Whom Are The Toronto Sports Media Dirtbags?


“My relationship with certain dirtbags in the media is terrible, because they’re dirtbags & I don’t respect them”

Brian Burke on TSN Radio with James Cybulski

Great, really good listening on TSN radio today as Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke appeared with Cybulski and company.

Two things occurred to me as I listened to the interview, 1, I am not sure that there is a better interview subject in the Toronto sports scene when he wants to be then Burke. Love him or hate him, he is fun to listen to. 2, Cybulski and Co. just keeps on getting better. It remains to me a good alternative to McCown. I know, I am in the minority who feel that way, but it is what it is.

Burke had some great lines in the interview, most you’ve heard before, but to me the highlights were when he talked about the media and his relationship with the press.

Burke answered the same way he answered me when I interviewed on the pressbox that he thinks in general or as a group the Toronto press corp are really good, professional and responsible. He then added the line above about a few select reporters who believes are disingenuous and are out to either get him, his coach or his players.

Burke was at his best when asked about incidents with the CBC and the Toronto Star. He said that he doesn’t wake up every morning thinking of which media member he can pick a fight with. Rather things happen that he can’t let go. He felt that the CBC has been unfair to his coach and he wasn’t going to let that go. On the subject of the Toronto Star calling a players mom for an injury report, Burke said “it’s not like I woke up and said, I hope some imbecile called a player’s mom to ask about an injury!; how unprofessional can you get?” Burke did explain that he had no issue if a reporter wanted to talk to a parent about a pee-wee coach or something but an injury he deems offside.

The other stuff from the interview:

– “It’s very hard to watch what happened last night and not wonder if we have enough goaltending. But before you shovel dirt on Jonas Gustavsson, in my opinion he has saved our season. The only reason we’re in the hunt is because of him; the reason we are even talking about a playoff spot is because of Jonas Gustavsson.”

– “I don’t like the deadline, we make the most mistakes at the deadline. I try to make all my moves well in advance of the deadline. I think the deadline gets confusing. There’s 20 shopping carts at two registers; it’s nuts and people make big mistakes. I told Dave Nonis two weeks ago: I said ‘I don’t like the way this is shaping up. I don’t think we’re going to do anything until closer to the deadline and we may have to be one of those people that figure it all out at the check-out register on the 27th.”

– “The reason the fans don’t like our coach is because the media doesn’t like our coach”

– “We do not have a firm offer on the table for Rick Nash,”

– ” I usually give up alcohol for Lent for the month of February because it has the shortest number of days, but this year I did it for the month of January because February has 29″

So, Dave Feschuk wrote the Reimer piece. We know he’s considered a dirtbag.
Ron Maclean/Don Cherry go after Wilson. They’re “dirtbags”
Steve Simmons called Burke out for going to visit the troops on FA day; that earns him the Dirtbag label
I feel that Damien has a love hate relationship with Burke, so not sure if he is a Burke Dirtbag same with McCown.

Who else are Burke’s dirtbags????

You can hear the Burke interview here

By the way, you may recall I wrote an article for that now bankrupt sports magazine over the summer in which I interviewed Burke (no the [email protected]#@!#[email protected] never paid us for writing for them too 🙂 ) Anyways, here is what Burke told me about James Reimer and the keys to the Leafs success this coming season:

“There is not doubt that as the calendar turns October, nobody will bear more of the pressure of a seemingly playoff-or-bust campaign than James Reimer. The goalie of the future has quickly become the goalie of the present.

“The biggest key to our success and I hate putting pressure on a young man, but the biggest key to our success is James Reimer.”

The Leafs aren’t expecting horseshoes from the young goalie, but there is no doubting the 23-year-old is of vital importance to team success this season. “We don’t need him to stand on his head every night. We need him to play at the consistent level that he demonstrated for 30 games last year, we need him to be for real and that gives the chance to win. He’s the lynch pin.”

Comparing the need of goaltending to pitching in baseball, Burke explains the corrosive effect of poor goaltending on all positions of a hockey team. “If a teams players don’t have confidence in a goalie it corrodes everything. It corrodes your offensive attack, it corrodes your defensive zone coverage, it corrodes your gamblers instinct, it corrodes your quickness, your transition game.”

Critics, of course wonder how the Leafs could put all of their hopes in one, still-unproven goalie. Burke is matter of fact when it comes to Reimer. “If he’s not ready to go and we have to go get a goalie then that’s what we will do.”

Perhaps now that the magazine has gone bust I will re-print that article here.

By the way, have you ever used the word “acolytes” either in a sentence or a scrabble game? Does it mean bathrobe?

And yes, to those emailing me, i see all the comments about duck duck bruce you guys are posting, keep up the good work!


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February 23, 2012 1:09 am

I know the word acolyte, but i read a lot of old time genre fiction.

Tsm, before you post that burke article, how about the msm 2011 fan vote?

Another Steve
Another Steve
February 23, 2012 5:36 am

I am reading this way too early in the morning, so I can’t tell if it’s intentional or not, but your title should say “who” (are….). “Whom” is an object pronoun only, not a subject pronoun.

Again, maybe this was intentional – sorry for this, if that’s the case.

February 23, 2012 5:38 am

“The reason the fans don’t like our coach is because the media doesn’t like our coach”

The fans don’t like him cause he’s an ass in general, and he’s done a terrible job since he got here.

Another Steve
Another Steve
February 23, 2012 5:43 am

Acolyte means “follower,” by the way.

itchy butt
itchy butt
February 23, 2012 6:59 am

Good old Bully Burke. Scares the crap out of all the sycophant media lest they lose their ACC previleges. Let’s put things into perspective here:

Season GP W L OTL Pts GF GA Finish Playoffs
2006–07 82 40 31 11 91 258 269 3rd, Northeast Did not qualify
2007–08 82 36 35 11 83 231 260 5th, Northeast Did not qualify
2008–09 82 34 35 13 81 250 293 5th, Northeast Did not qualify
2009–10 82 30 38 14 74 214 267 5th, Northeast Did not qualify
2010–11 82 37 34 11 85 218 251 4th, Northeast Did not qualify

He should STFU and get a decent coach/team on the ice.

itchy butt
itchy butt
February 23, 2012 6:59 am

Damn spelling……sorry.

mike (in boston)
mike (in boston)
February 23, 2012 7:58 am

The reason the fans don’t like our coach is because the media doesn’t like our coach.

Brian Burke should stop selling this line, because no one is buying. Frankly, it makes him sound like an idiot. Wilson has been the coach of a perennially losing team whose special teams performance has been sub-par. From what i gather, that is the standard coaching metric. If Burke wants to debate that standard, fine. But to try to blame to media is pathetic, and insulting to fans.

Burke did explain that he had no issue if a reporter wanted to talk to a parent about a pee-wee coach or something but an injury he deems offside.

In response to the criticisms about the leafs selling apparel with fox fur, Burke said he disagreed with the criticism, but nothing more. Here he says that asking a parent about an injury is offside, but does not say why. He’s starting to edge into Cherry territory — this is wrong because i say so, and i’m not going to try to articulate an argument, i’ll just bully you if you disagree.

/the TSM editor should take a 2nd look at that headline.

Steve from Waterloo
Steve from Waterloo
February 23, 2012 10:11 am

The reason that I have no respect for Wilson is not because the media told me to feel that way. It is because he shows so little respect for others, is a smart ass in his responses to the media, he’s cocky and arrogant, oh, and his coaching record in Toronto is not very good.

BB – I respect you as a smart hockey guy, but please, show me, a fan, a little respect , in that I can come to my own conclusions and observations. I don’t think what the media tells me to think. That’s insulting.

Steve R
Steve R
February 23, 2012 10:23 am

Burke may be a good GM, but he is an overbearing bully who thinks no one is entitled to an independent opinion. Which is also Wilson’s modus operandi so they fit well together. It would sure be nice to see the Leafs have management that can give an interview without sneering at every question. While the Raptors are no better record wise at least their coach.GM are good interviews and treat people with a respect.

February 23, 2012 10:32 am

What bankrupt magazine are we talking about?

February 23, 2012 10:46 am

It is the content that has made Cybulski and co. even remotely listenable. TSN having such a strong hockey team is propping up the radio side. Cybulski’s cadence/delivery and amateurish style is awful. When there is little hockey news TSN radio may struggle mightily.

February 23, 2012 12:22 pm

Cybulski and Company is a great alternative to the FAN.

Ami Angelwings
February 24, 2012 2:18 am

There’s a lot of reasons to like Burke: his support of our troops, his support of his son when he came out and his subsequent support for queer rights, the loyalty he shows to his employees, that he puts principles ahead of winning, that he’s progressive on players wearing visors…

unfortunately, none of those are related to improving the Maple Leafs (except his principles, I often wonder if that’s making things worse because he’s passing up on opportunities that other GMs don’t pass up on, and his loyalty is keeping around inferior personnel)… so while I like him (generally) as a person (except for the bully part) and his support for the LGBT community is wonderful and his love for his late son is amazingly touching… I really am starting to wonder if he’s a good GM, or especially, if he’s a good GM for the Leafs, I don’t feel much more hope for the team and the future this year than a few years before (we have some more prospects but none of them seem to be future superstars in the making) AND 2 of our players are having career years as is. 😐

And I’m worried he’s never going to fire Ron Wilson >_>

I love a lot of thing about Burke and I’m proud to have him associated with Toronto because of those things, but… none of those things are about the main part of his job: making the team good. If he was president or something, I’d be really happy because then we can have his positive influence with stuff like queer inclusivity in hockey, while having somebody else building the team.

mike (in boston)
mike (in boston)
February 24, 2012 9:13 am

just listened to the interview.

TSN: you seem to enjoy fighting with the media. Is there a reason why you don’t just ignore them?

BB: because i’m not a gutless coward.

i stand by my earlier comparison with Cherry. Look for Bully Brian to start calling people “pinkos” next month.

February 24, 2012 9:46 pm

1st time i have ever heard a GM of a Toronto sports team call the Toronto media “dirtbags”.

There will be media payback for this good luck Burke.

February 24, 2012 11:17 pm

He’s been derogatory to the media in each town he’s managed in…isn’t he the problem?

February 25, 2012 12:03 am

Is there a more defensive coach/GM pairing in the NHL than Brian Burke and Ron Wilson? Burke loses more of what little credibility he has left every time he opens his mouth to play the martyr.

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