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Maple Leaf damage-control spin masters have been out doing their job

I was determined to pass on my inclination to detail further my consternation with how Brian Burke is still held in such high esteem in these parts as I don't want to spend an inordinate amount of time and space here knocking the Leaf brass.  It's just that, for me, there is evidence that suggests that, while we should indeed not be unfairly negative, neither should Leaf fans just accept at face value the "plan" and accompanying and oh-so-obvious public relations exercise that emanates from MLSE's hockey offices these days.

Having already written on this subject in recent weeks, I was going to "let it go", but then I thought back to a recent James Mirtle piece in the Globe which quoted Burke as saying he is "inclined" to keep his number-one pick this summer.

Whatever, I thought.  Keep it.  Trade it.  Just do what's best for the club.

But then I continued reading, and this set me off.  Burke claimed "we're already getting offers for the pick...".

C'mon.  I mean, really, c'mon.  As I just said, I don't necessarily care if the Leafs keep the pick or trade it, provided they make what turns out to be a good decision.  But are we supposed to believe that NHL GM's are "already" approaching Burke, when they don't have any idea where the Leafs will finish, and what they're actually trading for?  It's just unbelievable, and it's absurd that we fans listen to this stuff- and still believe it, at this point.

It's like all those draft choices Burke could have had - what is it, four "first-rounders"-  this past deadline?  Sure.  And oh yes, he has said before he could have traded Kadri for a high first-round lock in 2010 and didn't do it- just to prove he was right in selecting Kadri.

And people are still buying all this stuff?

In any event, this all leads me two comment on two articles I also came across of late that were noteworthy, at least for me.  (While I try not to read a lot of mainstream media stuff, lest readers think I am borrowing story ideas,  I do try to have a sense, at least, of what people are commenting about out there...)  One was published on NHL.com and the other was in the Toronto Sun.  Both pieces focused on how the Maple Leaf “build” is very much on track, and how fans should not let the last month or so (now closer to two months or more) deter them from appreciating all the great work Brian Burke has done to correct what was - and here's the spin again - an absolute mess that he inherited in November of 2008.

Now for me, the most interesting things about those articles is not that they said anything that we, as fans, don’t already know or understand, but that they were primarily made up of quotes from Dave Poulin and Dave Nonis—Burke’s most senior lieutenants. (Just a few days ago, Rick Dudley jumped into the game, telling the Fan 590 how great Joe Colborne will be next season as our second line centre...)

What is clear is that this is part of a well-orchestrated effort to “sell the plan” to an increasingly disenchanted fan base- and do so through the media.  And that’s fine, I suppose.  Political parties, of course, do this all the time.  They send out their “spin doctors” to weave a tale of success, good intentions and to deliver messages that will (they hope) obscure certain realities and nudge people to re-think their negative position.  We know that, for just as long, corporations have done much the same thing.  Stock price plummets?  Sell the media a better story.  Profits take a hit?  Craft a better message and push it out there.

Look, I've said said here many times before:  Burke went to great lengths to proclaim he had no patience for a five-year plan, yet that is what we are  (at minimum) in the midst of.  That's fine, but he has never admitted how misleading that statement was and how wrong he has been in that regard.

So when I see the Burke supporters (apologists?) over-reaching more than a bit to find the words to express that, hey, he has really done a good job, after all, well, it's all too rich for me.

What are these points that his supporters (either from the Maple Leaf inner sanctum, the media, or Leaf fans themselves) put out there?

  • He’s only in “year three” of his re-build
  • The players have let him down
  • The schedule has been tough for the Leafs
  • Wilson wasn’t a good coach
  • Injuries have slowed progress
  • Burke hasn’t had high-enough draft choices to work with
  • The goaltending has awful
  • The guy has built winners before; he has the "track record"
I can’t devote an entire chapter to this, but let’s briefly look at each of the above points

He’s only in year three

Actually, as I keep saying, he is well into year four.  He was hired In November, 2008.  I presume Burke has been paid the whole time, not just the last “three years”.  (Quick aside: it was obvious to every living, breathing hockey person in the world at the time that he was heading here well before that, but I’ll set that aside.  It’s not like he was telling Cliff Fletcher what to do in hiring Ron Wilson, or trading Steen, right?)  So far, Burke has had four trading “deadlines”, three free-agent classes to work with and three summer entry drafts.  Has this been enough time to build a Cup team?  No.  A contender?  Perhaps.  A playoff team?  Absolutely.

Remind me how it is, this far along the "re-build", that many fans are reduced to cheering for a high draft pick?

The players have let him down

Well, I guess every time a team does not win, the players are to blame and they’ve let someone (coach?) down.  But who signed the players?  Who traded for these players?  Who said (on several occasions, for each of the past two seasons) that this was/is a playoff team?  The GM’s job is to identify talent, sign it, acquire it, draft it and develop it.  It is premature to judge Burke in this regard?  Somewhat.  Much of his work is still in the relatively early stages, without question.  But to say that “the players have let him down”, for me, misses the point.  This is his team.  He got rid of virtually everybody who was here before—except Reimer, Grabbo, Kulemin and Schenn.

The schedule thing

This always makes me smile.  (I’m sure any player working for a Western Conference team must shake their head at this one…)  What is it that we believe we are hard done by as a result of  the NHL schedule?  Is it because, twice this season, we have played a late afternoon (5pm) road game (in Carolina and Washington) after a 7pm game in Toronto the night before?  Because when I go through the actual schedule, and see how few “back-to-back” games the Leafs have actually played in the past couple of months (and the frequent days off they have had between games in so many cases), it only adds up to one thing: just another excuse.

Wilson  

Well, we have discussed this one here for years.  We can debate whether Wilson was a "good" coach here or not.  What’s shocking to me was to find out that Burke kept a guy around for three and a half years, even though they evidently disagreed on the fundamental concept of how “rough” a team they should ice.  That’s shocking to me.  (As an aside, while I was not a fan of Wilson’s demeanor with the media, I have long given him credit for being a solid NHL coach.  He had fairly strong success in Anaheim, Washington and San Jose, and by Burke’s own publicly-stated views, Wilson was a top NHL coach who “would be employed next week if I fired him today…” as he said a while back.

Injuries

In fact, the Leafs have been remarkably lucky compared with many teams in the Eastern Conference both last season and this.  Yes, the Leafs are dealing with injuries now (Lupul and Kulemin), but the season was going south before they got hurt.  The defence has been amazingly healthy, and Kessel, Grabovski, etc. have played game in and game out, while other teams have seen top performers and key role-players down for extended periods of time.

Not able to get high picks

That Burke hasn’t had the opportunity to draft high in the first round is certainly not because the team has been so good.  He traded the rights to what turned out to be the second overall pick to Boston when obtaining Kessel.  (Was it the fans’ fault, or that of Don Cherry, or the media, that he completely mis-read the team he was building in his first few months on the job?)  We all know that "pick" turned out to be Seguin, Boston's leading scorer and top plus/minus player at the age of 20.  The 9th overall in 2010 went  to Boston (Hamilton, the outstanding your defence prospect) as well.  Burke took Kadri with a high pick the other year.  Hey, I like Kessel as much as the next guy.  Kadri, too.  But it is what it is. Burke could have had more "high" draft picks. He chose to go in another direction.

Goaltending

I actually like both goalies. (I won't go through all the many points I've raised in previous posts about both goaltenders...) But  if that was the problem, who signed and kept both those goaltenders with no apparent safety valve?

On his track record

Well, here’s the short reality version.  He has none—not when it comes to building a “winning team”.  Hartford?  Too small a sample size.  But in Vancouver, he had six years, was given a great opportunity to do precisely what he wanted to do with the roster and won a grand total of one playoff series.  In Anaheim, he inherited a really good team already well on their way, added some pieces and yes, won a Cup.  Here in Toronto, this is his second big “build” project.  No playoffs in four seasons.  Between Vancouver and Toronto, he has had two chances to make the teams in his own image and the result (so far) is one playoff round won in 10 seasons.

I don't see the track record.

In case some may misconstrue what I am saying (and not saying):  Burke is a shrewd hockey guy, like many in the field.  But he didn't invent the position of General Manager, which you would think he did if you listen to him long enough.  He has done some really good things, brought in some fine players.  Unitl the last several weeks, the Leafs were definitely a more entertaining team than they had been.  He has built (I’ll say it yet again) a fast, young team- at least they played young and fast until Carlyle got ahold of them. There is more “depth” in the system than we had under Ferguson, for sure, though as I've posted here before, Ferguson left some good pieces too, like the aforementioned Reimer, Kulemin and Schenn, as well as Tlusty, who was traded by Burke for nothing.

Maybe Ashton will be great.  Colborne, Frattin and Kadri too (I like Frattin a lot).  If someone wants to nominate the Leaf brass for minor-league executives of the year, go ahead.  But words and promises of future performance don't matter to me anymore when it comes to this management group. I understand that  a good organization needs to build a good depth chart.  It is part of future success.  Still, I thought the priority was the big club, not a run to the AHL championship.

In any event, I just don’t feel the inclination, or the need, to pump Burke's tires.  Especially not when he's doing it himself-  and  has his own people out on the road doing that plenty these days.

28 comments:

  1. Excellent post. This is exactly what I have been thinking the last 3-4 months.

    The only thing I would add is that people have a right top be upset with Burke and it is because of his own words. He promised the not a 5 year rebuild, he promised a tough, truculent team, he has told us this is a playoff team for the last 2 years. No one else has shot thier yap off and then failed to deliver. If the guy would just shut up (much like he has the last two weeks or so)the fans would not be in such a foul mood. A big reason why people are pissed is because we took him at face value and he has failed to live up to HIS OWN promises. This rests on no shoulders but Burke.

    Just an excellent post Michael. Spot on.

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  2. We're on the same page, Willbur. Thanks.

    While Burke has been quiet lately, I think what annoyed me is the fact the his "people" have been out trying to peddle the message. I wish they would all be quiet, just do their jobs, and let the results on the ice speak for themselves.

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  3. I am no Burke apologist but I could go with "The players let him down."

    Conolly, Kulemin and Armstong did not put up the numbers I would expect. They are having career low years. If just those three player had played like last year...we might be in the playoffs.

    Liles is -12 while Gardiner is plus 1. You expect more out of Liles.

    Phaneuf has had some defensive mistakes go in the net and he didn't even try to recover. You expect more from a captain.

    Komisarek -14 in just 41 games?

    These and other players need to have better numbers next year or Burke is done...

    Or Burke needs to do something. Trade some of these players in a magical deal that gets better players, like in other deals (Lupul, Gardiner, Phaneuf...)

    The players need to play better next year and the Leafs make the playoffs or Burke needs to pull off a monster deal that benfits the team for years to come...there is no other way Burke can keep his job.

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  4. Thanks DP. I always appreciate your perspective.

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  5. Re: DP

    Players did let him down....but they are players he brought in. He just signed Liles to a 4 year deal - before he came back from concussion (and who played absolutely terribly upon his return). Komisarek has been terrible each and every season he has played here. Perhaps he has good runs for maybe a dozen games, but he's never been better than a 5/6 guy. And he costs 4.5M and has a NMC. Why, Burke?

    We knew what we were getting with Connolly. He's been injured for part of the year, and he's a pass-first centre. He's been playing limited minutes on the 3rd line. You can't expect him to put up big points there.

    I have to agree wholeheartedly with Michael's post: this is Burke's team, and its failure rests entirely on him. He had a chance to do something at the trade deadline - as the team collapsed he could have traded some players for futures, or so he says (and we know he often isn't that honest). He could have added players - yes it would have cost assets, but it might have helped the team. He stood pat. And as a result, this season, like the seasons before, rest on his shoulders.

    I think he has one more season to right this ship. If we're not a playoff team next year, he has to be gone.

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  6. Thanks goosemonster....I would like to see less "talk" and ego-driven media stuff and more results, bottom line.

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  7. The only thing you are way off is that he shouldn't get credit for Anaheim. What he took over was a team that prior to the lockout failed to make the playoffs. Yes they had a lot of prospects in place but that ignores that he assembled the most important parts of that team. The teams three best dmen (on a team whose strength was their defense core) is not something to be thrown out. He paid the most for Niedermayer, he gave up the package for Pronger and he made the move for Beauchemen. I distinctly remember JFJ turning down Kaberle and Steen for Pronger, competent gms make those moves, idiots don't. Signing Teemu and dealing for Marchant also didn't hurt their chances of winning.

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  8. Michael, great post as always.

    Like I have said before, I could have been described as a Burke apologists as recently as 2 months ago but my opinion of BB has started to change. I am definetly viewing his moves with a more sceptical eye now.

    If there was one thing I wish he would do is just SHUT THE @(!@ UP once in a while and focus on doing more to build a succesful team instead of just spouting more hot air. The example you cited in this post about BB claiming other teams have already asked about the availability of the #1 pick is a prime example. I mean really Brian? Who are you trying to fool Brian?

    I realize that Burke can't help himself when he is near a microphone but besides the pitiful performances of his team, it's all his empty promises and claims that leave fans disenchanted.

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  9. Fair points, Anon.

    My intent is not to diminish his achievement in Anaheim (he did, as you cite, make moves that made a difference in their success) but to simply say that he had a very good base left to him by Bryan Murray. The team was on its way, in my view.

    When it comes to his two major "building" projects- Vancouver and Toronto- the results are, to this point, not stellar.

    Thanks Anon.

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  10. Thanks Carm, well said.

    If Burke could only realize that he does not need to inflate himself here. We all know he is a smart hockey man. We don't need plans (because plans can change; things happen, we get it...) we just need to see a GM that does his job quietly and professionally, like Jim Gregory did here many years ago.

    If his team does well, he'll be well-thought of. Full stop.

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  11. Well Michael, you've covered the subject well. I, like many, cut Burke and his team a lot of slack the last 3 years for a variety of reasons. Rather than analyze the "why's" of what happened this season, I'm more inclined to look at what Burke actually did once the season was underway. A GM continually needs to look at his team and make moves to improve the team.

    1. First move was acquiring Steckel. By-in-large a good move, in that they added a big defensive forward with very good faceoff skills. Something Wilson and Carlyle have exploited.
    2. With Reimer injured, Leafs goaltending situation was getting tested, and Burke elected not to bow to pressure, and seriously seek out a veteran goalie. I too like Reimer and The Monster, but not having a backup plan just doesn't make sense.
    3. Then Burke extends Wilson. This made no sense to me. Yes the team was playing well, but there were no assurances they were going to make the playoffs. Why not re-sign in the spring?? Wilson has a good coching record yes, but his playoff record is pretty sad.
    4. Burke sends Orr down to the AHL. A wise move, but why all the fanfare and news conference??? Just stupid.
    5. Burke signs Liles to 4 year extension. What?? This guy is an offensive puck moving defencemen but is weak in his own zone. When he was acquired Leafs needed a puck mover, but with Gardiner's emergence, do we need Liles for 4 years? Bad move unless you plan on trading him in near future.
    5. Team goes into a tail-spin in February and playoff hopes slide away and Burke does nothing!!! The tradeline is there, and he could make some moves to improve the team for next year or years later, and he does nothing! Missed opportunity. Oh sorry he traded Aulie for Ashton. An okay move, but little immediate impact.
    6, Signs Grabovski to a new contract with a big raise. I have questions about this signing, but sine I know many fans like Grabo and this deal, I'll call it a wash.
    7. Burke fires Wilson. Well someone had to take the fall, and he's the first guy in line. Sorry Ron. Not sure I'd go out and hire a coach who got fired earlier in the season, but he does have a good track record.

    Bottom line I haven't been impressed with Burke's actions (or lack thereof) this year. He sure as hell better make certain this team makes the playoffs next year, or his head will be on the chopping block. The fans and the media are losing their patience.

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  12. Another great post, TML_fan.

    You've covered the timeline well. GM's moves can always be debated- we all understand that.

    You've focused on his activity; I've more looked at "the other stuff". Combined, we need to see something better.

    Thanks. Good stuff.

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  13. A lot of Burke's "theatricks" and his PR stuff is a bit of ego, combined with a strong desire to promote the team in front of the media, owners, and season ticket holders. I don't like it, but I do understand the purpose, and just look past it all. That being said, I don't want to hear any excuses (or apologies for that matter), just make the team better Brian! This season I don't think his actions have improved the team much, and next year will likley determine his fate in Toronto.

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  14. Michael:

    Mar 26, 2012

    Michael:
    Have found your comments and those of your followers at high level of thought, insight compared to Yahoos posting on Yahoo.

    With recent retirement spending more time on Internet. Grew up in Toronto area but have lived in Atlanta for many years now. Perhaps I can add another perspective on Brian Burke.

    1. How to seize failure from the Jaws of Success

    It would appear that this man has appointed himself the "King of GMs" and in doing so has created one of the largest cons ever.

    Reading of various Toronto blogs, media, etc. suggests that what Leaf fans need is a reality check.

    I have just witnessed the demise of the Thrashers due to Care-Less management and G. Buttman. This provides a unique vantage-point.

    Thrashers had limited budget, limited fan support (Atlanta only supports winners and football), and what appeared to be a world-class lousy GM (Don Waddell). By all comparisons, Toronto as the wealthiest franchise in the NHL should be able to be an annual contender for the Stanley Cup.

    You should have to work really hard in the Toronto environment to fail (Montreal appears to have a similar problem – where is Sammy Pollock when you need him).

    Note: I wonder whether the Leafs new owners have enough interest in being a fan to require winning? Or is it just an investment and a way to increase pay per view.

    2. You are only as Good as your Players

    As a hockey coach, I learned that the better players I had, the better the team played/grew. Getting the players and their development is the GMs job.

    Many in Atlanta blamed Waddell and coaches for the bad record . Hindsight suggests it was the silver-spoon boys who didn't really want a hockey team). Strange to say, the Winnipeg Jets who are mainly the same Waddell team are ahead of the Leafs, and other maligned teams and notoriously mismanaged teams are above or equal to the ineptness of the Leafs. This despite the King of GMs in Toronto.

    3. Core of Team

    I am not sure whether this concept of Top Six Forwards, Top 4 Defenceman and top Goaltender is an invention of Burke or Not. However, it would appear that Toronto have four total? Based on the record, it does not appear that the heralded farm system has any saviours.

    The Leaf team is populated with primarily interchangeable parts, which will not get the job done.

    4. Ontario Players

    While most seem to dislike Don Cherry's rants, sometimes he may be right. Since all Leafs are just interchangeable hockey mercenaries, it would seem to make sense to build caring about results instead of just pay would be a positive step.

    5. Panic Setting In?

    It would appear that the Rebuild Plan (four years?) is in trouble, and management is moving to damage control. It seems like they excel in this area.

    This team is built with a fast, offensive style with defensive weaknesses. Now, it is changing coaches and adopting a boring hockey philosophy. In most business you would be considered to have a business model mismatch that you are in limbo with no real direction. In Atlanta, at this point, people would be voting with their feet, and it would be time to relocate.

    In conclusion, it would appear that after four years Mr. Burke is as close to "Seizing failure from the Jaws of success" as seizing success. His job performance evaluation is coming up and his promises (cons) will/should be reviewed. Michael, your analysis suggests his resume is not as strong as he thinks.

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  15. RLMcC

    Thank you very much for a thorough and insightful post. I hope you'll drop by often.

    I won't try to touch on all your points, but I nodded throughout.

    Like other old-timers, I'm sure, I smiled at your reference to Sammy Pollock in Montreal. Even Sam made mistakes, but he made enough brilliant moves that his "misses" didn't much matter!

    I like how you're broken this all down. I hope people read your comments. Your perspective from Atlanta is relevant and very helpful- especially as we note where the Jets are now.

    Thanks.

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  16. One thing that has changed in recent years is the power of the fan base, by way of fan-based media, like VLM. (Don’t worry Michael, we don’t think for a minute that you are getting your ideas from the mainstream, it is pretty obvious that they are mining this site and others for their ideas and to get a sense of the mood of the fans.) Some weeks ago I read an excellent article in MLHS (I am sorry with all the information I take in I cannot even remember the topic let alone the writer). Anyways, in this article the writer insinuated that the fans have no influence on internal hockey politics so whatever happens in the inner sanctum happens in a vacuum so suck it up. No pun intended.) I would argue that the opposite is true. On account of fan-based media, the influence of fans on management is acutely felt. Our ideas are shared and quite obviously, mined by the mainstream media and magnified for all, including management and ownership, to see.

    I am as confused as everyone else by this season. However, the firing of Ron Wilson has left me with a dark feeling about the influence that the fan base might have on the unfolding reality of the team. It certainly should serve as a warning for those who have to face the cameras and scrums about the persona they present (Brian Burke being a prominent example) and helps explain why recent heads of state have more in common with the Stepford Wives than flesh and blood human beings. I am digressing, I realize, but there is a lot going on. At any rate, this is what I think we have to do: Take a deep breath and remain calm. My reason for calling for calm is not because Michael’s criticisms are not relevant, they are. It more has to do with not letting our anger get the better of us and making the situation worse than it is. Because, like it or not, the fans have great influence now and mob-like chanting is just the end result of this influence.

    The hiring process of Brian Burke was not unlike the recent procurement of fighter jets. A committee of one made a binding decision that appears to have been secretive, poorly reasoned, without sufficient input and critical thought. Of course, this season, like others, is a disaster. Now, instead of Brian Burke's entertaining blarney, the spin-doctoring is in full evidence for all to see. Obviously, they are trying to buy time. We can see that. However, I think that our interests as fans are better served by giving them that time.

    Will Joe Colborne fill the net as a second line centre next season? Gee Rick, I don’t know. I guess your boss is hoping so. The Kessel trade, for all his eye-popping talent, is looking more and more like the dog I feared at the time that it would become. However, that move was borne of impatience and irrational exuberance, qualities we are better served to avoid at this time. As Michael points out, Burke cannot point to enough tangible on-ice or balance sheet success to back his bluster at this point, so he had best shut his mouth. On the other hand, I think we have to admit, a number of interesting pieces are falling into place, albeit with unknown results. While the results are not yet there, I think we have to be calm and not stress management any more than they already are, lest they fall into panic mode and start making irrational moves that undo what they have done. In short, we have to let this season go, relax and become AHL fans for a time. Let’s see what Dallas Eakins and his staff can do.

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  17. Of your many outstanding comments here, Bobby C., this is one of your finest (and there have been many, so I mean that as a high compliment...)

    I think you are right. It is time to step back, turn our attention to the Marlies and see how things unfold in the months ahead.

    As I said above to Carm, we all know Burke is good at what he does. So don't tell us, just do it.

    Thanks Bobby.

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  18. Kieran Brett, Hockey AlmightyMarch 26, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    A great post, thanks!

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  19. Long suffering Leafs fanMarch 26, 2012 at 7:57 PM

    No disrespect to the great song writer and singer Neil Diamond "Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show". I would like to dedicate this song to all Leafs fans.

    Another loss season
    and the fans of the Leafs heads are hanging down
    and the media is buzzing all around

    Stay tune
    to the press conference
    And the sound of that good spin beat

    Sits a table of mic's
    where there ain't no sweets
    and that spin group
    telling you and me

    -Chorus-
    It's true
    GM Burke's Traveling Spin Show
    pick up the young fans
    grab the old one's too
    everyone has faith
    everyone believe's
    GM Burke spin show

    Room gets suddenly still
    and when you almost fret
    that there is no hope he walks in

    eyes ice cold
    and when he loosens his tie
    every ear and pen in the room is on him

    Clearing his throat
    like a small earthquake
    and when he speaks
    half of Leafs nation shakes

    Just believe, believe
    GM Burke's traveling spin show

    -His message-
    Trust me when I say
    by this time next season things will be better
    in our system, I know this to be true
    trust me
    I will never stray from the plan
    just believe, just believe, just believe

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  20. That's outstanding, Long Suffering- what can I add??!!

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  21. Long suffering Leafs fanMarch 26, 2012 at 9:05 PM

    I getting a little tied of hearing the poor O' Burke.

    He did not hire the coach.
    He did not have much to work with.
    There was not much in the system.

    Enough! When Mr. Burke took over our beloved team he knew exactly what he was up against. Yet, he still made bold proclamations, not the media, not the fans. He raised the fans expectation when most were ready to brace themselves for a painful rebuilt. He said as already stated, that he was not interested in such a thing. Promising that at the end of year three his team would be competitive. For sure before the great melt-down it look like his plan was coming together, although there were warning signs with this current roaster. For example:
    1) penalty was horrible in the first half and cost them games (Washington one Friday night obtained a victory over the Leafs by scoring 4 pp!)
    2)They never won a back to back game
    3)When they had an opportunity to put a strangle hold over teams below them (Buffalo, Washington, and Ottawa), they came up flat.
    4)To often when a team would box them out of scoring area, they simply accept it. 5)Defensive play has been horrible under Wilson's watch. Was this not one of the reasons Mr. Fletcher hired Ron Wilson in the first place, to teach the young rebuilding Leafs how to play sound defense in the NHL?
    Please don't get me wrong, this is not dump on Wilson, but an honest assessment. In almost 4 seasons the defensive side of the game is worse than when Paul Maurice left!

    True Mr. Burke did not hire Ron Wilson, but he could have let him go in year one. Especially when the two had different philosophies. Remember upon taking over the Anaheim Ducks, he let a excellent coach in Mike Babcock walk who believed in the same system that Mr. Wilson tried to employ in T.O. He also let go in his first season as GM of Vancouver a coach he did not believe in after 44 games. As I stated before in other post, this sorry mess rests squarely on the shoulders of Brian "the ego" Burke. If he were a CEO in another company, he would be getting his walking papers, but unfortunately so many has been drinking his Kool-aid!

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  22. You know my perspective, Long Suffering. We're on a similar page.

    Well said. Time for less talk, and more results.

    Thanks.

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  23. That's flipping hilarious Long Suffering. I think we might have a hit on our hands. Too funny. BTW couldn't agree more with your assesment. Nobody but Burke made the promises.

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  24. Long suffering Leafs fanMarch 27, 2012 at 10:10 AM

    Thanks Mike and glad that you enjoyed it Willbur. If Mike allows it, I have another when the Leafs season is "done like dinner".

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  25. I look forward to it, Long Suffering....

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  26. JFJ did not get Schenn. It was Fletcher (but it was really Burke). Schenn sucks. They avoided Myers as I guess he was tooo tall and too American (born in Texas) even for Burke's liking. And of course Karlsson was avoided too as he is too small for Lyin Jurke.

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  27. Anon...you are right about Schenn, of course. That was a Fletcher draft choice.

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