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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