Brian Burke joined Bill Watters on AM640 this afternoon. The audio is available here. The quick summary is as follows:
On the late season run… Burke noted that it’s not the same late run to the point of futility but rather a sustained powerful run since the All Star break, noting his team is third in points since that date. Most importantly, it’s a young team with important pieces in place, and the Leafs‘ top assets are easily identifiable.
On Reimer… The organization believes he is the real thing, as in the legitimate number one in the long haul. Burke says in addition to his numbers, he has the personality, temperament and work ethic to be the number one. Burke admitted there have been a number of goalies with short excellent runs but that he believes this is just the beginning from Reimer. Watters points out that if he isn’t the real deal, this run from the Leafs might not have been, either.
On the Marlies… All current Leafs on the clear day roster will return to the Marlies for the playoffs. Burke puts a lot of value in AHL playoff experience, and sent Getzlaf and Perry to the AHL to play a game 7 with Portland after the Ducks were eliminated in 2005-06.
On the situation up front… Watters asserted the Leafs have five of six for their top six, and Burke seemed to agree. Burke sees a legitimate number one first line RW in Kessel as well as a legitimate number one left wing in Lupul, who brings an important size element to Kessel’s line, while noting the one hole for Bozak is too much to ask.
On Kessel… Noted that Phil generates most of what he has now off the rush or boards, and we don’t know what he could have done this season with a number one center. Likes that he is beginning to play a 200 foot game, getting pucks out, competing on forecheck and backchecking through the neutral zone. The goal totals haven’t gone up since his trade from Boston, but Burke likes that he’s converted a 60 foot game into a 200 foot game.
On Kadri… noted the pace of his game has improved to help adjust to the big jump from OHL to the NHL in speed. Called his hands terrific, complimented his intelligent play on the half boards, and forecasted him as a player that can run a PP down the road. Likes his all around game more since his return. Burke added he thinks the “kick in the groin” of being sent back down earlier in the season can be a good thing for a young player’s development.
On the World Championships… Burke says his players will be “armlocked” into going if they are asked. In his view, hockey players should be playing in May.