Brian Burke Knows It, Can He Get It?

I was out most of the day today so I didn’t get a chance to listen to much radio. Thankfully, Bruce Arthur was listening when Brian Burke was on the Fan 590. Contrary to what some have written recently about Brian Burke, the guy gets it. He knows what he has to do. The question is does he know how to do it or is he able to do it again?

“”It corrodes your confidence,” Burke told The Fan590 yesterday. “I think your forwards won’t gamble at all on the offensive end, and they won’t hang around and take a chance on a loose puck because they figure they’ve got to get back. Your [defencemen] give up the blue lines, both blue lines, way too quickly, way too easily.”

The “IT” is shitty goaltending. As you have read here and other places, bad goaltending effects the entire psyche of the team. It’s not just the bad goals, its the total effect on the entire team.

“Right now, we’re playing with our third and fourth goaltender in the organization. No one else in the NHL is doing that, and it’s hurting us, it’s showing up.”

Well, at least we agree on the problem. The question is does anyone really have any faith in #’s 1 and 2? Someone who’s opinion I kind of respect has told me privately that they are convinced that the Burke/Wilson plan involved getting the entire town turned on Vesa to get him out of here. Now the comment was partially in jest, however the sentiment was pretty clear. There is no way they wanted to start O for….. but……

“He told The Fan yesterday that he learned his goaltending lesson in Vancouver, where Dan Cloutier sabotaged some pretty good teams, whether due to injuries or otherwise. “So I got to Anaheim and I said, ‘Never again will I be short on goaltending,” Burke said. “‘Never again.’

Ummmmmmmmmmm….my never seems to have come around pretty quickly no?

“Goaltending is like pitching,” he told the radio station. “It doesn’t matter how good the rest of your team is … It doesn’t matter what other positions you solve, it doesn’t matter if you’re GM of the year for the other positions – if you don’t have goaltending, you’re going home.”

You see, I agree with everything the guy says. No I don’t think you rush to judgement after 6 or 7 games. But….As Kenny Rogers said, or sang, you got to know when to hold em….. Forget the Monster for now. He is too young and too raw. The question is very simple. Can Vesa Toskala be a number one goalie here? It’s not whether he is a number one goalie. Lots of players have left the big smoke and gone on to play well elsewhere. Is Vesa done here? That is the question Burke needs to answer. Right now he is a team without an ace, a number 2 or number three pitcher. His players are playing like every pitch is going to end up over the fence. He is saying all the right things. The question is what does he do about it???? I wonder what his new goalie guru thinks of Vesa. Both Burke and Wilson were pretty tough on Toskala last year. His play so far can not have endured them any more. One can wonder why if he is saying all these things right now why he entered the season with a questionable number one, a rookie number two and well, Joey.

It seems pretty obvious that, as he said above, all the moves he made over the summer are pretty irrelevant until he finds a goalie. A guy who will relax the players in Toronto and carry the load until Jonas is ready and seasoned. His front office staff have to find that guy who can come in and, oh, I don’t know, make a big save right out of the gate. Burke knows it, question is can he get it. Time will tell.



Bruce Arthur is here

Brian Burke Is brianburke-hc-20091019

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October 19, 2009 11:49 pm

Manny Fernandez.

October 19, 2009 11:57 pm

JS Giguere seems to be the likely candidate, even though I rather not see the team take on a $6 million cap hit for this season and next.

Josh Harding would be another candidate, but again, he’s still a somewhat unknown commodity. But I like him better than Jiggy due to his RFA status.

October 20, 2009 8:08 am

Manny Fernandez is unsigned. He will cost no picks or roster players and there is no way he’d be looking for JSG money. Tosk to the minors…I’d actually prefer that he remain there versus lose him through the waiver process….If he finds his game he could become a tradeable asset down the road or come back up and move Manny…You can never have too many goalie assets at trade deadline time….Someone will get injuried and a team will need help/insurance.

The Meatriarchy
October 20, 2009 8:57 am

You forgot one of the most telling quotes in the interview Burke said “now is not the time to panic and tie up cap space with another goalie” ie No JS Giguere.

Although I think Giguere would be a perfect stop gap. But a better one would have been to keep Gerber and bury Toskala in the minors over the off season. Gerber was Toronto’s best goalie last year by far.

October 20, 2009 9:05 am

Manny has done nothing. Waive Tosk and Blake and welcome aboard JSG. No brainer

October 20, 2009 9:58 am

JSG might be a better goalie…but I doubt by much and I don’t want that contract this year and definitely not next year.

Over the past 8 NHL seasons they both have decent stats…JSG’s stats are slightly better playing for a better team…most of MF’s games were with the Wild.

Winning %’s (JSG 56% v. MF 54%)
GAA (JSG 2.47 v. MF 2.67)
SV% (JSG .914 v. MF .903)

October 20, 2009 12:08 pm

How many draft picks and dollars are we going to invest in goaltending?
Taking on Giguere at 6 or 7 mil per is insane, especially if we have to give any player of value to the ducks………is Raycroft even playing organised hockey anymore? or beer league

October 20, 2009 8:38 pm

Felix Potvin.

He`s only 38, bring back the cat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Seriously, at this point I don`t care who is in the pipes as long as they can make a godamn save when it counts.

Fernandez costs nothing. Is he a risk, sure, but name a lot of goalies that don`t have a risk…oh wait, there all locked up obviously.

We have nothing to lose at this point, literally. Heck even GERBER wasn`t that bad, I`d say make him an offer too. Make an offer for one of the Islanders 3 goalies…the team is horrible with all 3 so maybe we take 1 and see how it goes. Salary dump perhaps…and if thats what were looking to get than JS Giguere is the man. Although that salary is an albatross…

October 21, 2009 1:02 am

Manny Fernandez is unsigned for a reason though. He’s old and injured. It’s why Boston was so quick on not re-signing him. Furthermore, Fernandez put up some elite stats on the Wild because they played a Jacques Lemaire coached trap. Every goalie on the Wild have put up spectacular stats – Roloson, Fernandez, Backstrom, and Harding. Harding at least is young and his apprenticeship has been a lengthy one with great stats in both the AHL and NHL.

Having said that, the Leafs need to address their goaltending one way or another. I’m thinking (and hoping) Jonas Gustavsson is the answer, but who knows?

October 21, 2009 1:26 am

Palmateer has fuck all to do in the scouting dept for the next couple of years(thanks to Burkie), he’s on the payroll already,his knee has to be healed after sitting out the last 25 years

October 22, 2009 12:58 pm

@Eggbert….Palmy is an interesting example. He was 22 and not even on the Leafs farm team when they brought him up (I think Wayne Thomas was hurt or faltering)…Maybe there is a guy in the Toronto Chesswood mens league that could surprise? 🙂

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