So Jeff Blair is now mr. versitile. He wrote a Raptors piece earlier this week and now he has hit a homer in his coverage of the Burke story:
“Sorting through trash is a big civic issue these days in Toronto — household recycling has the Centre of the Universe in a tizzy — but if the deep-thinkers are right, it ain’t nothing compared to what will happen when the lawyers finally give Burke more power than any sports executive deserves. You’ll have a blue box for this, a green box for that — and over here, a bigger box for the Euro trash Burke will fill up when he becomes the hockey major domo at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. Because that’s what everybody says.”
The story is that a Leaf player sat in the leafs locker room talking about how the rumors or Brian Burke’s preference of players from this side of the pond to those in Europe must be wrong….
“The player paused. “I don’t think people view it that way any more … although, I don’t know that for sure.”An hour or so later, Alexander Steen — the player talking — was traded by the Maple Leafs to the St. Louis Blues, sent out along with Carlo Colaiacovo for Lee Stempniak. It seems a pretty straight-forward swap and would seem to address an issue Leafs head coach Ron Wilson had talked about in previous weeks — the need for a right-handed shot on the power play.”
Did Blair used to cover hockey???
“This being Toronto, the most discussed aspect of the trade was whether the unseen hand of Burke was behind it. Honestly, who cares? Think this through: You don’t think Cliff Fletcher has an idea about what Wilson and Burke want? Really? Would Fletcher have driven down to Boston and met Burke in a parking lot someplace? Would he even need to think about calling him on the phone? How would that conversation have gone: “Brian … hey, Brian. Cliff here. Huh? Cliff Fletcher. Listen, I have a chance to trade that porker Colaiacovo and that bowser of a centre, Steen, to St. Louis for Stempniak. Yeah, yeah … there’s still plenty of guys around for Wilson’s doghouse. No worries. So … ‘zat okay with you?” I mean, really.”
No seriously, Jeff, others want us to believe that the fact the leafs allowed Fletcher to make this deal is another sign of just how “ridiculous” things are at MLSE. Rocket science right????
“You can look at his NHL track record and say he’s pro this or anti that but, from a distance at least, it looks like he’s guilty of being a pragmatist more than anything else. A pragmatist who likes big, physical hockey players, but still stick-handled his way into drafting a couple of Swedish twins for the Vancouver Canucks and then brought Teemu Selanne back to the Anaheim Ducks because he was a bargain and Burke felt he could score some goals.”
Wait, you don’t read the tea leaves when you report this stuff??? Come on really….
“Burke’s been around so long, is such a large personality and is so eager to give no quarter that he’s bound to be a polarizing figure when he takes over the Leafs’ general manager job. There will be battles with elements of the media that will be good, clean, boys being boys stuff — this whole how-much-did-he-really-do-in-Anaheim argument is, frankly, boring and misses the point — and there will be in-house tussles, too, as Burke uses his elbows to create room within MLSE in the type of corporate battles that aren’t settled by lawyers. Culture change has come to the Leafs dressing room. It’s about to start working it’s way upward.”
Exactly. Thanks for this Jeff. Any chance you can start covering the blue and white on a more regular basis? You can read Blair on Burke landing with the Buds here….