Someone Get David Shoalts A New Headline Writer

Had Brian Burke taken over the Leafs gig two summers ago, then his second offseason would be worth evaluating. Attempting to evaluate Burke today on his one year anniversary is nuts. I mean, the guy may fail, and he may fail miserably, but come on. He started a year ago, just over a quarter into the season. He has had 1 draft and one free agency, one trade deadline, and we are going to write a story entitled “Jury Still out on Burke”. One friggin year and you are drawing conclusions like that? The problem is the article by David Shoalts of the Globe and mail is only bad because it says NOTHING. The title is brutal and totally misleading.

“One of the things Brian Burke promised when he took over as general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs was a sea change from the country-club atmosphere that settled over the team in previous years.

With the Burke era officially beginning its second year today with a game against the Buffalo Sabres, opinions are divided about the success of his first year – but most of the critics agree the players work much harder than they did in the past. However, no one should take that as a sign that a change in culture is complete.

True culture change, say those who took on the burden of doing it, takes years, sometimes more than a decade to complete. It takes a lot more than getting rid of a few lazy players who may be a bad influence on their teammates and bringing in some hard-workers.”

Rise your hand if you are care where the Toronto Maple Leafs are after his first year, or after his 5th or 6th. Who is going to spend the time and evaluate him at this point of the season. Let’s at least give him until the end of this season don’t you think?

““If you’re looking at the change to an elite team, it was probably 10 years,” Holland said. “But if you’re talking about going from what was the worst team in the world, as it was in 1985, to a playoff team, then you could say five years.””

Exaclty! So why even bother writing the article in the first place? I mean, if that is the gist of the article, and it is, then why bother. Shoalts makes all the arguments on why these takes time…5 to ten years in some cases, and yet the headline is that jury is out? What did people expect? Burke himself said this was going to be a long process.

“The key to success with youth, Holland said, is patience. That is an issue in Toronto, given defenceman Luke Schenn’s struggles in his second NHL season.

“The odd 18-year-old kid can change the fortunes of your team, but they’re named Gretzky and Lemieux,” Holland said. “For most of them, it takes a long time.

“People think next year you’re going to be twice as good, which is unrealistic. You go home for the summer and think you made it after your first year, plus your buddies are telling you, too. So, it is not until your second off-season that you hit the gym a lot harder than you did after the first year.”

I love that the Red Wings are again the blueprint of success. No one ever would have guessed that this would be the model of success years back. I remember when they were giving away cars at the JLA in attempt to get people to come to the arena. If they are the model, then shouldn’t others be afforded the same time to follow it? Let’s see Burke try to draft the same way Illitch’s team did and then we can talk right?

““We’ve got the work ethic, no one can say we don’t,” he said. “But we don’t have the talent like a team like the Red Wings. We don’t have a leader here who is out there doing the right thing all the time, a genuine Stevie Yzerman or Nicklas Lidstrom.

“[Yzerman] wasn’t regarded as a leader until he was about 10 years into his career. He got the captaincy early, but it was Scotty Bowman who basically brought it out of him and that took three or four years. That’s why if it’s Luke Schenn for us, it’s going to take three or four years.”

Exactly the point. So why the headline, and the intro to the article? Shoalts hit a homerun on the Coyotes. On the Leafs he seems to be striking out an awful lot lately.

Talk to you from Las Vegas



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November 30, 2009 8:07 am

TSM—the title is “Jury’s still out on Burke”…as in there is no verdict as to whether Burke is a good GM for the Leafs or not. Not sure why you think that is inappropriate as that is basically the argument you make as well.

November 30, 2009 3:41 pm

I was going to say the same thing CD, but at least we get another update on TSM’s travel schedule 😉

November 30, 2009 4:00 pm

Eggbert/CD…but that’s what is odd…the comment is made as if one would expect that the verdict be in already. Of course the jury is still out…he’s only into year 1 of a 5 year contract and re-build…I agree with TSM…kinda dumb. An article about what he has done 1 year into a rebuild is relevant….Stocked the shelf in creative ways: Bozak, Gustavsson, Hanson….appears to have made a good 1st round selection: Kadri….beefed up the defence (not working out as well yet): Komisarek, Beauchemin….and brought in a premium winger: Kessel (I still say this move could be a good one…we’ll see after the 2nd 1st pick is chosen). He has 13 UFA/RFA’s (from the big club) this summer so the house cleaning can continue if he wishes. Not bad for his first year in my opinion (irespective of where they are in the standings 24 games into the season).

November 30, 2009 4:38 pm

I’m sure we could find fault in pretty much every article published if that’s the approach we take.I find the basis for this critique a reach at best, extremely anal in the least, but maybe that’s just me.

November 30, 2009 5:18 pm

I would say that the reason Shoalts wrote this article is the fact that many people are actually starting to paint Burke as a failure. The negativity is building, even though we haven’t had the full story yet (ie the verdict referred to in his title). Shoalts’ position is a counter response to those that are beginning the call-ins to radio shows etc saying “Burke sucks” , he’s done a terrible job, I never liked him (even though I am sure they are the same fans that loved his signing not so long ago!) etc. The truth is, Burke’s impact can’t be felt for at least a few years…something that is echoed by both SHoalts and TSM. I think that at the one year anniversary of Burke’s tenure it is to be expected that people will begin to comment upon his success (wrongly so, but nonetheless expected). Shoalts is tempering that response with reason.

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