Sunday, January 13, 2013

Brian Burke's day timer opens up

It wasn't quite on the scale of historical importance of  MacCarthur's I shall return speech, though there was a vow of sorts that he "would return", all be it not to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

But for the hockey world, Saturday afternoon brought to the Leaf Nation, Brian Burke's farewell address.

And as might be expected there was a lot of material to work with.

It was an event broadcast live on Sportsnet One and a press conference that seemed to offer up the "A" list of Canada's hockey journalists and hockey broadcasters as key observers and participants.

For those hoping for the full bluster of Burke, he didn't disappoint.

In an opening statement and follow up wander down memory lane, he was at times funny,  sometimes snarky, cryptic and yes, honest as well. Sometimes all of them in the same sentence, in short, it was vintage Burke as we've come to expect from the Irishman with the gift of gab.

He expressed shock and said he was stunned at his dismissal from the Toronto Maple Leafs. Over the course of the mid day session he didn't duck many of the questions, deflected a few with the ever popular "you would have to ask them" and for the most part took ownership on the main point of any firing, public or private, that success dictates your longevity and in Toronto a lack of success seemed to be the main theme of his dismissal.

In the course of his press conference which ran about twenty five minutes or so, he reviewed the events of Wednesday, directed a few glances towards the upper offices of the new owners of the Leafs, a direct shot or two at the media, in particular Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun who we gather he doesn't particularly like and as always, never seemed to surrender any ground.

He made a point of thanking Larry Tannenbaum, which suggests that the minority opinion on the Maple Leaf Board wasn't to fire him, though Burke was cautious enough not to mention any further personal insight into his relationship with the executive offices of the MLSE empire.

He offered up the thought that he wished that the deed had been done prior to his departure to Russia over the holidays for the World Juniors, not so much we imagine that it was a trip that offered up less than enjoyable hospitality from the Russians, but rather that it seems to have accounted for a cold, which probably has added to his misery of the last few days.

The outgoing theme of his departure from the MLSE spotlight being that he wasn't going to change his way of conducting his business, though perhaps he might like to work for a company "that doesn't get sold while he's in charge". 

A scenario that has provided for unemployment twice in recent times for Burke, first in Vancouver and now in Toronto.

As for his immediate plans, his title is special assistant to the Board, the same board that for the most part decided that they didn't want him around anymore and which apparently changed the dynamic of the position after the firing of Wednesday.

So, much as he said he loathes collecting a cheque and doing nothing; for the short term, one imagines that would seem to be his fate.

Or as his daytimer might suggest:

1.     Arrive at work, open the doors,  turn on lights, sweep the entrance way
2.     Water the plants
3.     Adjust the shades on office window
4.     Make coffee, wait,  no that should be number one
5.     Cancel cel phones with Bell and Rogers
6.     Cancel cable subscrpition, open up Shaw Direct account
7.     Open up Koodo account
8.     Read up on cel phone etiquette, review section on when to turn phone off (ha, I was right)
8.     Cancel Toronto Sun subscription
9.     Phone Toronto Sun, ask for Steve Simmons, hang up
10.   Call Gary Bettman, see how things are going in the NHL these days
11.   Open door to office, see if anyone has any photo copying to do
12.   Try and arrange lunch date with...
13.   Adjust shades on office windows to account for sunlight
13.   Learn how to hook up electronic equipment on own
14.   See if anyone wants to talk hockey at coffee break
15.   Close shades on office window
16.   Get early start on the rush hour traffic on the Don Valley Parkway

And well, that's pretty well the day, repeat and rinse (minus the cancellation phase).

Though, as the Irish like to say, "truth be told" we suspect that Brian won't have to hang around the office for long.

Either MLSE starts mailing his cheques to the homestead, or considering the state of many NHL teams these days, he finds himself a new GM's offering, and we suspect that will be sooner rather than later.

Like any fine theatrical presentation, and with only the top line of reviewers in attendance the recap of  Burke's farewell have been most instructive.

Toronto Star-- Maple Leaf's new ownership gives knife in Brian Burke's back another twist
Toronto Star-- Brian Burke on Maple Leafs firing: "Like getting a two-by-four upside your heard"
Toronto Star-- Fired Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke wants a job "tomorrow"
Toronto Sun-- Brian Burke press conference recap
Toronto Sun-- Brian Burke dismissal shrouded in mystery
Toronto Sun-- Hopefully, Burke firing was for the right reasons
Globe and Mail-- Questions remain as bombastic Burke exits Toronto stage
National Post-- Brian Burke tells us how he really feels about Maple Leafs firing
National Post-- Brian Burke admits his 'brand' probably played a part in Maple Leafs firing 
CBC-- Former Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke "stunned" by firing
CBC-- Even Peter Puck felt Brian Burke's brusqueness
Sportsnet-- Belligerent to the end
TSN-- Burke points to lack of success for early dismissal

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