Friday, March 30, 2012

A brief rant on the state of the Brian Burke era

There's been an ongoing conversation on Twitter today about the state of Brian Burke's Maple Leafs. I tried to post a short series of tweets on the topic, but Twitter decided that it wouldn't post them all for some reason. So I'm reposting them here. Back to the usual content tomorrow morning.

(begin rant)

If I could build a time machine and go back to interrupt Brian Burke's introductory press conference bearing news from the future and explained that in almost four years, the Leafs would have:

a.) No playoff appearances;
b.) Four bottom-ten years;
c.) Two bottom-five years;
d.) A 2012 team that was cap-maxed AND worse than JFJ's rock bottom in terms of points;
e.) an above-average farm system (maybe) with no elite prospects...

No Leaf fan would have called that acceptable. Not one. Twist it however you want, but you would have called that a disaster. And you'd be right.

(Drops mic. Stares at confused audience. Sighs heavily, and goes back to making "Roberto Luongo is a choker" jokes.)




57 comments:

  1. TYPICAL LEAFS FAN THAT WILL NOT ACCEPT A REBUILDING ERA BECAUSE HE IS TOO DEMANDING.

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    1. lol, rebuilding should mean you have at least a couple of stud young players/draftees. and dont tell me kadri is that.

      and also, rebuilding doesn't need to take 7 years. see how quick the flyers rebuilt after finishing 29th a few years back

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    2. Not accepting a rebuild? Uh, sorry, but how many rebuilding teams are top 5 in cap spending AND bottom 5 in points? Now, in those 4 seasons under Burke, how man ELITE level talents were drafted to make the Leafs a better club, which is what is SUPPOSED to happen when a team is rebuilding? If you can give me legit answers to either of those questions, I will listen to what your biased opinion is.

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  2. I would agree with you. But then you have Roberto Luongo jokes at the bottom, and I'm a Canucks fan, so HHHNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGG.

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    1. Also a canucks fan, assuming the Bobby Lou joke was sarcasm, picking on a good team for a small made up problem to divert attention, if anything that final line was props to the Canucks. We should all enjoy that since it is very rarely given.

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    2. You're trying too hard. He sucks. You know it. We all know it.

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  3. TYPICAL LEAFS FAN JFJ APOLOGIST.

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  4. Roberto Luongo led a team that scored only 8 times in the previous 6 games to game 7 of the SCF. The team might be a choker but he's not the prime culprit.

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  5. This isn't a rebuild. This is stagnation, maybe even regression. The farm has improved not nearly enough for a team with 4 bottom ten finishes. Burke's had some decent moves, but so has every GM. The plan is incoherent. Burke wants to win now while building up prospect depth, but he's failed at the first one. And the prospect depth is fine, but it's nothing to be excited over.

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  6. I miss these posts. And I could not agree more with your point.

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  7. Two things:

    1. Burke was counting on a UFA market that never materialized. Prior to him coming here he'd seen high profile names like Gomez, Drury, Briere, Chara, Niedermayer, Rafalski, Hossa and more sign with other teams as UFA's. Since he's been GM? Gaborik, Kovalchuk, Richards.... that's about it... he gambled on the UFA market and lost.

    2. He had shit all to work with... We have nothing to show for Sundin, McCabe, Tucker and Kubina aside from a $1,000,000 cap hit. He was able to parlay Antropov and Poni into Kenny Ryan and Nicholas Deschamps. Kaberle was the only one that got us anything decent back.

    Yeah he's made some mistakes, and he probably shouldn't have been so boastful about it, but It's hard to lay all the blame on his shoulders given what he had to work with.

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    1. It's easier to lay blame when he's so damn arrogant.

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    2. I don't disagree.... He's said a lot of things that have gotten the heat focused on him for it now. But part of the problem is things that were beyond his control.

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    3. "but It's hard to lay all the blame on his shoulders given what he had to work with."

      Next year will be 5 years! 5 years!! If he's not responsible for this 5 years from when he started when will be be responsible for this team?? I mean, really?

      This isn't year 2 or 3. This is 4 years worth of Brian Burke. Is the previous regime responsible for Phaneuf? for Komisarek? Connolly? Liles? No Goalies to speak of? No high-end talent in the farm? I mean, seriously.

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    4. This... he thought with Toronto's cash that he could find enough UFA's to "accelerate" the rebuilding process... but times changed and the bets UFA's wanted contracts he refused to give out

      Also worth mentioning is that I'm not sure how much Burke even does with respects to hockey decisions, he's definitely the face but when I hear about signings or trades it's usually Nonis' name who comes up, so I think having Burke to deal with the media and leave his 12-16 assistant GM's make decisions.

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  8. Can't be rebuilding forever...you can't rebuild with disguarded materials and ideas...Big Bad Burkie huffed and puffed but did nothing of signifigance in 4 years...any bad GM can make bad trades, sign bad contracts, give bad clauses but it takes a special kind of idiot to say that he didn't do it.

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    1. "Lemme show you how to make bad trades and sign bad contracts, son."
      -- Mike Milbury

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  9. :) As a Wild fan, my condolences go out to the Maple Leaf fanbase.

    We (at least) have Granlund, Coyle, Brodin, and Phillips to look forward to... As well as already having brief glimpses of Bulmer and Zucker.

    I've been to a few Marlies games, too...

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  10. pretty much.

    I don't find the "well who else would you rather have?" arguments compelling because it's a flimsy excuse.

    Other people could have done better. When you list your evidence, a caretaker who did next to nothing but fill the roster with 1-year UFAs could have done better because the on-ice performance would be probably just as bad but we'd have more high-end picks and no boat anchor contracts.

    I accept that Burke has had a lot of bad luck in his tenure, but many of his failures (terrible UFA deals, and a predilection for dramatic, franchise-altering moves) are entirely his own doing.

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    1. Kessel deal aside.... how have any of his failures hurt the team exactly? Signing Komisarek hasn't exactly handcuffed us. Signing Beauchemin got us Lupul and Gardiner, and signing Armstrong has had little to no effect on the team. There was no one else we couldn't have signed... Not sure how that's the root cause of the problem here.

      Part of it could be drafting... but that's also part luck. Erik Karlsson was drafted 16th, behind guys like Schenn, Doughty, Pietrangelo, and more. So Burke wasn't the only GM who didn't see that one coming. Same with Nazem Kadri, but I believe he's really been mis-treated by the team as well.

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    2. "Same with Nazem Kadri, but I believe he's really been mis-treated by the team as well."

      And who's responsible for that? JFJ?

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  11. We all know the Toronto Maple Leafs have been unacceptably bad. My question, though, is WHY they've been consistently unacceptably bad.

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  12. I'm seeing some folks missed the point.

    I'm with ya Sean.

    It's not good right now. This team isn't really rebuilding, kind of doing the same thing Calgary is, but worse.

    Farm system may yet surprise, but it would be nice to have more certainty than one or two players that could be good.

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  13. How can Leaf fans continue to put up with this crap? It's time to riot in the streets Vancouver style. Burke has done the exact opposite of what he said he would do, he is in his 4th year of this "not rebuilding" phase which is starting to look a lot like it's heading for a forced rebuild and the team is far worse than the JFJ years, bording on Ballard bad. My money is on Burke panicking and trading his 1st away to bring in a veteran goaltender. Getcha popcorn ready...

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    1. Bruins: we'll give you turco...*trollface*

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  14. Lol ridiculous how people are giving different reasons for a "typical leafs fan". I'm a Devils fan, yet even I know what Burke has done is a disaster. He needs to get a grip on his ego and admit that it's BEEN a disaster instead of continuing on this crash course. There was hope last season, don't get me wrong. Maybe the Wilson firing came too late, WHO KNOWS. But I really don't know if Burke should or should not get fired. What I do know is, the Leafs probably will not make playoffs next season either and Burke should NOT mortgage any key pieces this offseason for a "chance" to make the playoffs. Time to strap your boots and rebuild the old-fashioned way. Even Penguins used several draft picks before becoming the juggernaut they are today. It did NOT happen in 3 seasons. Even in Crosby's first season, they did not make the playoffs. In fact, they finished dead last in the east. #justsaying

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    1. I think the ALLCAPS posts should have given away the fact that most of those "typical leafs fan" posts were jokes...

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  15. Replies
    1. Takes one to know one.

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    2. But, he can play.

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  16. As much as I like Kessel, I do not think that was a good trade for the Leafs in terms of the re-build. I know Seguin wouldn't be tearing it up on the Leafs like he is with boston, but how on Earth can you justify Dougie Hamilton and Tyler Seguin for Phil Kessel. He is a great player but under no circumstances is he a franchise player. He has little to no leadership qualities and a sub par work ethic. Without a franchise centre (like Seguin will be), Kessel is just some player with good stats on a bad team.

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    1. I think it's easy to say that now in hindsight, because we know a) Who the draft picks turned out to be and b) How the Leafs actually turned out (and what that did to those picks).

      Keep in mind that, when the Kessel trade went down, the general idea was that Burke was managing a team that would either make the playoffs or at the very least come close, meaning the draft picks would have been in the teens. Those drafts weren't exactly bursting with talent, so trading away two "10-20" picks wasn't as bad an idea as it sounded on the surface.

      Of course, we know what actually happened. The Leafs tanked and accidentally wound up trading away the second overall pick.

      We can look back now and say "...yeah, that was actually pretty bad", but it wasn't realistic to know that at the time.

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  17. To the first poster, if this was a rebuild why did Burke trade 3 picks for a guy who doesn't score enough to excuse his bad defense and then bring in the coach guaranteed to scare the only reason he did score (Lupul) out of town faster than you can say "traded for Chris Pronger"?

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  18. I'm not a leafs fan, but there was a lot of promise of good when Burke came in. It was just a matter of time before the leafs were winning cups. Burke has had time and nothing has changed, in fact it could be worse, but for some reason the attitude of leaf fans seems to be that Burke is still going to fix the team. It is about the same reasoning as someone who things that 1990 was 10 years ago.

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  19. This was a team that until February was playoff bound, and looking great. The wheels came off when Steve Simmons decided not to register for summer hockey because he had to work Leafs playoff games. (No really, look it up!)

    James Reimer has now played about as many games before the Gionta elbow as after. The difference is night-and-day. More than twice as many wins as losses before, a losing record afterwards. While teams were targeting that high-glove side anyway, he's letting in more goals on other parts of the net now too. Burke had a plan in place. It got them more than half the way. Then something got into their heads, and it fell apart. They weren't doing the stuff they had been doing that made them a playoff team. The 23-man roster is a playoff team. Not a Cup winner, but a playoff team. They don't need to can Burke, or blow up the team again. They just need to get that confidence back that they had for 3 quarters of the season.

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    1. Agree with much of what's here. I think the Leafs are a better roster than there late season collapse indicates, and IMHO just one key Burke mistake (going with two young goalies instead of bringing in a competent vet) is the cause.

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    2. Yes, I agree that this team has shown it can win. Wilson wasn't able to get them out of their slump, and then Carlyle inherited a team with absolutely 0 confidence, who rattled off a few more losses before losing Lupul and Kulemin and completely going into the tank.

      Burke's got one more chance to make a good impression here. Keep the pick, draft a center, make some moves to try and improve the club, and start fresh. I don't want to say it's playoffs or bust this year because then he may be tempted to deal the pick.

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  20. Just take a look at the teams that were in worse shape than the Leafs when Burke arrived, or have bottomed out since. There is no excuse for teams like Ottawa, Florida, Colorado, NY Islanders, Calgary, Winnipeg etc. to be better than the Leafs right now. Brian Burke has been outperformed as GM by Greg Sherman. Think about that.

    He said he would build the Leafs from the net out. I guess he meant the opponent's net. The team was supposed to be tough, yet they wilted against any team that played physically, hence the 0-10 record against the Bruins and Flyers. Aside from Kessel, Lupul, and Gardiner his acquisitions have been various degrees of terrible.

    I don't buy the "he had nothing to work with" argument anymore. Almost every GM comes into his job with the team in bad shape. Otherwise GMs would never get fired.

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  21. You know, everybody loves to complain about it, but I'm not hearing anyone offering up solutions or alternatives....

    Everybody wants somebody fired, wants somebody to pay for this 'travesty'. Will that make things better? No... no it won't... name another GM we could grab right now that would do a better job. And take that one step further and name a single move he could make that would make the team better right now.

    Bottom line, none of us fans know what goes on. We don't know how close we were to signing the Sedins, or trading for Richards, or any number of moves. Hindsight is always 20/20 and every one loves to claim what they WOULD HAVE or SHOULD HAVE done, but it's all bullshit. Nobody truly knows how it could have turned out.

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  22. Amen to that, DGB.

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  23. I don't think it's acceptable, and to Burke's credit every time we miss the playoffs he gives himself an F, I think we ought to let Burke see this through for at least 2 more years.

    I for one hated the JFJ era, and him+lockout = pretty messed up Leafs organization

    Our farm system used to be empty, now it has several somewhat decent pieces (no superstars but maybe a couple useful NHLers), a couple more years of this progress and we'll have one of the best systems in the NHL. It's not likely, but my point is Burke has in fact managed to make progress, even with the Kessel deal, who speaking of might have had his most physical game I've ever seen him play last night (rubbing Giroux off the puck leading to a Bozak/Phaneuf rush)

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  24. I feel like a WW1 vet...you know where each year there are less and less to pass on the memories to a younger generation. I remember watching the Leafs win the Stanley Cup...I was 11 years old. Each year there are less and less of us.

    Please Mr. Burke, for the love of god please bring us a cup before it's too late!

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  25. As an Oilers fan watching his team go through an infinite rebuild... I would still rather be us than you right now.

    I can at least look to Hall, Eberle, RNH and Petry and say that we are getting closer... when I look at the Leafs over the last few years, especially the trades, my heart goes out to you guys.

    Good luck for 2012-13.

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  26. The Canucks have let in seven goals in their last six games.

    Not a good time for Roberto Luongo jokes.

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  27. The Luongo line was just pure gold.

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  28. Regarding points c and e:

    Yes, the Leafs finished in the bottom 5 twice since Burke took over and arguably have no elite prospects (Kadri? Nah, let's not get into that). A couple reasons for this are:
    1) They traded one of the bottom five picks away for Kessel. Now, instead of having an elite prospect, they have an elite player.
    2) The second bottom five pick has not yet been selected, since this current season is not yet over. One would suspect that they will have an elite prospect after the upcoming draft, depending on where they finish and how the lottery goes.

    Throw in the fact that one of the bottom 10 picks was also dealt for Kessel, and it's not really surprising that they don't have any elite prospects. They got an elite player instead.

    With that in mind, www.hockeysfuture.com ranks their prospect pool 8th out of the 30 teams. What was it when Burke was hired? I don't know. Would have to guess 20-25th, if not worse. So, Burke has taken a bottom 10 farm team and turned it into a top 10 farm team without having his team's own first round pick in 2 of his 3 drafts. That's pretty good in my books. (Note: I don't know how accurate hockeysfuture is, but I don't see any reason to discredit it)

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    1. "With that in mind, www.hockeysfuture.com ranks their prospect pool 8th out of the 30 teams. What was it when Burke was hired? I don't know. Would have to guess 20-25th, if not worse."

      Yearly waffling between 29th and 30th. They were convinced the Leafs had the absolute worst collection of prospects in the NHL (and fact is, pre-Burke, they were right. Seriously, how many JFJ prospects actually amounted to anything other than hype?)

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  29. Are the Leafs on the right development path? I don't know. But as some wise commentators have pointed out this week, you need at least 5 years to rebuild, maybe more. When you rebuild, you're supposed to have disastrous seasons like this one. One of the youngest teams in the league was in 6th in early February. Surely there are some building blocks out of that...more than when JFJ was trading draft picks for Perrault and Berehowsky at the trade deadline.

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  30. I feel terrible for Leaf's fans. I'm an Avs fan and know exactly what a second half collapse feels like, but at least when we Tanked, we knew there was a bright future right around the corner. The Leafs haven't been as fortunate.

    I only keep rough tabs on the team, but I'm not sure it's 100% Burke's fault. Who is the Head of Amateur Scouting and why does he still have a job? Effective rebuilding MUST be done through the draft - if you don't draft well, you're sunk. I'm sure Burke deserves some of the credit, but if your scouts aren't finding talent in the draft, there's not a whole lot the Leafs can do.

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    1. It's been 3 years and 5 months since Burke took over. It's still too early to see if his draft picks will produce capable NHLers, and definitely too early to write off said draft picks. As I said in the above post, it takes 5 years, maybe more, to rebuild. The Avs, Blues, Predators all went through long years like this Leaf season to get to where they are now (and Colorado might still miss the playoffs), but it's only amplified because it's Toronto.

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    2. One of the first things Burke did when he took over this team was fire the entire scouting staff that had been here under JFJ. Those that stayed, stayed with massively reduced roles.

      A lot of people forget that technically, this is the point where JFJ's prospects should be coming up from the AHL to help the Leafs. But JFJ's drafting was so horrendously awful, the Leafs have very few prospects in that age category (21-25), and currently the fans are blaming Burke for that.

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  31. Oh man, I've missed your old "I'm a bitter Leafs fan" rants so much. Please give us more!

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  32. You know, even as a non-Leaf fan, I've missed these Leaf-centric posts.

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  33. "d.) A 2012 team that was cap-maxed AND worse than JFJ's rock bottom in terms of points;"

    Every time someone says this, I have to shake my head. Apparently a lot of people have forgotten that JFJ's slighly better yearly records were because you could count on Mats Sundin to win 10-12 games by himself every year. That slighly inflates the win-loss totals of JFJ's years.

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  34. My name is Erich I like balls in my mouth and Chicago blackhawks

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