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Brian Burke hangs up on radio host for asking if his job is on the line

Mar 6, 2012, 2:03 PM EDT

Brian Burke AP

Apparently it’s “gutless” to ask Brian Burke a tough question. Toronto’s general manager was interviewed by NewsTalk 1010 host John Moore on Tuesday, and after touching on subjects like the “You Can Play Project,” the Ron Wilson firing, and Don Cherry, the subject of Burke’s job security with the Maple Leafs was brought up. (Listen to the interview here.)

A partial transcript via the National Post:

Q: One last question for you, Brian Burke, changing coaches is always an option, but a lot of people on a panel I was hosting this weekend said it was time for the general manager to be changed.

Burke: “Well, I haven’t heard that. And I don’t know what panel you were hosting. That’s up to ownership. I wish you’d told me before you asked me to do this interview that that was going to be your last question, a nice little cheap shot before you get off the air.”

Q: I’m giving you a chance to answer it.

Burke: “Well, that’s up to ownership, when the GM gets changed. But I wish you’d told me that off the air before, you were going to take a little swing on the way out. But I guess that’s what people in your line of work do.”

Q: Well, Brian Burke, I’m not taking a swing. The possibility of a general manager being changed when a team isn’t performing well is always there. So I’m asking you if you feel like you’re close to the door.

Burke: “No, I don’t. And I think it’s an ignorant question, and a gutless one, too.”

And then he hung up.

Anyway, I’m not sure why Burke flew off the handle like that. It’s not an interviewer’s job to prep the subject. And if the Leafs miss the playoffs for the fourth time on his watch, he’d better be prepared for the question, because it deserves to be asked.

  1. babar61 - Mar 6, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    So…is that a yes?

  2. mydadyourmom - Mar 6, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    What a puss puss, can’t handle a totally appropriate question. Clearly feeling the heat.

    • jdubs21 - Mar 6, 2012 at 8:28 PM

      who down thumbs that comment?

  3. sportsfreak13 - Mar 6, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    There a right way and a wrong way to handle every situation. This folks is the wrong way.

  4. travishenryskid - Mar 6, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    I know he’s done great things in the past, but Burke is a disaster in Toronto. That is completely unprofessional and uncalled for. If he were anyone else, he’d be gone today.

  5. govtminion - Mar 6, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    The weird part, to me, is that even if he does get canned this summer, somehow he’ll be running the show for another team within a year or so. No idea how he does it.

    • jdubs21 - Mar 6, 2012 at 8:31 PM

      I for one liked the team he built in Vancouver and Anaheim. How he treats the media for asking a question that every fans wants to ask is appalling at times. I’d rather have a GM that is more open and honest, but he knows how to build a hockey club in my opinion.

  6. habsman - Mar 6, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    Burke is a typical American clown.

    • sportsfreak13 - Mar 6, 2012 at 2:38 PM

      just like don cherry is a typical candien clown. Every country has theirs.

    • bigtganks - Mar 6, 2012 at 3:08 PM

      Maybe he’s been in Canada (Vanc- T.) too long is all…

    • homelanddefense - Mar 6, 2012 at 4:06 PM

      so it isn’t just bias towards the Bruins, its America in general? You look worse every time you comment.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Mar 6, 2012 at 5:35 PM

        You guys obviously missed the jab at sjsharksfan11, but don’t worry, I’ve got Habsman’s back (never thought I’d type that out).

  7. chiadam - Mar 6, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    Habsman is just upset because a Canadian team has not won the Cup since 1789. That, and there’s a good chance he’s French and, by definition, a coward.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Mar 6, 2012 at 2:55 PM

      Who cares that a Canadian team hasn’t won the Cup in 20 years? Pretty much every summer the Cup spends more time here than anywhere else in the world.

    • haterzgonahate - Mar 6, 2012 at 6:19 PM

      those “cowards” burned your Whitehouse down in 1812… but i bet they skipped those pages in history class eh?

      seriously though… i’m not one to stick up for the French (cause they annoy the piss out of me in my line of work) but they’re hardly cowards.. especially the French special forces. go ask your grandpa about them.

  8. davebabychreturns - Mar 6, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    Burke didn’t appreciate being blindsided because it’s hard to bully people in those circumstances.

    Still, the question is better directed at his boss.

  9. hawknuts - Mar 6, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    burke is a grown man with a reputation for truculence ha ha ha! he should be able to answer questions about the lack of truculence he is putting forth on the ice without losing his temper and quitting the interview.

    its ok for him to bully everyone in the media when he feels like it but a simple apt question is disregarded as a personal attack when its merit is rather sound. he gets paid to deal with the media and put a winning product on the ice, he is absolutely incompetent in both of those regards.

    He will set fire to an organization and walk away letting it burn while someone is stupid enough to hire him again to restart this process in another area code.

  10. sippindasyzurp - Mar 6, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    I always love checking out the PHT message boards on a daily basis, it provides some good laughs with the banter that goes on here!

  11. ikillchicken - Mar 6, 2012 at 6:03 PM

    Burkie can get all butt hurt if he wants. It was a perfectly legitimate question. His job may very well be on the line if the Leafs don’t make the playoffs.

  12. puckhound - Mar 6, 2012 at 6:59 PM

    I hope the Toronto Maple Leafs DO fire Brian Burke. That will create an opportunity for Terry Pegula to bring Mr. Burke into the Buffalo Sabres organization and dump that worthless pile of crap known as Darcy Regier at the curb, all bundled up and ready for the next garbage pick-up.

  13. vipod4ever - Mar 6, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    i seem to think Leaf ownership expected a playoff birth in 4yrs…any organization should. Valid question for this short tempered primadonna

  14. stakex - Mar 6, 2012 at 8:44 PM

    Well Burke certainly didn’t handle this all that well. He could simply have said no comment, or that he thinks his job is safe, or some other stock answer to such questions. The way he reacted was quite un-professional.

    With that said, I do think that is sorta dick question to ask a person. Sure, it might be a very legitimate question for analyst to ponder over over and discuss… but I don’t know if its legitimate to ask someone to their face. I mean come on, whats he going to say… “Yes, I think I’m about to be fired”? Of course not, even if that is what hes thinking. If you want to ask questions about someone whos about to be fired… ask their boss (the person who will actually make that call), not them.

  15. davego6 - Mar 6, 2012 at 8:59 PM

    Maple Leaf ownership are non-existent and will NOT fire Burke. The man-up thing for Burke to do is to resign. Let’s face it, he can’t t handle the job in Toronto.

    Over the issue, regarding Ontario players, it was he that brought it up prior to Don Cherry’s rant. He alluded to the fact that every team that comes into Toronto has several Ontario players on their roster that are eager and proud to play in front of their family and friends. Hmm, maybe that might work for the Leafs themselves, but oh no, not one local boy on the team!

    The Toronto media HAVE NOT been tough enough with this entire organization.

    Come on Brian, tender your resignation, after all you haven’t delivered what you promised at all!

  16. habsman - Mar 6, 2012 at 9:25 PM

    So which team has the most Americans?

  17. pavelfitzgerald - Mar 6, 2012 at 9:48 PM

    This isn’t a Canadian/American debate or matter if he’s Canadian, American or Ugo freakin’ Slavia all that matters is he’s starting to crack under the bright lights in Toronto & doesn’t like hard questions. Bullies hate being bullied

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