This is a tough blog for me to write. During his tenure in Vancouver I had several opportunities to speak personally with Brian Burke either via letter, email or in person. In fact, in the hours leading up to his dismissal as General Manager/President of the Vancouver Canucks, I keying an email to the big irishman. As I pushed the 'Send' button, I received an 'undeliverable message' response. Burkie's email address with Orca Bay was not found. Next thing I hear on the radio that there is a press conference later that afternoon and it is expected that the Canucks will not be renewing Brian Burke's contract.
All that rederic aside I would like to say, Brian Burke's dedication and love of the game of hockey is absolutely admirable. Despite the perception that was portrayed by the local media, one word comes to mind...Class. His dedication to the franchise, to the players and to the city is far greater than that of anyother General Manager in hockey. His name has come up several times as a possible replacement for Mr. Bettman in New York City.
After the announcement today that Chris Pronger would be suspended for one game, Bruke held a press conference for the media that was covering the series. Now, after having a first hand lesson in what it means to 'stand-by' your players with the Todd Bertuzzi and Steve Moore incident, I did not expect Brian to say anything different than what he said today.
Except, his explanation that Pronger had Holmstrom lined up on a 45-degree angle. No matter what angle I have viewed the replay from I cannot understand where Burkie is coming from. I am not going to say that Chris Pronger aimed to injure Holmstrom, but the b-line that he took towards the player was enough to tell me that he had every intention of delivering a serious blow.REGARDLESS if Holmstrom was in a vulnerable position or not. Read that last part again...that is the determining factor in my mind as to whether or not a player should be suspended.
Like I said, you cannot expect Burkie to do nothing but 'stand-up' for his player and that is what he did. I admire Brian's commitment, dedication and vision for the game but seriously....Say it ain't so Burkie, that can't be your best description of the play...can it?
This was a tough one to write.