TalkLeafs: RABBLE RABBLE RABBLE….#IHaveNothingImportantToSay
@LeafsBB20: This is one of the most metaphorically cognizant and insightful Tweets I have ever received.
@Curry62: will you take stajan back for a bag of pucks
@LeafsBB20: No. The bag of pucks puts us in a better position, cap-wise.
@TOTruculent: Can you Retweet me? I’ve been sitting at just below 200 followers for awhile now…
@LeafsBB20: I think that instead of targeting two hundred followers, you should aim for one girlfriend.
@Nut_Cracker12: why don’t you like HBO?
@LeafsBB20: Seven years, 86 episodes, hundreds of dollars spent on merchandise, three personal trips to fan conventions, and the ‘big finale’ is a metaphorical smash to black?!?! James Gandolfini can go [censored] himself.
@LeafsHotStove: What do you think about passionate fans venting their frustrations via profane blog comments posted during one of the most soul-crushing moments of the Leafs season?
@LeafsBB20: Graphic, vulgar…yet revealing.
@LeafsBB20: No. What an absolutely irrelevant, collossal waste of everyone’s [censored] time it would be to…like…write an article or something about that.
-Matt Mistele (http://www.twitter.com/TOTruculent)