HiR:tb Toots (@warwalker)

So Much for That, eh Damien?

I posted the other day about Damien Cox’s ridiculous “story” that the Leafs’ efforts to woo Brian Burke were going to shift into high gear with Anaheim’s elimination from playoff contention.

That was Monday. Apparently, the “inside sources” relied upon to give that story credibility were sorely, profoundly and rapidly mistaken; according to David Shoalts’ story in the Globe and Mail this morning, not only has Burke confirmed that he will be remaining with Anaheim pursuant to the terms of his existing contract,

Sources on both sides of the matter say no contact was ever made between the Leafs and Burke or the Leafs and [Ducks owner Henry] Samueli.

In other words, the lightning quick action that was characterized as imminent by Mr. Cox in his column evidently did not include so much as even a telephone call to seek permission to talk to Burke.

Wow, what a whirlwind!

This means Damien needs to change course with his columns, of course. No problem, when in doubt, Cox can simply go back to bashing Maple Leaf management with poorly-thought out complaints (which, I would point out, needlessly distracts everyone from the many legitmate complaints to be made) . This from the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” file:

All along, however, Burke knew there was a real chance that the Ducks’ hardnosed president, Michael Schulman, would not give the Leafs the chance to talk to him.

And he was proven correct, or at least Schulman made it clear no such permission would be forthcoming if such a request was received (emphasis added).

So the Ducks made it clear that they wouldn’t give the Leafs permission to talk to Burke if they asked for it, right? I guess that would explain why the Leafs couldn’t secure the Messiah’s services, right? Wrong, oh ye of short sight and no column space! Behold the wisdom of Cox:

What’s truly incredible is the MLSE board of directors doesn’t seem to have any sense of urgency here, or a particular game plan in place.

They’re just sort of meandering along, swimming in 23 per cent profits and imagining how nice it would be to have a front man who would attract all the attention and stop people from calling them unflattering names.

They would have loved for Burke to be that person.

But his current employer quite smartly decided he was too good to lose.

In other words, MLSE’s braintrust was:

  • rightly interested in Burke’s services – he is after all, the personification of all that is godly in the hockey world;
  • required to wait until the end of the Ducks’ season before even seeking permission to talk to Burke;
  • made aware, almost immediately thereafter, that permission to speak to Burke would not be granted if sought;
  • guilty of “meandering” and not having a plan because they did not then immediately get on the blower and – uh, do something, I guess – ask for permission to speak to Burke anyway.

Far be it from me to defend the likes of the MLSE board but come on, Damien, think it through: you’ve just assured us that they did have a plan, and that it was the right plan to have (how could it not be, involving a fellow who can walk on water and all?). When the plan falls through because of forces beyond MLSE’s control (i.e. the actions of Samueli and the Ducks), is it really fair to carp on about inaction?

For the record, I do agree with his point that Justin Pogge ought to be playing in the Marlies’ AHL series. How ’bout tracking down the justification for that rather than wasting my time with abject bullshittery.

What’s the over/under on how long it takes Cox to turn this little episode into the Leafs’ “failure to secure the services of Brian Burke”, another exhibit to be endlessly paraded in front of the readers as some kind of shorthand confirmation that there’s nought but clowns in the boardroom who, if they were only capable of reading the local newspaper, would be much better prepared to secure an immediate championship for the Leafs?

2 comments to So Much for That, eh Damien?

  • Really, though, the Leafs may have dodged a bullet here — Burke seems like a crap artist of the highest caliber (as if I needed another reason to dislike the Ducks).

    I can’t tell you how many times following Wings playoff exits I exclaimed “If only they had ___” (generally filling that blank with “a goalie”, sometimes “Felix Potvin”, and having them respond with the likes of Bob Essensa, brilliant). I stand by my assertion that hockey is a team sport, and one that punishes selfish players possibly more than any other (take another stupid penalty, you see what I mean, eh, Pronger?); a good GM isn’t one that brings back name players (Selanne, Niedermayer) for the sake of bringing back name players at the expense of demoting guys who’ve labored loyally all season. Better off without el jefe nuevo Burke.

  • Hear! Hear! A Voice of sanity from the hockeyist desert of southern California! The voice calls with clarion certainty that the Great Burke is mildly to incredibly over-rated.

    And the Voice, my friends, behold it speaketh the truth!

    Yea and verily did The Brian toil many long years in Vancouver; long did he not acquire a legitimate Cup-calibre goaltender, credible second line scoring, or any plan in evidence other than the devotion of all Canuck-ly assets towards the acquisition of everyone named on the planet named Sedin. Poorly did they draft! Poorly, I say!

    I agree wholeheartedly that the sum total of a team’s components is much more than a mere totalling of each player’s individual value; the team must have commitment, loyalty and dedication to one another, and that kind of thing starts at the top – or not.

    Burke is no genius, and I for one won’t be sad a single day that he didn’t end up at MLSE.