Sunday, November 29, 2009

One year of Brian Burke: A look back

Brian Burke
Rare footage of Brian Burke
speaking to the media.
This weekend marked the one-year anniversary of Brian Burke being named general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs. It's been an eventful year, with some highs and a few lows.

So break out the party hats and balloons, and let's take a look at some of the highlights of Burke's first year in Toronto.

November 29, 2008 - While outlining his strategy at his first press conference as general manager, Burke delivers his infamous quote about "proper levels of pugnacity, testosterone, truculence and belligerence". Confused Leaf fans rush to their dictionaries, and are disappointed to discover that every one of those words means "terrible goaltending".

December 6, 2008 - Dave Nonis joins the Leafs front office, assuming the newly created position of "Vice President In Charge of Tampering With The Vancouver Canucks".

February 23, 2009 - Burke receives a call from Eklund alerting him that someone is impersonating him on Twitter. An enraged Burke immediately summons his lawyers and top advisors, loudly demanding to know who the hell gave Eklund his phone number.

March 4, 2009 - Trade deadline day. Despite high hopes that he could trade one or more of his top line players, Burke's plans are thwarted when he realizes other team's have actually seen the Leafs play.

April 6, 2009 - Burke names Ron Wilson the coach of Team USA's Olympic squad. Burke explains the choice by noting that Wilson has extensive experience, has coached internationally, and will have lots of time to work on gameplans since he'll be unemployed by mid-December.

April 14, 2009 - Burke surprises observers by emphatically declaring that he thinks the Leafs will make the playoffs in '09-10, although in fairness, he never specifies which millennium.

June 19, 2009 - In an effort to impress free agent goaltender Jonas Gustavsson during a visit to Toronto, Burke arranges the Leafs' dressing room to highlight the team's goaltending history. Gustavsson is impressed to see Johnny Bower's jersey hanging by the entrance, Terry Sawchuk's jersey hanging in a corner, and Vesa Toskala's jersey hanging from a bathroom stall toilet paper dispenser.

June 22, 2009 - At the NHL draft, Burke turns down a proposed Kaberle-for-Kessel trade by explaining to Peter Chiarelli that the he won't include a first round pick in the deal. Chiarelli responds "Oh, don't worry, you won't be trading a first round pick for Kessel", and then laughs like Emperor Palpatine for fifteen straight minutes until a confused Burke finally hangs up on him.

July 1, 2009 - With minutes to go before the noon deadline, Daniel and Henrik Sedin each agree to an extension with the Vancouver Canucks. They then throw open the curtains on their Stockholm apartment window, revealing Burke standing awkwardly in the street below holding a boombox.

July 25, 2009 - Dave Poulin's interview for a front office position is marred by an uncomfortable silence after Poulin compliments Burke on the incredibly lifelike replica of Richard Peddie's head he has mounted in his office.

September 18, 2009 - Burke completes the long-rumored trade for Kessel. While many observers criticize the deal for including two first round picks, Burke defends the move by correctly pointing out that the Leafs wouldn't have drafted anyone good anyways.

November 24, 2009 - Burke's son Brendan announces that he is gay, with his father's full support. Leaf fans are thrilled, recognizing this as the only chance they'll ever have to see Brian Burke take part in a parade.


  1. LMAO, "They then throw open the curtains on their Stockholm apartment window, revealing Burke standing awkwardly in the street below holding a boombox" Great stuff.

  2. This is flat out one of the funniest things I have read in months. Good work.

  3. Nails.

    Don't take this the wrong way, but I think I love you.

  4. gold my good sir, you are doing the lords work


    This might interest you

  6. @ Amar

    That's old news for anybody in the barilkosphere

  7. wow, it's the anniversary of "truculence"? I almost missed it!

    I always enjoy the blog, it's managed to turn me into sort of a Leafs fan (in Chicago). thanks?

    oh, and I was wondering when someone would make that particular parade joke...

  8. Dear DGB,

    You are brilliant.
    I have never looked forward to reading any piece of literature more than I look forward to reading your blogs. You are what Leafs Nation has always wanted, and you're an example of what makes the culture of being a Leafs fan different than that of any other team in pro sports.


  9. Say *plan the parde one more time*...November 30, 2009 at 11:18 AM

    Subtle and sublime.

  10. "They then throw open the curtains on their Stockholm apartment window, revealing Burke standing awkwardly in the street below holding a boombox."

    "in your eyes
    the light the heat
    in your eyes
    I am complete
    in your eyes"

    The Gay Pride parade shot was epic too.

  11. Hey Guys!

    Does anyone know the contact information for Jiri Tlusty? I have to ask him some questions...