Brian Burke held his final press conference as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ organization at noon Saturday, the hosting of which is a bizarre decision at best on the part of his still-employer and, at worst, a welcome dose of some universal justice to the fans who still aren’t feeling all that great about this. I sort of eulogized his tenure on Thursday and thought that would be the end of it. Today’s session, however, did offer a few salient points worth a brief follow-up.
Brian Burke provided his first interview since his shock firing on Wednesday, speaking to, of course, Damien Cox of The Star.
There’s nothing particularly notable or revealing about the interview besides Burke being a beacon of class and grace in the wake of, whether you think it’s justified or not, an ugly and untimely move.
Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
“He had a good dream. It’s the only dream you can have – to come out number-one man. He fought it out here, and this is where I’m gonna win it for him.”
- Happy Loman in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman
I can’t say I am as distraught as some of the other writers on this site about Burke’s departure (I’m not). I will say I’m shocked by the timing. Coming out of a Collective Bargaining Agreement that sees many of Burke’s personal principles put into play league wide, and the amount of cap space he to work with this summer, it gave me the feeling that he would’ve been given the benefit of doubt running the team through the 2013-14 season. Guess not. Can I blame them? No.
When the NHL finally decided to have a season last week, many Leafs fans knew Brian Burke was on thin ice. There was a large segment of fans who believed Burke had only the upcoming shortened season to turn things around. Arguably, there was an even bigger group of fans who believed Burke had the current season, and then the offseason – where two of his former star players could be available – to turn the Leafs into a contender.
No one believed Burke wouldn’t oversee the Leafs starting the season on January 19th.
This feels like writing a eulogy. I hate it.
You win. Let’s start with that concession, up front. A straightforward address to every fan who wanted Burke gone. I anxiously and hopefully await confirmation that this still-vague, as-yet-in-progress, largely-similar-but-supposedly-slightly-new direction will provide the amazing results that you’ve been adamant it hypothetically will.
By Alec Brownscombe & Declan Kerin
Shocking, is the only way to put it.
No, this wasn’t a move that was waiting in the wings. Last night, Dave Nonis and Brian Burke were taking in a Marlies game expecting to be the assistant GM and President and GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs, respectively, for the upcoming 2012-13 season. It came as a bombshell to absolutely everybody short of Tom Anselmi and some board members. If that’s not raising red flags in your head already, it should be.
Photo: The Toronto Star
Brian Burke Fired as Leafs GM, kept on as advisor; Nonis promoted