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"You heard it someplace, not here."
It needs to be said...after all the hype and rumor and silly "connect the dots" conspiracy theories trotted out this Spring to suggest that Brian Burke wants to be the Leafs' next GM...somebody has to say it: "Why Burke?"

Even before Kevin Lowe leveled the boom with suggestions that Burke is more luck than genius, that he Left Dave Nonis with a mess in Vancouver; that he joined the Ducks at the perfect time to take advantage of good drafting and decisions made by his predecessors...even before that - I had my doubts about Burke being a good fit.
Brian Burke has a lot in common with Pat Quinn in terms of style, a straight talking hockey man who occasionally lets loose with a big quote or a verbal shot that will land him in hot water. Quinn had a longer and more consistent record of success over a long career. Burke - some would say, is more able to adapt to a changing game.
I'd challenge that last one though. Anaheim's cup year featured a team that was big on size and sprinkled with skill in key positions. (Sounds quite a lot like teams that Pat Quinn tried to build in the 1990's and 1980's.) Just as much a tried-and -true formula as any sort of innovative trend.
Then there's the whole personality question. Could a "big" personality like Burke
handle the meddling from the Leaf's board? Could he humor and tolerate the annoying little gadflies such as Cox, Simmons, or Strachan, who would likely complain about the second coming of Jesus if it happened in Toronto.
Could a guy like Burke shrug off the helpful comments from Don Cherry?
I tend to think that Burke would have to waste so much time putting out small fires that he'd likely be ineffective before too long.
Really, I don't see Burke as being nearly as effective as Cliff Fletcher in finessing his way through some tricky situations. Fletcher, while probably aching to get back to retirement, manages to play the diplomat when it is required. He's on good terms with a lot of people in the league, while Burke seems to be shortening his list of friends among the GM ranks.
But Fletcher has his weaknesses - it is hard to imagine him pushing back when the board starts interfering. He's is pretty willing to play the role of care-taker/gardener - that is, he's just here to do some pruning and planting. He isn't a long-term solution for a team that needs one.
Enter Joe Nieuwendyk, the man oozes class and has the respect of people in every organization in the league. He's a competitor, a winner, and a guy who would have the respect of fans, players and coaches.
Joe isn't the sort of guy to grab the headlines for mere words - he's a guy who many would be willing to give the benefit of the doubt to, and he's a guy who would demand results.
Sure, he's a guy who would be learning on the job, but he's no JFJ, nor a Garth Snow... those guys showed signs of making some decisions based on the pressure from fans and management, rather than sound long-term thinking.
If I had to make a prediction, I really feel that the recent Nieuwendyk signing will be an apprenticeship,and Joe will be heading things at the draft table next year.
Brian Burke meanwhile may be looking elsewhere if he doesn't sign himself an extension with the ducks. With an absentee owner next year, Burke will surely feel even more like King in Anaheim...why leave that?
Filed Under:   Anaheim   Toronto   Ducks   Leafs   Burke   Nieuwendyk   Fletcher  
July 11, 2008 9:04 AM ET | Delete
burke is not going to to
July 11, 2008 11:03 AM ET | Delete
I agree entirely doktordave. Here we have a guy that has a penchant for being arrogant and belicose when things are going his way; then turns around and whines and complains when things are not. The way he went after KLowe makes me wonder if there wasn't something else going on. I didn't see Burke going after Bobby Clarke when the Flyers made a qualifying offer to Kesler a couple of years ago. The fact is that Burke pretty much personifies what many fans around the league stereotype Toronto and Leafs fans as being. I can't see him being really good for the bottom line in Toronto past the first couple of months and having the novelty of a mouthpiece as GM in Toronto. After that, lets face it, his Ducks won the cup off the previous management's hard work with the exception of the Niedermayer trade. He also made a mess in Vancouver and I can't think that anyone who has heard Burke speak cannot at least suspect that he had something to do with the whole Crawford/Bertuzzi/Moore bit.'Nuff Said.Cheers!
July 11, 2008 11:51 AM ET | Delete
Niedermayer wasn't a trade. He also brought in Pronger and Marchant that year along with Huskins and won, ya the previous managment did a good job drafting but Burke but all the peices together.
July 11, 2008 1:39 PM ET | Delete
Wait just a cotton pickin' second soul2007! The normal Hockeybuzz mantra regarding Burke is that he was lucky and he fell into the Cup and he is a moron and a egotistical loudmouth and he is the worst hockey GM in all of North America. Now that you've been brought up to speed, you will have 15 minutes to retract your blog.
July 11, 2008 3:09 PM ET | Delete
Good stuff. I can't see how Burke can sign with the Leafs. How can the Ducks management have a GM that's preparing to bolt. All he's going to care is about the last year and will trade away the future with abandon. If you want to see how Burke operates under such circumstances, see his last year at the Canucks. Personally, I wish they'd never let him go - I think he is a good GM - but I don't see how the situation with the Ducks is sustainable.
July 11, 2008 4:58 PM ET | Delete
Soul2007, Thanks for the correction. (My memory is getting more suspect as the years go by ...) I suppose there is an argument to be made that Burke did put the final pieces of the puzzle together for the Ducks. However, they had been seriously improving as a team prior to his arrival and, as you say, the previous management did do an excellent job of drafting young players. So, it's tough to say how much impact his presence did make. I think though, from a personal perspective, that my dislike of the man's public persona really colours my opinion. I see Burke as the "Next generation Don Cherry", without the 'goofiness' that Don has, which makes him a lot less attractive from a marketing perspective for any team that picks him up as GM. Not to mention, I can't think that Burke is making too many new friends among the other 29 GM's, which may impact any future deals with other teams. Therefore, I would not really like to see him in the driver's seat for the Leafs.
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