Brian Burke’s Hang Up On CFRB


Thanks to those who sent this in.

Take a listen to a rather boring, uneventful interview with Burke. He gets asked about firing Wilson, he gets asked about making the playoffs, there’s 30 seconds on the ad for the new work in dedication in his son’s memory. I’m not being flippant, rather stating that there is nothing new in the interview.

John Moore then takes a wide turn and says to Burke, that the talk is town is that now that the coach is gone the GM should be too. I’ve listened to it a couple of times, and there’s no real question to Burke, and if there is what is he really to say?

Burke’s response is that he hasn’t heard that, that the issue is one for ownership and that he doesn’t appreciate a cheap shot at the end of the interview. Moore rambles a little bit trying to get Burke to comment and then Burke hangs up the phone.

Now, should Moore or his producer tell Burke he is going to ask him that when setting up the interview?

I don’t know. Can some MSMer out there tell me if that’s protocol. If that’s the norm then I think Burke is right.

If Burke or someone at the Leafs asked the question, what are we talking about before accepting the interview and this was withheld then I think Burke’s right too.

If not and it’s literally fly by interviews where everything is “kosher” then I guess I can sort of see Moore’s point. But in retrospect, what’s Burke really supposed to say? He could say, everyone’s entitled to their opinion. He did say that’s up to ownership to decide.

So, media fans, what say you?


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March 6, 2012 3:59 pm

I think Burke already answered the question. By the third “I’m giving you a chance to answer it” he already has. It’s a good thing I am not in a position where dealing with the media is part of my job because I’d hate to be asked that question on air at all.

March 6, 2012 4:44 pm

Dont know why Burke re acted that way….. He seems intent on picking fights with the sports media in TO… his way of drawing attention away from the sub par job he has done as GM of the Leafs….

Paul in Hespeler
Paul in Hespeler
March 6, 2012 5:28 pm

Burke is nothing more than a typical schoolyard bully. He pushes others around, but as soon as someone pushes back he whines, cries and throws a hissy fit. Wonder how many things he smashed after seeing Coach’s Corner on Saturday.

Burke has been a colossal disappointment, many say a failure, in his tenure in Toronto. Seems his only way to cover up his incompetence is to be loud, aggressive and condescending. This is exactly what he did in Vancouver and the media had a field day on him and laughed at him all the way out of town.

Burke’s brashness with the media is because of his constant need to be “the smartest guy in the room”, and belittle others whenever it suits him to cover up his downfalls. Since he has burned so many bridges over the years, the sad thing is that in reality has very few friends — both professionally and personally.

Another Steve
Another Steve
March 6, 2012 5:43 pm

Paul – I understand that you don’t like Burke, that’s obvious, but you state “the sad thing is that in reality [he] has very few friends — both professionally and personally.” You know this how? From all that I have heard, Burke has many friends, both professionally and personally. Or did you just invent last bit up for the sake of rhetorical flourish? If so, it wasn’t necessary to make the point. Yes, Burke is a bit of a bully, and the job that he has done has been very questionable, but he is still a human being, and one who likely does have lots of friends.

I will say this: Burke has made some unfair accusations at some members of the media, but I have never seen him make an ad hominem attack against anyone – although many arguments against him often stoop to the level of ad hominem (re: Cherry).

March 6, 2012 5:46 pm

Isn’t part of his job in an interview to be prepared for any question, no matter how stupid it may seem? If he doesn’t like the question, he can do what he did, hang up. To me, that’s a definitive answer! The correct one…???
Burke is one of the most arrogant guys around. Just listen to any of his interviews and it comes across quite clear. I’m not saying he’s not smart, he just knows he is and wants you to know it as well! He also tends to talk down to people in the media, deservedly or not. There is only so long the media will tolerate this & his sarcasm before they have enough and make an effort to get him wound up! Look at what this is doing for CFRB right now! This is a probably a dream come true for them!
I really feel that, overall, he was not prepared for the media intensity he was going to feel in Toronto. Maybe he thought he could walk in, turn the team around quickly and be the all-conquering hero. Things haven’t worked out so well so far, so he better be prepared, because it’s going to get worse. Just think if the Leafs miss the playoffs again? He can’t hang up on everyone!

Paul in Hespeler
Paul in Hespeler
March 6, 2012 5:50 pm

Another Steve,

A good friend of mine was a neighbour of Burke’s in Vancouver. His company also does work with the NHL. I believe and trust what he says about how few friends Burke has … that is the ones he hasn’t hired. And how do you know “he has many friends”? I suggest that’s pure speculation on your part as you seem to like him and are clearly defending him.

March 6, 2012 6:15 pm

Another great job by Burke today. Signing a floater who disappears for 20 games, comes alive for 5 then disappears again for 20 for only $27.5 million was a bargain. Burke might be good in a market like Anaheim where the team is about the 10th most important sports team in town and where they can hold a Stanley Cup parade in the arena parking lot but he’s proven he can’t handle the pressure of real hockey towns like Vancouver and Toronto. I can’t wait until he’s run out of town, hopefully next season.

March 6, 2012 7:00 pm

Burke is a petulant bully – nothing more. He’s always on the defensive, lashing out at even reasonable questions. I remember one interview not long ago with Michael Landsberg, and while I’m no fan of Landsberg, it was clear Burke had no other intention than to embarrass him on the air for all to see. He just embarrassed himself. Despite his admirable campaign against homophobia, Brian Burke is an egotistical blow-hard who needs to be humbled….not unlike a certain former coach we all know.

March 6, 2012 8:08 pm

40 plus years of ups and downs following the Leafs, I have never once thought of not being a Leaf fan. However the arrogance of Burke has me at that point right now. Let’s face it and let’s be honest if Burke was a head of a company and that company failed to achieve its objectives for 4 years, he’d be fired. If he was your stockbroker or your financial analyst and failed to show growth in your portfolio for 4 years, you’d all fire him.

If the Leafs fail to make the playoffs again you can only blame it one guy. This is why he hangs up on radio hosts and picks fights with tv guys, it’s all a diversion from the fact that he has failed (up to this point) in achieving his objectives.

Paul in Hespeler
Paul in Hespeler
March 6, 2012 8:18 pm

I used listened again to the interview. Was most interesting.

From what I heard, Burke clearly lied about his relationship with Cherry. He said it was good, and that he had never heard the clip from Cherry’s rant before it was just played to him. For someone who feigned ignorance of the Coach’s Corner content it was funny how at 6:30 in the morning had at hand all the stats of Ontario players that not only the Leafs, but other teams hand drafted over the past 3 years. Funny that Burke regularly says “I don’t know” to a lot of simple factual questions asked of him that he should know (such as recent stats etc.), so the radio interview caught him in a big lie.

Was interesting to listen to him not once, but twice rip into the media in general for not accurately reporting his history with Ron Wilson. Seems he took great joy in “setting the record straight.”

And for the question that pissed him off — about the potential of being fired — all I can say is he sounded like a rookie in an interview. If he can’t handle a question like that and spin it properly, well maybe his new employers will remove him and his $4M per year salary.

Plus Burke was scheduled to be on Prime Time Sports with McCown. He blew off the interview after Bob had promoted it for a couple of hours. Grapes came on instead and told his side of the story. For what its worth I am not a big Don Cherry fan, but he had credibility today, was genuine and not at all smug. I truly believe Cherry when he says that Burke tried to have him fired. Burke has a history of doing just that, and even tried to influence people at CTV on behalf of his wife who was in a cat fight with an underling. I somehow doubt we will hear Burke on radio any time soon.

Ami Angelwings
March 6, 2012 8:42 pm

Burke seems to be really fraying at the edges lately… I think his statement that the pressure in Toronto is too much for his players was projection because it seems like he’s starting to crack from the pressure. 🙁 A year or two ago, Burke wouldn’t have reacted like that to Moore (regardless of whether Moore should have told him about the question beforehand) but now he’s in constant fight mode and he just acts like every media person is out to get him and so he’s reacting way more hostile than he would normally. :\

March 6, 2012 8:46 pm

@TWEETER – are you MSM? If so I haven’t read your disparaging pov in the MSM before. Back it up.

@TSM – You reached out to the MSM in your piece to give you a personal opinion on what transpired. Can you give us more credible details.

Comment: I heard a caller recently say that Burke had raced to mediocrity in the way he built his team. Can’t say I disagree with that. Signing Grabovski to 5 years. He’s a nice player, but second line center? Tell me you don’t see problems with that if the team actually contends.

March 6, 2012 10:00 pm

Capn2patch – I have posted stuff a couple times, never realized it was such a restricted club. Hope I haven’t upset you. I thought this was a site to read what’s going on & share opinions. Am I wrong? Is everyone on here a MSM’er? Again, just my thoughts, but I can go back to keeping them to myself.

March 6, 2012 11:04 pm

First off – (re. Cherry vs. Burke) I will take Burke’s side on this. Don Cherry picks on anything or anyone and gets to his pulpit and thinks he is leading and teaching us about how he knows it all and that he was a huge success in the NHL. How many cups did he win in the NHL? How many championships did he win in the OHL with Mississauga? While Burke has done a lot of questionable stuff with this roster, I doubt very much that Burke is black balling Ontario players just because they are from Ontario. That doesn’t not only not make sense, it doesn’t seem like Burke’s stance.

As for Burke and the radio hangup, I don’t think he was right to hang up on the host. Like anyone of us, is it right for us to hang up in the middle of a conversation because we don’t agree with the other person’s stance? It’s childish & the bigger man Burke could’ve been with saying something like, “this interview is over!” and end the interview.

Finally – with Burke signing Grabovski? While Grabo is a good 2’nd line forward he had 58 points last season (as his highest point total in Toronto). How does a 58 point season warrant a $5.5 million? Plus am I wrong to see that he also gets a no-trade clause? How has that worked for Toronto in the past – handing out no trade clauses?

March 6, 2012 11:31 pm

Darrell, all good points but from what I understand it is a restricted no move clause. This means he gives Burke a list of teams he doesn’t want to go to.

With regards to the contract, did you check out the list of available UFA’s? Grabovski would have received that plus more if he went into the open market IMO. After Parise and SutThe figure doesn’t bother me as I think there will be a salary roll back in the next CBA – whats 25% of 27 million?

March 7, 2012 2:49 am

But it’s not an isolated incident, TSM. He has a history of this type of behaviour. And, as I mentioned, Burke does admirable work outside of MLSE, but that doesn’t excuse him from behaving like a bully – and he does.

March 7, 2012 8:03 am

I am going to go out on a limb here and say, Brian Burke WAS NOT brought to Toronto to see how much charity work he could do!!!
Are you kidding me?? It’s not about him educating, teaching, etc. it’s about BRIAN BURKE GETTING THIS TEAM TO THE PLAYOFFS.
And HE has NOT done the job.
I could give a sweet diddly-do what Brian Burke does for charity. It is not what he was brought to Toronto to do. Honest to god, I almost puked when I read the comment about his charity work.
Brian Burke could be the KING of charity work.

March 7, 2012 8:13 am

In fairness to Burke he probably thought this was going to be a “puff” piece (get it, a “puff” piece about gay athletes???) but when Moore, certainly not a sports guy, started grilling him about the Leafs’ performance, it caught the old man off guard.

I personally dislike Burke and predict he will not be managing the Leafs 12 months from now. He’ll have to step down due to personal/health reasons – just watch.

March 7, 2012 9:26 am

My question, why is this news?

The media seems to be pushing this ‘us vs. Burke’ story, which has zero relevance on the team.

That matters is wins and losses, not if Burke is having tea with Steve Simmons.

Is this the Media making themselves the story? Seems like it to me.

mike (in boston)
mike (in boston)
March 7, 2012 9:39 am

well, to be fair, it’s Burke who is the one lecturing the media on how to do their job (Feschuk), referring to the media as “dirtbags”, referring to GMs who ignore the media as “gutless cowards”, and talking about certain papers and columnists as only good for lining your birdcage. the media is just toasting marshmallows on the fire that Burke keeps stoking.

the bully label sticks to Burke precisely because he has made anti-bullying part of his public persona. It’s easy to preach to others, but it’s hard to live by those same words.

March 7, 2012 10:04 am

Moore obviously needed to address Burke as “burkie” and go over all of his questions (off air) prior to conducting the interview. Its all his fault…..

Seriously though, Burke is a bully and also a coward because he can’t handle a fair question about his crappy performance as GM of the Leafs. He’s making JFJ look like Kenny Holland.

Al in Burlington
Al in Burlington
March 7, 2012 10:19 am

I think the pressure of his failure over the past 3 years to do anything to improve this team is catching up to him, and fans and media are becomming bored of his act. He constantly talks about how when they choose players, a big criteria is if they can handle the pressure of playing in Toronto. I guess this philosophy does not apply to management or coaches.

Don Mandrie
Don Mandrie
March 7, 2012 12:33 pm

Not a friend or especially big fan of Burke. But he’s a very good GM with a Stanley Cup to show for it. Yes, you can argue he hasn’t been nearly as good here in Toronto as he was in Anaheim or even Vancouver. But his tenure as Leafs GM is not over yet. It might be a year from now, but I doubt it.

Anyway…Brian Burke did not hang up during the interview. The interview was over. Instead of responding to Moore’s too-cute “have a good morning”, which came after Burke referred to Moore’s question as “gutless”, Burke hung up. I’d suggest it was Moore who was shaken up after being called “gutless”. Instead of defending himself and pushing back, he wrapped up the interview. Burke was waiting for Moore to respond. Moore turtled.

I would suggest actually LISTENING to the final 50 seconds before suggesting that Burke “hung up” during the interview.

March 7, 2012 12:57 pm

In an era where radio becomes less and less relevant by the day, it’s sad to see how CFRB has completely abandonded any journalistic integrity. It used to be one of the greats.

I like Burke. Not a fan of all of his moves but I do like him. In a world where virtually everyone involved in sports provides nothing but stock or cliched answers, he shines.

As for the host on CFRB – sounds like yet another “stock and cliched” angry-white-man radio guy.

I would have hung up, as well.

March 7, 2012 1:32 pm

It appears we want to get into a discussion about what “hang up” means. In my world if one the 2 people in a telephone conversation leaves the conversation upset, does not say bye and hangs up the phone, this is considered a hang up.

March 7, 2012 1:51 pm


Thank you for your racist point of view. Please call again!

Il Duce
Il Duce
March 7, 2012 4:13 pm

Burke can deal with any pressure and has for many years with all things being equal. Unfortunately, life changed for the man when he lost a son in such a tragic way. I have a son and cannot even imagine what state of mind I would be in if I was in Burke’s shoes.

If John Moore is as decent as he proclaims to be, he would have been better off not asking such a question at the end of an interview where the lead in is about his son’s memory. Cut the man some slack when being critical.

Anchors Away
Anchors Away
March 7, 2012 8:27 pm

Hey Drum & Anchor what are you talking about. This site would certainly indicate radio is surviving quite well. Like television, the internet and even print, it delivers content, and content is king. I would guess you’re a disgruntled former radio guy, and if so, your view of CFRB and John Moore might be indicative of why. Moore asked a question a lot of people were asking. If you’ve been in the Toronto area at all lately, you know Burke was being blamed for this disaster at least as much as Wilson was. I think the most important , and overlooked , part of the interview was Burke saying he wasn’t told this was going to be discussed. You can guarantee it wouldn’t have been brought up on The Fan or TSN radio. Why? Because Burke might not agree to another interview for quite some time. He never gets grilled by either station for that reason. CFRB doesn’t care if he won’t do another interview. They don’t treat their interviewees with kid gloves, they ask the tough questions. Nobody in sports radio, including McCown, does that.
While Moore may not be a “sports” guy, he knows how to ask a relevant question. He should be commended for it. It was Burke that screwed up.

March 14, 2012 3:03 pm

seems to me that the owners of the leafs got on control over burke
he can say what he wants, when he wants with no one to answer to..burke is like
someone on the loose. the deals that he’s made to make leafs a better team
would make you throw upppp…and the latest garbo 5.5 million for next five years
with no trade clause… what in the hell is this man thinking or doing to the leafs
if something is not done with burke to stop the bulling, and bull shit that he’s
getting on with the leafs will be poison for years to come.long after bully burke is gone…burke would have gained many pounds in his arssss pocket …poor leaf
fans nothing (sad) come on leaf fans show burke and owners were not asleep
lets crap on them for a chage

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