Has Brian Burke Been A Bust?

William Houston certainly seems to think so, as evident in his latest blog:

“The Kessel trade appears to have been a mistake. The free agents Burke signed over the summer haven’t panned out, although the goalie Jonas Gustavsson may develop. Burke tried to make the team tougher, but hasn’t.”

The answer it appears to be in the time ahead. I don’t think any of the moves made by Burke were made with a short term outlook. Having said that, this is a results oriented business and the proof is in the pudding. So While Ron Wilson and Brian Burke can say whatever they want in their defence, the only thing that really matters is the results.

Houston does point out where the various members of our MSM stand on the Toronto Maple Leafs:

“Armed with statistics, Dreger reported that Wilson has failed miserably with the PK, much more than Maurice. Wilson’s success rate of 69.7 per cent is not only worst in the league, but the lowest for any NHL team in 27 seasons (1982-83 Los Angeles Kings).

“The penalty kill is no good and has not been good under Wilson,” Dreger said.

Bill Watters, a regular on Leafs Lunch, described the penalty kill as “passive” and the Leaf players, generally, as soft.

“I challenge you to name to me a team in the NHL that plays with less balls,” he said.

“No, I can’t find it,” said Dreger.

“That’s it,” Watters said. “There’s no other way to describe it. The team that showed up at Philadelphia had one thing in mind: Let’s get out of there without getting hurt.”

Let’s get this straight, there was no finer executive in Toronto Maple Leafs history than Bill Watters- Just ask him. To say that Watters has a bias is like saying that my knee surgery kind of hurt. Watters will never have anything good to say about the Leafs unless he has had 16 or 17 pops in him. He does like to kiss some Maple Leaf A$$ when one of them is on his show though.

Dreger, an insider doesn’t ever really express his opinion, in fact no one really cares what he thinks, he is supposed to be an insider, the guy with the scoop.

“When a caller pronounced Burke a failure on “every count, period,” Watters replied, “You said it well. Brian Burke’s record to date is nothing short of abysmal. I recommended this guy for the job, and I think there’s more good in him than there is bad. So far, we haven’t seen much good, but I think he deserves another kick at the can.”

But would Watters dare say to Burke to his face or ear that in Watters’ mind Burke’s record is nothing short of abysmal??? Hell no…

“At the Toronto Star, Damien Cox is a Burke supporter. The Globe and Mail’s David Shoalts has returned to lecturing the fans about showing more patience. Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun raised a few questions this week about Burke’s team. He concluded his piece with, “The seven players Burke added to the Leafs since last season represent nothing more than a beginning. This remains a roster crying for change. Too many of the incumbents are just good enough to get you beat. Truculence is more about the future than the present.”

In fairness to Simmons and I guess Burke, isn’t that what Burke has said from the beginning? This is going to be a long process, it will take time, it won’t be a quick fix….. if fans have been asked and are willing to be patient so too shouldn’t the press? furthermore, all of the above clamored for the Maple Leafs to hire Burke, how now could they dump on their suggested savior?

For my two cents, there is only one thing that Burke has to really hope doesn’t happen, and that is that his team finishes in a worse place than last year. It would be very hard to explain how the changes he made were the right ones when the results were worse then they were last year. Adding 7 players, making the moves he has made should result in a some degree of improvement. If they retreat then Burke and Wilson should have some explaining to to do.

Until then I am happy to reserve judgment.



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