Cirque De Burke

Some things that amused me this am…

1. Did anyone catch Cox on TSN last night before the Thrashers game? The host did refer to him as the Devil Cox right?

2. Did anyone notice that between 6pm and 8pm the Star changed the headline on Cox’s article from Done Deal to All But Done?

3. Did anyone notice this quote from today’s article by Damien “Headline writers, sharpen your pencils.”
Don’t think for one second that this line isn’t intentional. If nothing else the guy is human and the fact that the headline got switched and then he wrote this is not a coincidence.

4. Did anyone notice some interesting notes on both Burke and Wilson in that coloumn by Damien, really good insight:

“Wilson is among the most cerebral of coaches. He’ll talk to you at length about being “bi-handed” like Brett Hull and how brain functions allow left-handers to shoot right-handed effectively. He loves HBO’s Mad Men and reruns of Curb Your Enthusiasm, thought it was fitting to have Jamal Mayers take a ceremonial faceoff for the Leafs to commemorate the historic election of Barack Obama and loves to have evening Skype teleconference sessions with his 2-year-old grandchild. Burke, a father of six, believes in beginning all discussions with a verbal equivalent of a ball-peen hammer to the forehead. He loves rum and arguments and is the ultimate partisan, fiercely protective of his players.While friends, they aren’t exactly soulmates and have very different core beliefs on the sport. Burke loves blood ‘n’ guts hockey, while Wilson was the finesse player who competed in Europe and relies on brains and computers to coach. Wilson’s worst habit, according to some who have worked with him, is to start referring to “I” too much when the going gets tough and his players as “they.” Burke is a “we” and “us” guy but also a first-class manipulator of the media.”

I think everyone thought that because they were buddies from a past life this would be a marriage made in heaven. Certainly this could get interesting.

5. Did anyone else notice the non-issue of reporting structure? Others seem to think this is a huge deal. The reality is Burke, like any other executive have to report to someone. Damien gets it right here too:

“Among the last details to be worked out centred around the chain of command within Toronto’s front office and the management structure. There was a question as to whether Burke would report directly to the MLSE board on a regular basis, or to a senior executive, such as Peddie. That, it is believed, was not a sticking point or a worry to Burke since he had to “manage up” during his days running the Canucks and Ducks.”

Until you become owner, you have to report to someone so this managing up is never the problem that people think it is.

6. Did anyone else notice that Happy Howie took another swipe at his media breathern, but this time got it right?:

“Exactly why several of my media colleagues have insisted on pinpointing an exact date and time in the past week escapes me, other than to be in position to claim “We told you so first” (forever important in this business). Given that Brian Burke has not yet been anointed – two weeks after his departure from Anaheim – implies that negotiations with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment have bogged down several times. In fact, that may not be the case at all. What is likely at play here is a tremendously complicated deal – far different than the type MLSE has ever granted a hockey employee. The level of authority; the term, and the compensation Burke is seeking requires that both sides be more than content over the long haul, and this sort of business arrangement doesn’t happen quickly, even in the presence of mutual interest. The amount of legal inspection, alone, is enough to prolong such an ordeal and it’s almost certain that the Leafs and Burke are merely working through an involved and complex arrangement.
But, this union has been “in the air” for more than a year and it is going to happen… be it tomorrow, Saturday, or a week from now. The time-frame is hardly a factor.”

He hasn’t said it lately, but Howie was the first to raise the possibility of Burke leaving Anaheim a long time ago, long before anyone else raised the issue. Is that what is behind the common sense revolution on his part?

7.Did anyone else notice the continued support on the hiring from Mr. Simmons?:

” Which is why Brian Burke has been the perfect fit for the Leafs from the moment it was determined that Ken Holland wasn’t playing in this game. There was nobody else. There was nobody else who has shown this kind of creativity, forcefulness, vision, anger: Great teams rarely are built on convention. They are built on moxie and good fortune, on sound management and a gambler’s spirit. So how and where does Burke start with these Maple Leafs — assuming he will be announced on Saturday as president and general manager of the club. He will have six years to fix this mess. He will get rich (a contract likely worth more than $17 million US) — hopefully the city and its fans also will be enriched. This isn’t like hiring John Ferguson. This isn’t a guess. This is an investment. This is a chance for an organization that has been too laughable for too long to finally do things right.”

We need to remember this when things appear (that is APPEAR) to he heading south for when the hounds come out..

” Burke will listen to Dave Nonis, who likely is to join him in Toronto, to Cliff Fletcher, the adviser, to Joe Nieuwendyk, the young study, and to his old friend and coach, Ron Wilson. Like Wilson, he will demand accountability, from every player, from every employee. He will be loud and forceful and loyal and protective and occasionally — see Todd Bertuzzi — blind. But he won’t be complacent, or outworked. He will roll up his sleeves and get busy — the kind of values Toronto applauded Wendel Clark for — this time as general manager and president. The stage will be his come the weekend. Time for the show to begin.”

That is why he is the right guy at the right time. Perfect? No one is. Sounds like he brings in the right people and lets them do their jobs. Isn’t it about time we had that here?

8. Anyone else notice how Matt Stajan has bought in to the new system?:

” Matt Stajan is another player who could have met a similar fate, but when he found himself benched, he took a different route. Unlike his departed pals, Stajan clued in and quickly turned into more than a useful player.Besides busting his butt on a nightly basis, he’s on a point- a-game clip, far ahead of anything he’s done previously in his career.”They said changes were coming, so you can’t really say you didn’t expect it,” Stajan said. “You just didn’t know how it was going to happen.”When (Burke) comes in, if he comes in, that’s a different situation. Who knows what he does? I’m sure any new GM is going to try to make the team better in the way they want it to be.”

Rob Longley of the Sun is right about Stajan. Of the younger old guys he is the one who got it right. Does that mean he stays for a long time? I have no clue, but, you have to think Ron Wilson is at least a little bit impressed.

9. Did anyone notice little but AP content on this story from either ESPN or Foxsports??

10. Did anyone notice the excellent article on Felix Potvin at Espn.com?”

Felix is an assistant coach with a kids youth team. This is both a good story and an excellent read. You can find it here

11. Finally, my best quote for this is, someone just told Jason Blake who the next GM of the Leafs is…can anyone top it?:

Jason Blake

Jason Blake

7 responses to “Cirque De Burke

  1. I guess Damien doesn’t watch Mad Men, otherwise he’d know that it is on AMC, not HBO.

  2. When you’re a writer, every word matters – all you have is your word. As Wallace Stegner once wrote: “The sin is not the use of an “obscene” word; it is the use of a loaded word in the wrong place or in the wrong quantity.”

    After nearly 20 years of loaded and inappropriate words Cox is clearly more invested in finding the dark cloud to every silver lining than he is in providing any meaningful insight or developing any sort of dialogue or relationship with his readership.

    It’s a shame that the senior hockey columnist at Canada’s largest daily has chosen to go this route and it’s why I no longer read Cox or the Star’s sports section.

    He may be human, but frankly he’s not much of writer.

  3. torontosportsmedia

    Great point and very well said…

  4. Very good points.

    I’ve never liked Cox. It’s like he goes out of his way to see the glass half empty in anything the Leafs do. Did he get spurned by them for a job or something?

    Nice article.

  5. Newspaper circulation is in a freefall.The success of National Enquirer and TMZ style reporting is the trend these days,if you don’t think it’s being reflected in the sports pages you’re kidding yourself.

  6. torontosportsmedia

    The problem is Toronto Sports figures just aren’t that exciting….in any event, TSM is gunning to be the Perez Hilton of Toronto Sports :)

  7. I’m not sure if they’re not exciting,I think they’ve been muted.If you weren’t on the edge of your seat when watching episodes of “Wade a minute” then you probably don’t have a pulse.

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