Berger Gets One Right- Where Does Time GO?

Rack one up for Howard Berger. Yup you read right, Howard hit a homer on his last blog. While I will admit that I loved Brian Burke’s comments on Dany, The Teammate Killer Heatley, Howard is 100% right that Burke is being a tad bit hypocritical when it comes to issues about willingness to take on players who have demanded trades and made those demands public.

“Difficult to argue that code. But, why didn’t Burke apply the same standard to his own pursuit of Chris Pronger three summers ago? Didn’t the big defenseman demand of the Oilers the same thing Heatley is asking of the Senators right now? After significantly factoring in Edmonton’s surprise advancement through the 2006 Western Conference playoffs, Pronger made it known he wanted out of northern Alberta. No particular reason was given, and the request prompted rampant speculation. Ultimately, the Oilers were forced to deal Pronger, and Burke – opportunist that he is – pounced on the situation, resulting in a Stanley Cup title for his Anaheim club the following spring. Three years later, double-B has become highly principled. Which begs the question: Would he feel the same way if there was either a logical reason, or a legitimate chance, for his current team to land Heatley? If the Leafs were a star player away from challenging for the Cup – as were the Ducks in ’06 – would Burke shelve his apparent righteousness? This sort of mutual high ground between manager and player will be seriously challenged when Burke gets around to dealing with the copious salary commitments he has for next season.”

I think there are a couple of issues in play here. One Burke doesn’t want Heatly for this team, at this time. Not only that, Heatly is not the same type of guy as Chris Pronger. Heatly has been on 2 NHL teams and now has demanded trades from both of them. While he is a super talented player, he doesn’t have the same high character reputation as Burke appears to be after. Burke, I believe likes to make good radio and he performed brilliantly on this issue the other day. He was able to talk down his interest in a player without bashing him for personal reasons. In reality it likely isn’t Heatley’s fault that word leaked out, it most likely his agent’s who did the deed. Lastly, I think Burke was sending a message to his players.

“Professional sport is frequently a ruthless vocation, and nobody understands that better than Burke. I’ve repeatedly been on record saying he’s the best man to drag the Maple Leafs out of their four-decades-long quagmire, and I believe he’ll pull off at least a couple of eye-popping moves this summer. But, he backs himself into a corner, now and then, with involuntary comments and reactions. Perhaps such remarks were lost in the megalith of southern California, where hockey ranks behind baseball, football, basketball and college sports. But, in this market, every word Brian speaks will be highlighted, analyzed, compared with previous stances, and filed for future reference. That’s why his stern admonition of Dany Heatley may prove contradictory when the Leafs are closer to contention.”

No matter what Burke says or does he will be judge on every word by the local media. If in 2-3 years time a guy like Ovechkin were to demand a trade publicly, every media member would roast Burke if he didn’t want to pursue him based solely on moral highground alone. Burke shouldn’t be treated any differently than any of us. You say things and they should be applied to certain circumstances and times. Burke didn’t say he would never sign a player under those circumstances, he spoke about this player and at this time. It says here a GM has to be smart enough at the right time to put his personal standards or feelings behind what’s best for his team at a certain time.

I do believe Howie is right though. The appearance here isn’t good and Burke should have explained the Pronger discrepancy. Now compare Howie’s take with that of Jim Kelley. Kelley took the odd position that Burke wasn’t hypocritical with himself by speaking out about Heatley. Kelley correctly points out that Burke didn’t demand to be exiled from Anaheim as Heatley has both from Atlanta and now Ottawa. Right conclusion, wrong comparison.

Berger is here
Kelley is here

To date, over 80% of those who took the Should Brian Burke Purse The Sedin Twins poll answered no (thank god!). I wonder now that it has been revealed that they are looking for 12 years at around 6-7m per how many of the 20% who said yes want to change their vote???

I don’t want to embarrass anyone, but I have to say I get some pretty funny emails from time to time with respect to this site. I got a real gem the other day:

I am getting married this septmber and we are having a hockey theme. I was wondering if yourself and Andy Frost would be able to record a cd of the two of you introducing our wedding party? I heard through the grap vine you have done this in the pass. If you can how much would it cost and how do we arrang to do this?
Thank you for your time”

I of course told the writer that I was more than willing to do the honors, but that I have never done so before and I am not Joe Bowen, but if Andy is game so am I. Seriously, I love all the emails I get, keep em coming this one was really stellar!

You know i am a huge AO fan, and you know that I just got back from Las Vegas, but I have to tell you I had no interest whatsoever in the NHL award show.

Bad break for the NHL, the NBA draft being the night before the NHL draft. Does anyone remember the week before the draft being this quite in years past?

It was the morning of the NHL draft last year when I was sitting at LAX waiting for my Westjet flight home when I caught the ESPN ticker fly by on the screen, announcing that the Jays had fired (finally) JP Gibbons and replaced him with Cito Gaston. I nearly fell out of my chair at the bar. i then flew home and got watch the draft activities on the WestJet/Bell Expressvu tv at my seat- man technology is cool! One question….Where did the year go?????

Has Jim Balsillie become the Mats Sundin of 2009? All summer long last year we had various reports of where and when Sundin was going to do…Cherpa’s in Sweden were suddenly sources and Nik Kypreos got to read tea leaves and get invited to casa Mats to talk shop. Suddenly I feel that this is the summer of Jim. Rallies, emails, press releases SERENITY NOW!!!

Lastly, hard to believe that one year from today will mark the one year anniversary of TSM. WOW! Yup, last June 25th, the lights came on and I am proud to say we didn’t miss a beat. Look for more on the 1 year anniversary as we get closer to the 25th! Am I the only one who used to like it when Stellick did his annual pool party radio show…I thought that was pretty funny in the day- Maybe LT will blow up an inflatable pool for us on the 25th


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June 19, 2009 12:57 am

self ” righteousness” is bang on,Burke honks his own horn unlike anything I’ve seen for awhile.If I never hear his speil about having his own “special” Christmas trade deadline, (cuz he’s just that special a guy) it won’t be soon enough, and the as mentioned “won’t ask a vet” blather………..STFU already Burke, this guy really is the egomaniac everybody said he was, but if he brings us a cup who cares

June 19, 2009 2:52 am

I may be in the minority, but I like Howard Berger hosting the hockey show. Maybe he’d be a better host than reporter?

Happy B-day

June 19, 2009 7:13 am

i tune out when Burke talks about himself and i tune in when he talks about the players on his roster. he is surprisingly frank about the latter and annoyingly absorbed with the former.

ps. a google search for swedish sherpa yields 11 results most of them having to do with cars for some reason. swedish cherpa yields no results.

June 19, 2009 7:35 am

Happy Anniversary TSM!!!

I am still a faithful reader, and always will be. I was thrilled to have stumbled upon your site many many moons ago and it quickly became a staple of my daily morning diet. Been a little quieter on the commenting lately but I want you to know I am still here trolling for any and all Leaf news repeatedly whenever possible.

Warm weather has been keeping us busy out here on the East Coast but we are doing well. Sh!t, so long as it isn’t snowing things here are pretty much golden! 🙂

I hope things for you are going well with the TSM family.

And lastly of course I wish you all the best in your 2nd Year running of this wonderful site, many thanks for all that you do!

Cheers, Nealio

June 19, 2009 9:33 am

It’s kind of funny now when there was a question about Burke wanted to be in Toronto .. LOL The bloody guy just loves the attention he gets in Toronto. I’m sure other GMs have said the same things, but Burke makes headlines..

It’s all a sideshow .. but atleast it gets people talking about Toronto ..

June 19, 2009 11:19 am

I definitely could be wrong here, but I don’t think that Burke is being hypocritically. I admit that I could be remembering the Pronger situation incorrectly, but as I recall, Pronger made his request directly to Oiler’s managment. It was not leaked to the media first. I don’t recall which party got the information regarding Pronger to the media. If you listen to Burke’s comments, he does not say he is against a player requesting a trade…he is against a player/agent going to the media first thereby handicapping the home GM. This is what makes him mad at Heatly, and therefore (while admitting I could be wrong), I am not sure that Berger is actually accurate in his condemnations.

June 19, 2009 12:15 pm

I believe the twins are asking for 12 yrs 63 million each. Thats a cap hit for two first liners of 5.25 a year. How does that sound like a bad deal to anyone? They are entering their prime, tyings for 13th in points last year, thats like 2 Mats in terms of points production. And if 2 or 3 yrs could be knocked down by bumping it to 5.5, it seems like a no-brainer to me.

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