Berger’s Latest Blunder

“I am adequately convinced that the Maple Leafs will end their record playoff famine in the next two seasons. It has taken me 1 ½ years to decipher the Brian Burke plan, but I think I finally have a reasonable understanding of it. Ironically, I suspect it involves ownership to a degree that belies Burke’s autonomous arrangement with the hockey club. Though Burke is not contractually bound to apprise the board of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment of his every move – by comparison, John Ferguson needed clearance to visit the men’s room – I sense that double-B is equally beholden to his bosses, though in a different way.”

What a total shit show. Let me get this straight, Burke’s team will make the playoffs in the next years- ok…. but he is only doing so to appease his bosses? that is they don’t care what they do when they get there- as long as they make it?

Is this really the argument here?

“Engineer the flow of lucrative playoff revenue to the company as fast as humanly possible. Though we don’t hear much anymore from Larry Tanenbaum or Richard Peddie, the troupe objective at Bay and Lakeshore is no different than it was under Pat Quinn, Ferguson or Cliff Fletcher.”

I’m sorry this is udder bunk. Of course MLSE wants to make it back to the playoffs ASAP- does that surprise anyone with a brain?

What Berger is suggesting, without saying it is, MLSE doesn’t care about winning- all they care about is money…

“This is a company that makes money the way our lungs exchange gasses – constantly, involuntarily and with boundless repetition. For MLSE to endure seven calendar years without its hockey flank generating post-season income is contrary to every credo and tenet in the organization.”

besides the fact that statement contradicts itself, should MLSE be a not for profit?????????

“That’s why I’m firmly on-side with the notion of the Leafs making the playoffs by the spring of 2012. It is also the reason that I anticipate such gain may be short-lived and illusory. Fast-tracking success in professional sport – though technically achievable – has never been a preferred method, and it vehemently challenges convention in the post-2005 NHL.”

Ahhhhh yes, all the dealing of the future I see it now. Shedding the crap while building the youngest team in the league all for the sake of just making it… Did he really write this crap?????

“for the Leafs. Another manager may not have jettisoned two first-round draft picks, a second-rounder, and three of his top organizational prospects [Viktor Stalberg, Chris DiDomenico and Phillipe Paradis].”

someone do the math, how many bodies has he jettisoned? say what you want about the Kessel deal (shoot me first though ok) hasn’t every mainstream hockey MSMer applauded the moves criticized by Berger above? not that really matters but wow- how short sided…

“So, if nothing else, Burke has made the Leafs unavoidably different. It matters not – to him or the MLSE gurus – what is yielded in the process… only that it hastily nudges the hockey club closer to the Eastern playoff pool.”

I don’t know, but i am guessing a guy like Burke would find that a tad bit insulting… I just can’t see Burke saying, I am AOkay as long as I get in the playoffs… Hey Dave- will this deal let us squeak in????

Here’s the best part:

“To that end, I believe Burke is succeeding. Whether or not a playoff-bound Leaf team in the next two years has any staying power is questionable and immaterial. The GM has been accorded the task of qualifying for the post-season quickly… and somewhat recklessly if need be. Comparing his formula to convention is therefore irrelevant. Only the results will be measured.”

Immaterial??? If it’s immaterial why did you write the story? If its immaterial does that mean if after 2 years they have made the playoffs you can say it’s still a failure??? I mean what the [email protected]#@!! Anyone, raise your hand if you think that making the playoffs this season only to be bounced in the first round wouldn’t be a HUGE improvement and step in the right direction?????????? Call me crazy, but I think Burke is a man of integrity. I suspect he’s made a enough cash to live comfortably for the rest of his life. Does he love the job/ hell yes. Does he NEED it no. Would he sell his sole just to have it? I don’t see it. I just don’t see him telling his bosses that can get them to the playoffs PDQ so hire him. Is there anyone out there who thinks his primary motivation is survival as opposed to winning? Remember, almost without exception EVERY media member in this town begged MLSE to hire Burke. Is Berger suggesting an out for Burke should he leave- that is- I was forced to throw caution into the wind and rush a rebuild????

I don’t buy it.

On another note- fascinating piece by David Hyde on Chris Bosh:

“Cleveland wants Chris Bosh to join LeBron James. Chicago wants Bosh to be joined by Dwyane Wade. The Heat wants Wade to be joined by Bosh, which might then sway James’ decision.

It’s obvious, as things move forward, that a player who can’t get his team in the playoffs has become the No.1 power broker in the rise or fall of NBA franchises.”

It’s worth a read…

Ask yourselves this have you ever wanted time to move quicker than you do right now?

hockey- free agency has been a bore- everything seems stuck waiting on big domino
nba- see above except it’s three dominoes with 2 of them having enormous ego’s
MLB- that pop you heard was the blue jays season
I know I am alone but I can’t wait for world cup soccer to end if only so folks in my office get back to work
football- although it was only 1 game argos looked no different in years past- bring on NFL

Norma Wick was our guest today on the TSM Pressbox, article will be up in a few hours..She was outspoken, brutally honest and a terrific guest.



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July 7, 2010 6:15 am

Your fascination with Howard Berger, completely baffles me.

The Meatriarchy
July 7, 2010 6:22 am

Your fascination with underlined text baffles me.

mike (in boston)
mike (in boston)
July 7, 2010 7:49 am

i’m so mad at Berger i can’t even close my tags!

mike (in boston)
mike (in boston)
July 7, 2010 7:57 am

every Leafs GM capitulates to the pressure to win now. Burke is no exception. The exacerbating factor is that in addition to trading away draft picks he also overvalued his own acquisitions, resulting in a 29th place finish and losing the #2 pick.

the Leafs will make the playoffs and win a round or two, but if the mandate was to build a team that can compete for the cup then it’s hard to see how this group fits that description.

Jamie Collins
Jamie Collins
July 7, 2010 12:19 pm

Berger is a complete and utter jackass, short and simple. I hope i’m watching the day that either R.W. or B.B. jumps across a table and bites his nose off. Burke is just working for the short term as well as the long, instead of focusing on only one area. Of course he wants to win now as well, the Leafs desperately need to establish a winning attitude in the dressing room, And Burke is bringing in players who are game changers. Burke is also getting rid of the losing attitude (Kaberle is the last is he not) and replacing it with young exciting players. This team will be far more successful than it was last year. Nobody in their right minds expects a cup this year, or anything close, but this team should be more intense, and better able to finish. With B.B. and Nonis, the Leafs are adept at signing college free agents who are highly sought after, as well as drawing other surprising talent. There may not be a ton of prospects, but there will be good prospects! So screw Berger, he’s got a face made for slapping anyway!

July 7, 2010 3:24 pm

Regardless of whether or not you support Burke’s strategy, Bergers writing is awful and like the post in question, flat out dumb. The only reason I want to see him continue to write and attend press conferences is the opportunity to see Wilson or Burke chew him out…that is gold.

As for Burke’s strategy….I don’t know if it’s going to work…but just because it doesn’t include coming in last place 3-4 years in a row to land the #1 pick each year is not enough of a reason to say it’s wrong. Unlike past GM’s, he hasn’t been mortgaging the future by aquiring 35+ year olds with no gas in the tank. Versteeg, Phaneuf, Kessel et al are young.

Nuff said.

July 8, 2010 11:43 am

Was the commentary written by a 14 year old? (Seriously, is this the blog author?)

Regardless of Berger’s problems, the comments are so poorly expressed it’s all I could focus on.

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