Toronto Sports Media Day In Review


Interesting day today wasn’t it?

Brian Burke presser was exactly what one would have expected.

Here’s a bit of a round up:

Are you wondering what Carlyle things of the Maple Leafs goalie coach?

“He’s been around the game a long time,” Carlyle said. “He sees the little things I might not. But if you ask any coach, the No. 1 thing you want is (the coach to get the goalie) to stop the puck.”

Brilliant answer don’t you think?

2 interesting takes from the fine folks at the Sun:

“This season’s Burke antics are just not helping the Leafs’ prestigious brand — everything from calling media “scum bags” and “bastards” to those who ask “gutless and ignorant” questions to his widely criticized “quietly and professionally” approaching the CBC over Don Cherry and Ron MacLean on Hockey Night in Canada.

Would Mayor Rob Ford be able to get up on a podium and take the Lord’s name in vain and get away with it? How about Cherry?

Burke did it Tuesday but it was tame compared to how he acted at a Rotman School of business seminar in January where he used phrases like “Jesus Murphy, Jesus Christ and you are out of your God damned mind” to illustrate his point.”

This is not the first time that Burke’s antics have been called into question. It does, however suggest that Burke’s temper, or lack of patience has reached new levels this year.

“Still with new ownership coming in, sources say, there is concern over the $1-billion franchise being used as Burke’s own personal stage show and that it might be time to consider replacing the conductor on this runaway train before it starts to affect people in current positions who will be replaced themselves for not reigning him in.”

Sorry, call for his firing all you want, I don’t see it happening. That’s the wrong move at the wrong time.

The most interesting line from the Sun?

“Burke keeps saying he’s not going to trade away the future just to squeak into the playoffs. But it’s been four years already under his watch and this team appears to be going nowhere. How many years is it going to take for this outfit to make some real progress? It says here that if not for his track record and force of personality, and the fact that he has some key allies (one in particular) in the media, Burke would already be gone.”

Hmmmmm who do you think he’s referring to, and more importantly why do you think that the MSMer has any influence whatsoever?

Steve Simmons asked some great questions, and filed a rather tame article:

“Make no mistake, this is the worst time of Burke’s professional career. With each passing year, the Stanley Cup win in Anaheim seems farther and farther away. His record is what it is in Toronto and that isn’t good. But he was never doubted in Hartford, in Vancouver, in Anaheim, not the way he is doubted now.

Even he knew his past practice of focussing on the good first half — last year it was the good second half — wouldn’t sell anymore. “If somehow we can convince the league to meld two seasons into one, we’ll be fine,” he joked. Sort of. Because you have to grasp on to what is left to hold onto. And that’s about all Burke has at this point, with his finger nails losing grip on his professional slippery slope.”

Good points so far….

“He is still not interested in any five year plans but guess what? Next year is five years on the job for Burke. We have seen him angry, loud, mad, accusing, losing over the past four years and now a step back, at least from public fighting. In the end, he didn’t have to apologize for this disastrous Maple Leafs team he’s given us. Everybody else did it for him.”

Interesting too. I wonder why Simmons appears to be going easy on Burke here.

Are the fans starting to actually matter? David Shoalts suggest perhaps they are:

“However, Burke’s demeanour suggested he is feeling the heat every bit as much as his boss, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. chairman Larry Tanenbaum, who issued his now-famous apology for the 2011-12 season a day earlier.

Burke’s florid complexion and relatively subdued manner suggested a man under much strain and, at one point, he admitted: “This is agonizing. I haven’t slept in a month, two months.”

The problem is, along with trying to find a way to solve the Leafs’ problems, Burke is battling a perception. The vast Toronto audience is convinced the only solution is to blow it up, as the armchair GMs love to say. Such conviction is fuelled by an anger rarely seen among Leafs fans, despite many, many years of failure.”

Burke fired Wilson after the Fire Wilson chants made retaining him impossible. Is it possible that the fans are turning up the heat on the Burke era?

Personally, I think it is the works of James Mirtle that best captured the day:

“He then explained, at least in part, why he never promised one of those five-year rebuilds when he first arrived in Toronto three-and-a-half years ago.

“I’m not a patient person,” Burke said. “I was born impatient and I’m going to die impatient. I don’t like what’s happened here. I don’t like our lack of progress. Obviously I’m driving the bus, I’m ultimately responsible. I’m not happy with where we are today. I thought we’d be farther ahead than where we are right now.”

While Burke’s job is not in danger this off-season after receiving a mild vote of support from ownership, it’s highly likely that another playoff miss would mark his last season in Toronto, putting pressure on him to finally deliver in 2012-13.”

Michae Traikos highlighted to me one of the more interesting parts of the Burke presser:

“The Florida Panthers, who had not made the playoffs the previous six seasons, went from 15th in the Eastern Conference last year to first in their division. But their rebuild is not Burke’s rebuild. “They had a good run,” he said, “and we’ll see if they can sustain that,” he said.”

That’s a big part of the test right? The Panthers spent like crazy last summer to get to the floor. They are in the playoffs and well, the Leafs….. I think it’s the prime example of the different philosophies.

Michael Grange’s focus on the Wilson factor is of interest too:

“The team Burke assembled on behalf of Wilson — apparently — may require an overhaul, or at least some major tweaking.

“We’re not big enough to play it Randy’s way and that’s not optional,” said Burke, who has turned over every player but two on the roster he inherited four years ago. “We can’t play the way Randy wants to play with this group, that’s not possible.”

It was one of the rare revealing moments in what was otherwise a level of doublespeak rarely heard outside Ottawa.”

Burke in the press conference admitted that the one area where he and Wilson weren’t on the same page was that Burke likes to dictate the game and Wilson apparently did not. Burke likes to play bigger and well, Wilson I guess did not. Someone, I think it may have been Simmons asked if the fact they weren’t on the same page meant perhaps the move should have been made earlier. Burke wasn’t buying that.

Curious what you thought of Damien’s post on the MLSE’s apology:

“Understand, sorry is just way to avoid having to explain. That’s what your 13-year-old is hoping for when he breaks a basement window and quickly apologizes, and why he gets such a pained look on his face when you say, “Well, what were you thinking?”

If I were a Leaf fan, I’d be offended by this corporate missive disguised as sincerity. The only thing Tanenbaum should be sorry about is paying a PR flack or consultant to come up with this pointless corporate strategy. Don’t tell me you’re sorry. Offer me a refund. Or tell me how it went wrong in meaningful detail and what organizational and personnel changes you’re going to make to deal with the problem. ”

So, that was the day, oh, and the Blue Jays won!!!

All is well in the world again right?

Meanwhile, want to give out an award for the dumbest article ever written? Here is your winner


photo from here

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