Tag Archives: Brian Burke

Brian Blowhard

Thanks, Brian Burke, you goonbah.

Now you’ve gone and fired up Bobby Ryan by saying he’s not intense, just before Ryan and his team play the Canadiens on Saturday night.

“That word is not in his vocabulary. It’s never going to be in his vocabulary. He can’t spell intense,” said the silver-haired blowhard Burke, who, the last time I looked, needed a haircut and looked like he’d been on a five-day bender during his firing of Flames GM Jay Feaster.

But Brian Burke is intense. So much so that he works hard on looking and sounding like the smartest man in hockey but usually comes off as one who hasn’t gone to the bathroom in eight days.

And smartest man in hockey? This is the guy who thought Mike Komisarek was amazing.

Now he’s gone and motivated Bobby Ryan to be intense, with the Sens coming to town. The timing couldn’t be worse.

Way to go Burke. You arrogant, overrated prick.

Personally, I don’t care if Bobby Ryan was chosen or not. And I’m happy that Sens fans are unhappy. I hate it when they’re a cocky bunch.

But enough about Burke. What about the upcoming P.K. Subban/Team Canada decision in just a few days?

If P.K. isn’t on the team, it must be a heckuva great defence corps to leave last year’s Norris Trophy winner behind.




Brian Burke Out

Brian Burke is now unemployed. Maybe he’s better off.

The Leafs canned Mr. Burke this morning, and because it happened so soon after the lockout ended, I suppose his bosses had been thinking about this for awhile. The news only broke a few minutes ago so all details will be coming later.

I started out not liking Burke, but after years, beginning when he was a television sports guy for awhile, I began to like him. And the interviews with him after his son passed away moved me and I found myself admiring him. I know a guy in town who charters fishing trips and he’s taken Burke out once or twice, when Burke was running the Canucks. My friend say Burke was relaxed, funny, and a real gentleman. I can believe that.

But then back in the hockey world, with the Leafs, I didn’t like him again. He doesn’t seem the friendliest type, he seems guarded and arrogant. And he raved about Mike Komisarek for awhile before he eventually clued in, and I couldn’t understand why he rated the ex-Hab so highly. I think he wanted to win very badly, and I think having a team like the Leafs must have drove him crazy. I remember the bewildered look on his face after the Leafs crashed and burned last year in the new year. They were going so well, and for some unknown hockey god reason, it all went south. Burke looked like he needed a stiff drink.

It’ll interesting to hear what the Leafs and Burke say about all this.




Dudley Comes Aboard

Rick Dudley has been lured away from Toronto to assist Marc Bergevin in Montreal, and it’s another step on the road to respectibility for our wounded bunch. I remember Rick Dudley as a player, especially with Buffalo in the 1970’s when he’d wear a headband, and he was a solid and important guy on a team that boasted the French Connection – Gilbert Perreault, Rick Martin, and Rene Robert.

Now, with the GM and assistant GM in place, I suppose naming a coach is next, and with each change that is made, I get excited because I’m an eternal optimist when it comes to this team. I expect them to win the Stanley Cup every year, and it’s probably a bad thing that I do.

Brian Burke in Toronto had asked that Dudley not take part in the June draft with Montreal, considering he knows all of the Leafs trade secrets, and that’s fair that he sits on the sidelines. Although it’s kind of neat when we see Burke’s blood pressure rise, and I’m not sure we want to know any of Toronto’s trade secrets anyway.

The full story about this Dudley hiring can be seen right here.


Canadiens Fall To Falling Leafs

It could’ve been a beauty of a night.  A glorious night to make life even more miserable for the Toronto Maple Laffs.

The Canadiens could have added a serious blow to the Leafs hopes of playing in the post-season, with Toronto coming in with a 1-9-1 record, a record that got coach Ron Wilson fired, and everyone feeling quite lousy about themselves. Randy Carlyle’s debut behind the Toronto bunch could’ve been deliciously ruined. It could’ve been a nice night for the paying customers, who haven’t seen a ton of wins at the Bell Centre this season, and it would have given Darth, who was at the game, something to cheer about.

And hell, I’ve always loved seeing Montreal stomp on the Leafs on Hockey Night in Canada.

Yes, it could’ve been a beauty of a night. Instead, it sucked the big one.

Ex-Hab Mikhail Grabovski scored the winner and the insurance goal for Toronto to once again rub salt in the nose of his former employer and the Habs, in losing 3-1 on this night, have their own pitiful record to worry about. Never mind about the 1-9-1 record the Leafs had going into this. Montreal has two wins in the last 10.

So tonight it was the battle of two teams in freefall.

It just wasn’t to be as the Canadiens scored one feeble goal and allowed Toronto to score three, two of which were in the third period, a period when Montreal usually blows it and once again they did. Overall this season, the Canadiens have been outshot by a margin of 71 to 48, and of course It’s been one of the giant achilles heels in the Habs story this season, letting things slip away in the final 20 minutes. How come they can’t play 60 minutes?

Random Notes:

Erik Cole opened the scoring on a nice play between him and linemates David Desharnais and Max Pacioretty. Such a great line. One of the few things, along with the penalty kill, that we can boast about.

Brad Staubitz got into a dandy scrap with Mike Brown, and I give the edge to Staubitz for more punches thrown, although I didn’t count them.

Shots on goal were a ridiculous 42-22 for Toronto. I have no words for this.

Don Cherry on Coaches Corner was all worked up over Brian Burke not having any players from Ontario on the team. It was a lively rant and I agree, a few local guys are always a nice touch. The other Ontario team, the Ottawa Senators, have five players from the province in their lineup. But maybe I should stop here. I don’t want to get into the issue of Habs and Quebec-born players.

The Canadiens now start their annual Western Canada swing, playing in Calgary on Tuesday, Edmonton on Thursday, and Vancouver Saturday. As far as I know, Luci and I will be at the game in Vancouver.


Irving Grundman Said…

You’d have to think it’s quite odd for a GM to answer some punk’s question about getting tickets. Somehow I can’t see Pierre Gauthier or Brian Burke doing this, or any GM for that matter.

It’s one last letter from the bunch I’d lost years ago and then found recently, and surprisingly, it came from Irving Grundman, who was the Habs GM at the time.

But first, a few things about Mr. Grundman.

Irving Grundman replaced Sam Pollock as GM in 1978, and it was unexpected. Most thought Scotty Bowman would be named the new boss, but it was decided that Bowman would probably be too quick on the draw in trading players, and the bowling alley magnate Grundman was brought in, mostly because of his money-handling abilities.

By all accounts, Grundman wasn’t the greatest Habs GM there ever was, although the recent few might give him a run for his money. It was he who decided to choose Doug Wickenheiser instead of Quebec star Denis Savard in the 1980 draft, whereas Wickenheiser never became the player they thought he’d become and Savard would star in Chicago. Grundman and Jacques Lemaire disagreed on things and the star forward retired and moved to Switzerland. There were also problems finding a decent replacement for Ken Dryden in nets, and three coaches were hired and fired in Grundman’s short time at the helm.

Grundman also pulled the strings on the huge Rod Langway, Doug Jarvis, Craig Laughlin, and Brian Engblom trade to Washington for Ryan Walter and Rick Green and it was this move that is considered most responsible for the saving of the strugging Capitals franchise. Langway would win the Norris Trophy the first two years he was in Washington.

In his defence, Grundman also drafted Guy Carbonneau and Chris Chelios, which were good moves, but all in all, he was considered out of his league and should have concentrated on the bowling alley business.

After he was let go by the Canadiens, he would become a Montreal city councillor, found himself charged with corruption, and sentenced to 23 months of community service and fined $50,000.00.

Almost three months to the day after Mr. Grundman wrote this letter, he was fired by the Canadiens, and Serge Savard would take his place.

Shooting From The Lip

A fellow at work brought in a book for me to read called “Shooting From The Lip” (2004), which is a compilation of hockey quotes. Here’s a few of them…..

My brother Dash hit me on the head with five textbooks in a gym bag. Tie Domi, asked about the hardest hit he’s ever received

Man, is that guy ripped. I mean, I’ve got the washboard stomach, too. It’s just that mine has about two months of laundry on top of it. Shawn Burr on Eric Lindros

Every time I see you naked, I feel sorry for your wife. Jaromir Jagr to teammate Matthew Barnaby

They always try to play with our minds. But that won’t work with our club. We’ve got 20 guys without brains. Bobby Clarke in 1976 when Red Army played Philadelphia

I was young and stupid then. Now I’m not young anymore. Jyrki Lumme on his early years with Montreal

You can always get someone to do your thinking for you. Gordie Howe, during a 1970’s appearance on the Dick Cavett Show, on why hockey players always wear a protective cup but rarely a helmet

It’s about 40% technique and about 75% strength. 6’1″ Canadien Patrice Brisebois, on why he lost a fight to Theo Fleury

Everything was set for us to play a real good game. Then we left the dressing room and everything went to hell. Thrashers coach Curt Fraser

The kids just aren’t the same anymore. Canadien Doug Gilmour after asking a rookie to sneak a case of 24 beers onto the team bus and finding out he only got six cans

Only problem is I was going high on the glove side. Senator Lance Pitlick on scoring his first goal of the season with a low shot to the stick side

Guys, I don’t want to tell you half-truths unless they’re completely accurate. Canadiens coach Alain Vigneault after a loss in 1999

It’s not so much maturity as it is growing up. Bruin Jay Miller, asked if his improved play was due to maturity

Jason Arnott will be here as long as I’m here, for the time being. Oilers GM Glen Sather on Arnott trade rumours

He could rile up the Montreal fans in a hurry. God, sometimes I felt sorry for the man. He must have got a standing ovation when he went shopping. Gordie Howe on Maurice Richard

It’s always good to have the building filled, even if it’s with low-IQ Rangers fans. Islander GM Mike Milbury before a home game against the Rangers

I’m the luckiest man alive. I don’t even like the game and I’m successful at it. Brett Hull

I’d rather fight than score. Dave Schultz

Rocket had that mean look on, every game we played. He could hate with the best of them. Gordie Howe on Maurice Richard

Life is just a place where we spend time between games. Flyers coach Fred Shero

Hockey is like a religion in Montreal. You’re either a saint or a sinner., there’s no in-between. Patrick Roy

Hmmm, 600 games? What does it mean? It means I’m that much closer to getting fired. Jacques Lemaire after coaching his 600th game

Playing with Steve Guolla is like playing with myself. Shark Jeff Friesen on his teammate

What I’ve learned so far is that to win the Stanley Cup, you have to make the playoffs. Caps owner Ted Leonsis

Every time I get injured, my wife ends up getting pregnant. Blackhawk Doug Wilson

I don’t care if we lose every game for the next five years and the team goes broke and moves to Moose Jaw. I will not trade Pavel Bure. Canucks GM Brian Burke several weeks before trading Bure to to the Panthers

Brian Sutter said I looked liked Charles Manson. He called me Charlie, then it became Killer. Canadien Doug Gilmour on the source of his “Killer” nickname


The Guys Pulling The Strings

I recently read, or at least the parts they sent me, a terrific book called Behind The Moves, put together by Jason Farris, and I have to say, diving into the world of NHL general managers can be a fascinating thing indeed. All these men in suits are trying to do is win a Stanley Cup and not get fired.  Two big things, I suppose. They make backroom deals, uproot families through trades, and cross their fingers that the young guys they draft don’t turn out to be busts.

The book is comprised of interviews with these mostly high-profile general managers, which leads to a veritable smorgasbord of quotes, and instead of just rambling on, I thought I’d give you a sampling of what can be found here:

“The deals are fun. Face it, it’s the highest-stakes poker game there is. If you’re good at it you stay in the game. If not, you get canned.” Brian Burke

“There isn’t a man on that team who should make any all-star team, but as a group they are almost unbeatable. It only goes to show what harmony, loyalty, pep, and cohesion can accomplish when linked together and wisely directed.” Lester Patrick talking about the 1933 Red Wings

This is a dog-eat-dog world, the NHL. Over 170 general managers in the history of the league, so many thousands of people out there who would like to be a general manager in the league….If you don’t perform, the game will eat you up and spit you out.” Jim Devellano

“For the most part, it’s all business now and the stakes are a lot higher financially…I think the need to win today and the pressure to win today on a general manager is quite different than it was 15 years ago –10 years ago even…Montreal fans had Sam Pollock for all those years and without a doubt, that core of fans cared about what happened, but the world didn’t care. Today it’s the world, the hockey world.” Bryan Murray

“If you’re getting into this business, one of the reasons you need experience is that it’s a competitive business and you’re going to be tested at every turn as a manager. You’re going to be tested by your patience, you’re going to be teasted by the owner’s patience, you’re going to be tested by the media, be tested by your coach, be tested by your players, and be tested by your peers. They’re going to give you offers where it’s going to be a battleship for a bathtub, and I think that’s why you need the experience of being around for awhile, because when you get into that (GM) club, those people are there for a reason. They’re the best in the world at what they do.” Ken Holland

“There are lots of different stories for these guys. Circumstances have a lot to do with dictating what happens (for a GM). If we hadn’t got Gretzky out of the WHA when we did, you wouldn’t be wasting your day sitting here bullshitting with me. How do you really know…whether a guy is qualified to be a general manager in this league for a number of years or why did he lose his job after two years? It’s a lot deeper question than people have answers for.” Glen Sather

“I think the big secret is not to juggle people all the time. But it’s not easy if you don’t have a good team. Patience, I guess, is probably the most valuable asset a team can have. Take young players and all of a sudden they don’t do well, so a GM gets rid of them and they do well somewhere else. The big thing with a manager is to be careful with young players.Especially if the manager isn’t coaching and the coach is anxious to win games. So the GM and coach have to have a lot of communication (about the plans for each player) because young players can blossom.” Scotty Bowman

“We went to the Stanley Cup finals in 1999 and I can tell you I know way more now than I did in 1999. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear yet to be enough (to win the Cup) but I know way more now. It needs to be that way but you always feel like you’re racing agianst the clock Can you get something done before you run out of time.” Darcy Regier

“You always knew which ones you could trust and which ones you needed to be careful around. It’s a den of thieves. The business is such that you don’t necessarily care about the ethics if it’s going to help your hockey club.” Jay Feester





Behind The Moves

This email came yesterday and although it’s a plug for a book, I thought I’d pass it along to you because the book might be interesting.  We’ve also got a couple of days before the Habs meet the Leafs and this makes good space filler.

The sender of the email says he’s Brian Burke, President of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and I’ve never met the man, (although a guy here in Powell River told me he took Burke fishing a couple of times), and this is obviously a generic form letter sent out to legions of people. Somehow I got on the list. So I’m basically plugging somebody’s book for them, but I don’t mind. Maybe Brian Burke will put in a good word to Pierre Gauthier about the stick boy thing.

It does look like it could be a really good read, going behind the scenes of NHL general managers, but I must tell you, it’s not exactly cheap. (99 bucks).

Here’s the letter:

By now you’ve already heard about a book that I am truly excited about, Behind The Moves: NHL General Managers Tell How Winners Are Built Finally, a book has been compiled about the National Hockey League’s general managers, and by an author for whom I have great respect.

Behind the Moves is part encyclopedia, part history book, part manual for would-be managers. And it’s your ticket to the general manager’s office, where you’ll find out all about the trades, the championships, the negotiations with agents, and the day-to-day dealing with owners and the media. You’ll enjoy it, and you’ll learn a lot, too.

NHL GMs are busy guys, but I and 34 of the top GMs all-time have personally invested significant time, energy, and materials into the making of this book, giving you totally unique insight into pro hockey. Behind The Moves is not an outsiders account, it’s an insider’s view of what’s truly involved in being an NHL GM! For me, it has been a true honor to be associated with so many iconic hockey personalities through the making of Behind the Moves ? friends and colleagues like Glen Sather, Pat Quinn, and George McPhee, but also legends whom I was fortunate enough to overlap with like Bill Torrey, Emile Francis, and Sam Pollock. Like each of them, I am proud of our game’s history and tradition and the men who shaped the teams that have excited fans over the years. And because I was so impressed with the concept of Behind The Moves I jumped in and wrote the book’s Foreword.

I believe that the NHL’s general managers have been the brains and the conscience of the game since the league opened for business in 1917. Yet, surprisingly, little has been written about them. But is there a more important job on the team than the guy who puts the team together?

Like you, I’ve always been interested in knowing what other managers thought, so I could maybe learn to emulate certain types and avoid the other kinds. Behind the Moves is that playbook for all managers and those aspiring to get into, or move up in, the game. You’ll hear directly from the GMs who all share an undying passion for the game ? past managers, current managers, champions, tenured veterans, innovators, old-schoolers, educated men and men with diplomas marked “Original Six.”

 Brian Burke

President & General Manager, Toronto Maple Leafs

Carey Price And Mike Komisarek Help Habs Win

It was everything you might expect from a Habs-Leafs game – classic hockey atmosphere, lots of scoring chances, great goaltending at both ends, hard hitting.

And another surprisingly bad pass from Leaf Mike Komisarek who put the puck directly onto the stick of Mike Cammalleri in front of the net which sealed the 2-0 victory for the Habs and which caused Leaf goaltender Jonas Gustavsson to scream an f-bomb for all to see.

It was a beautiful pass from Komisarek. Right on the tape. Just the wrong team, that’s all.

Thanks a lot. Please do it again.

Leafs GM Brian Burke was heralded as the one guy who could turn this sorry Leaf franchise around. He’d won a Cup with Anaheim, and managed to secure not one but two Sedins while boss in Vancouver.

But one thing has always puzzled me. He went out and got free agent Komisarek, fresh from a mediocre career in Montreal, gave him solid money (five years, $22.5 million) and it was announced far and wide that the Leafs’ defence problems were a thing of the past with Komisarek on board.

The first few days after signing Komisarek you would think the Leafs had somehow invented a knee-healing time machine and now had Bobby Orr in the lineup. 

The question lingers – How come schmucks like you and me have seen mistakes in Komisarek’s game for years, and Burke and the gang have somehow missed it? What Komisarek does is lay on a few punishing bodychecks, take ill-advised penalties, and make sorry decisions with the puck as he did tonight when he gave Cammalleri an early Christmas present.

Habs fans at the Bell shouldn’t be booing Komisarek, they should be applauding him.

But enough about number eight for the enemy.

Carey Price grabbed another shutout, his fourth of the season, Jeff Halpern scored a shorthanded goal in the second period, and Cammalleri via Komisarek notched a power play marker with four seconds left in the Leafs penalty.

Just a lively, great shutout win for the Canadiens and a night where the paying customers got their money’s worth. The Canadiens definitely played better than in their prior outing, against Nashville, but scorers remain scoreless, which has been going on far too often this year. That 7-2 trouncing of Carolina seems about a year ago, not four games back.

Random Notes:

Shots on goal 38-30 Habs.

Next up – Montreal travels to Philadelphia Monday for a game where PK Subban might not show respect to Mike Richards.

Is Cammy About To Get Poked In The Eye And Bopped On The Head?

Frankly, I didn’t see the Mike Cammalleri incident with the Islanders’ Nino Niederreither. Often in a one-sided whitewash such as this game, I tend to get distracted easily.

But can Cammalleri be suspended? I wouldn’t be surprised. It’s the NHL brass on the case, the Three Stooges of the sporting world. Curly Joe, er, Campbell, will monitor the moods of other teams in the east, and going by that, will make his executive decision. If Brian Burke and a few others say Cammy must go, then he must go. Can’t be having the Canadiens too strong right off the bat.