Brian Burke has spent the better part of his entire tenure speaking of the toll the media reporting takes on his players, coaches, and managers. There is certainly a hint of truth in the fact that the scrutiny may help to burden players that are not interested in sharing every moment of their life. If either the players, coaches, or managers that work for the Maple Leafs take issue with such treatment, nobody is forcing them to stay in Toronto at gunpoint. And if Burke is not happy about the treatment he gets from the media, perhaps he needs to take stock of his own behavior.
When asked about his goalie coach today, Burke lost his head. He spouted off the following to reporters earlier today:
“Funny, no one was complaining about Francois Allaire until Brian Gionta blindsided (Reimer) last fall, said Leaf president/GM Brian Burke on Monday, referring to the hit that derailed the young goalie’s season. No one was complaining about Allaire when Gustavsson was carrying the team in December. But I guess he’s the next thing. They’ve gone after the coach, after me, now it’s the goalie coach. Who’s next? Dave Morrison, our chief scout? A European scout of ours because we don’t have enough Europeans? Those are the mechanics in the Toronto market. It has to be someone who works for the Leafs. It can’t ever be the players. It can’t be, in the case of Reimer, that second-year goalies in our league historically have trouble.”
All of this is well and good, and most that have listened to the man speak know that he has no filter. Love him or hate him, but is his own man. This constant blaming of outside sources is getting tired, and quite frankly
Burke’s handling of the media is not exactly up to the quality standards that he seems to demand. He is absolutely right to defend his principles, but to acknowledge the good that occurs with his team while simply ignoring the bad is not formula for success. The Leafs have employed since Burke took over:
Vesa Toskala, Jonas Gustavsson, Martin Gerber, J.S. Giguere, James Reimer, Ben Scrivens
This is 6 net minders that have played the starting role for parts of 4 seasons. None of them have been spectacular, most of them have been the complete opposite. James Reimer deserves a little bit of a pass because he is recovering from a concussion, which takes time. Ryan Miller just a month ago started looking like his old self after suffering two head injuries in less than a year. The other goalies have had trouble, and fact is they all had some level of success before arriving in Toronto. Toskala played well in playoff games for the Sharks, monster was one of the best goalies when coming over from the Swedish Elite League. They come to Toronto and fall apart after trying to learn the Allaire butterfly style. To not question the effect Allaire has had on the goaltenders would be irresponsible for the media in Toronto.
Brian Burke has to remember one very important point in all of this, that the media is not writing this for their own good. They are the mouthpiece between organization and fan. To act as though they are some vindictive group every time a problem is acknowledged with his team is wrong. The fans in Toronto put up with a larger than life boisterous jerk that had the media in his hip pocket for a long time, the way Burke is acting it is as though he expects the same courtesy. The fans deserve better, and Burke is better than that.