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Brian Burke responds to Don Cherry’s Ontario complaints

Mar 6, 2012, 9:28 AM EDT

Brian Burke AP

When Don Cherry lashed out at Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke on Saturday night about Burke’s apparent lack of players from Ontario, you just knew Burke wouldn’t stay quiet for long.

During an interview with Canadian radio station Newstalk 1010, Burke was asked about Cherry’s comments and he made it clear that Cherry may not know what he’s talking about. Joe Warmington of the Toronto Sun sums it up.

Burke says that over his first three drafts with the Maple Leafs: “We drafted eight Ontario kids — the most of any team in the NHL.”

That’s nice and all, but they’re not with the team now, Brian.

As for whether or not he listened to Cherry’s rambling diatribe about how the Leafs need more good old Ontario kids, Burke was short and to the point.

“I didn’t hear it. I don’t listen to Coach’s Corner,” said Burke. “Why would the CBC let the facts get in the way of a good rant.”

Now that Cherry has served and Burke has served back, that means it’s on now, right?

  1. babar61 - Mar 6, 2012 at 9:32 AM

    I think it’s time for another barn challenge Burkie…

  2. madtolive5 - Mar 6, 2012 at 9:58 AM

    Between this and the Habs coach not speaking French…are Canadians kinda Racisty????

    • jdubs21 - Mar 6, 2012 at 10:43 AM

      it’s not racism you moron. There is no race involved, the Don Cherry vs Burke thing started with Cherry complaining about Burke, Burke going to the CBC board of governors to try and get Cherry fired, Cherry finding out about that, then Cherry’s rant stating how all teams in the NHL have Ontario born players, except the team from Ontario.

      But racism, ya lets go with that says the American who complains about Mexicans and black people.

      • madtolive5 - Mar 6, 2012 at 10:47 AM

        Dude he said that people with a specific culture and upbringing need to be on the team.
        How is that at all relevant?

        if Toronto won the cup this year would Don feel cheated?
        I know the Habs hate their coach who doesn’t speak french but love their GM who has run the organization into the bottom half of the league.

      • jdubs21 - Mar 6, 2012 at 10:52 AM

        Don Cherry didn’t say anything about people with a specific culture and upbringing. Get your ears checked. What Don Cherry said is that Ontario as a region has the greatest number of hockey players in the NHL and why doesn’t the team from Ontario want any players from Ontario. He then went on to state how Burke likes to draft US Collegiate players (doesn’t state where there from, just college players).

        Not sure why you keep bringing in the Montreal Canadiens into this, that happened months ago, and not Burke nor Cherry mentioned it recently.

      • madtolive5 - Mar 6, 2012 at 11:08 AM

        I think if you are not an Idiot and read between the lines here, you can see it is an extremely xenophobic view by don cherry. There are great hockey players all over the world. Picking one of two equal players because of which Province he is from is xenophobic.

        I also think it is ridiculous for Cherry to claim that Burke is purposely avoids them.

        This is his quote “I’ll tell ya. Let me just give ya … I wrote it down, had to write it down … Vancouver has four. Pittsburgh has six. St. Louis. Beautiful team. Surprise team. Nine! Last year, Boston had seven from Ontario, this year they have nine. Chicago won it in 2010 and they had seven.”

        So St. Louis is a beautiful team because they have 9? Who cares how many people from a specific province or country the players are from!!!
        I care if they are playing well and winning.

      • paperlions - Mar 6, 2012 at 1:36 PM

        The Blues do have some good looking guys on the team…not sure I would go so far as saying “beautiful”.

        They do play good, tough, 2-way hockey though, even the guys not from Ontario.

    • t16rich - Mar 6, 2012 at 11:38 AM

      Wow. You are going to let an idiot and the Habs dumb policy let you cloud your opinion on an entire nation? Everywhere has someone that drags down the positive. But Cmon man, Canadians racisty? Your pegging one man to all our people. Dont get me wrong. I recognize there is racism in Canada, but we are no more racist than any other country and we are very welcoming of immigrants in all our cities and towns. If one person can make you question an entire nation like that, then I’d love to know what your opinion on Rush Limbaugh, Rick Santorum and Americans is. Take your worry about racism to a forum where it matters and is relevant.

      • madtolive5 - Mar 6, 2012 at 12:00 PM

        It really doesn’t matter where I am from or what political people i back.
        I am saying you shouldn’t judge anyone for a job based on anything except how well you think they will do at it.

        I really don’t think Cananda is full of racists more so then any other country or region in the world. I am sure it is a wonderful place to live.

      • t16rich - Mar 6, 2012 at 12:29 PM

        I was only commenting on your opening comment. My point is if a senile hockey analyst lets you believe an entire nation is racist, I would love to know what you think about some of the sketchy politicians and political analysts opinions.

      • t16rich - Mar 6, 2012 at 12:32 PM

        I’m not commenting on your entire argument, which is dead on with mine. Just your opening comment. It’s a bad one. I don’t think Canada or Ontario or Brian Burke is racist. Cherry has a awful history with this stuff especially europe, my only argument is Canada isn’t racist because of this idiot.

    • t16rich - Mar 6, 2012 at 11:55 AM

      Sorry there madolive. Reading further I see you know whats up and whats down. That opening comment got me fired up. Hahaha.

    • bcisleman - Mar 6, 2012 at 12:31 PM

      Grapes hardly represents all Canadians and he isnt so much racist as he is pro-Canada and pro-Ontario.

      • bcisleman - Mar 6, 2012 at 12:35 PM

        And it would be good PR for Burke to have a couple of local players on the roster.

    • haterzgonahate - Mar 6, 2012 at 7:53 PM

      ya.. Canada is a racist country lol! where do you think all the slaves went to escape slavery in America? here’s a hint… it’s North!

  3. timsabourin - Mar 6, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    @madtolive5 Nothing to do with race in MTL bud, it is a matter of the Habs being the one of the largest cultural symbols French Canadians have and wanting to keep with tradition. As far as Don wanting more Ontario boys on the Leafs: last time I checked people from Ontario aren’t defined by race.

    • madtolive5 - Mar 6, 2012 at 10:43 AM

      Yes maybe it is not racist per-say (if you didn’t know raciisty is not actually a word)
      But i am speaking to this xenophobic mentality that seems to be poking its ugly head out
      All you are doing is defending it by saying “no its okay for them to only want people on there team from a specific region. Seriously what is the line?

      I think it is a good idea for Nashville to only have white people from Tennessee with a southern drawl be drafted? If someone like Mike Milbery said that he would be fired. What if JR said that only people from Boston should run and be drafted by the Bruins?

      As far as I know it doesn’t matter who is the HC of the Habs…there “cultural symbol” isn’t going anywhere. And if you feel like the maple leafs or habs or any team is cheapened because someone with a different background and culture is heavily involved with a team then you have a serious problem and are a racist or bigot or xenophobe. I don’t really care what name you give it.

      • timsabourin - Mar 6, 2012 at 11:11 AM

        I don’t recall expressing my views at all, either way they are irrelevant so let’s just hold off on labeling me a racist, bigot or xenophobe. Just trying to help you follow a logical thought process before calling and entire nation ‘racisty’ (by the way I am aware this is not a word, mainly the reason why I didn’t use it).
        Also, could you have picked a worse team to draw a comparison with than Nashville? No, you could not have.
        Don was merely making a point that the Leafs might benefit from having some home grown talent on the team – kids who grew up loving the team. Also it’s no secret the best hockey players come from Ontario, so probably a good idea to look there for potential players.
        And as far as the Montreal HC situation you clearly have no idea how strongly connected the Habs are with French Canada so just leave it at that.

      • madtolive5 - Mar 6, 2012 at 11:17 AM

        No i do know. Which is exactly my point.
        It is too connected, when you can’t accept an “outsiders” help.
        When the best man to fill the interim position because he doesn’t speak one of the two languages, is ridiculous.

        Where i picked is completely arbitrary. Boston and Detriot are two cities with a rich hockey roots in the USA. What if Boston refused to draft anyone from Canada and only selected players who spent time at a New England school? It would be wrong!

        My only freaking point is that judging the talent from where they are from is wrong. Judge them for their talent!!

        how can anyone argue that?

      • alkickurass - Mar 6, 2012 at 12:35 PM

        Easy to argue – there is nothing wrong with judging talent from where a player is from. Doesn’t happen so much in hockey though. I think you are missing the point that Don Cherry and Ron MacLean were trying to make on Saturday night.

        Ron pointed out to Burke that visiting players that are originally born in Ontario come into the Leaf games and want to perform their best. Burke even agreed with those comments – where he echoed that these visiting players come in and want to have the game of their life in front of friends/family.

        Ron then switched it on Burke and wondered why the Leafs don’t have any players from Ontario. To create the same effect for the Leaf team, having players from Ontario trying even harder in front of friends/family. I know it isn’t exactly the same, as eventually a Leaf player will lose some of the intensity over time in playing in front of the home crowd. But the point was fair. Plus Ontario produces a lot of good NHL players, why not tap into this talent pool.

        Of course, it may not be a factor at all and Burke is sticking with his assessments on players. Could just be coincidence that Burke has wanted some of the Ontario players that have come out, just not at the draft position or via free agency available. Who knows??

        The Leafs before Burke arrived had a European flavor to them – rarely drafted Canadian players. At least Burke has more Canadians on the team, regardless if none are currently from Ontario. Also, way more entertaining having a team that isn’t all finesse.

        Regardless it is a fair question to ask about. Xenophobic was that the word of the day today?? Never seen that word as much as reading these postings.

        Regardless, you can judge talent on location – typically that applies more for MLB and NBA general managers.

      • timsabourin - Mar 6, 2012 at 12:51 PM

        No one ever said the Leafs had to exclusively pick talent from Ontario, Cherry was just drawing attention to the fact that the Leafs have no on from Ontario on their roster. He gave examples of successful teams that had/have a high number of Ontario born players. Your argument has little to do with what Cherry said.

        ‘No i do know. Which is exactly my point.
        It is too connected, when you can’t accept an “outsiders” help.
        When the best man to fill the interim position because he doesn’t speak one of the two languages, is ridiculous.’
        Surely you can articulate yourself a little better than that, don’t even know where to begin responding to this.

  4. ven9898 - Mar 6, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    I understand what @madtolive5 is saying. While not exactly racist, it is putting one culture above another. Canada isn’t a french stronghold these days, the coach doesn’t need to speak French, get over it. So whatever if there are no Ontario boys playing Toronto, just because you’re from Toronto doesn’t make you a stud hockey player. Cherry is an old blowhard and needs to go away.

    • burkemustgo - Mar 6, 2012 at 7:09 PM

      Your a douche bag

  5. jdubs21 - Mar 6, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    Do people not read and then comment on the article in question anymore? Why are there comments about the Montreal Canadiens and the head coach? This is about Burke vs Cherry.

    • predsboy18 - Mar 6, 2012 at 11:22 AM

      The fact is, it IS connected. You have someone, whether it’s a group of fans, or a ranting commentator saying that the team HAS to have this, or else. In Montreal, a group of fans were mad that the coach didn’t know French, in Toronto, you had Don Cherry go on the air and rant about Toronto not having any Ontario players. I’m not seeing how these aren’t connected. It’s a group or commentator talking about the culture of this team or that team. If Burke doesn’t want Ontario-born players on his team, so be it. Perhaps Burke thinks he can find better players elsewhere, or that he doesn’t want to always have to dip into the OHL. And Burke says that they’ve drafted several players from Ontario, then perhaps they’re not NHL ready yet, or they’re just not that good. Same with Cunneyworth in Montreal, perhaps they felt he was the best candidate for the job.

      Honestly, which would you rather have, a borderline player that will eat up minutes, but is born in Ontario, or a monster of a player from Winnipeg, or worse (in Cherry’s case), Quebec, or Sweden?

  6. pensfan29 - Mar 6, 2012 at 11:45 AM

    you dont get players from where your team is from….you get the best player available, doesnt matter where they are from. there is a reason i hate don cherry.

  7. habsman - Mar 6, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    Montreal is unique in that it’s the only franchise in the NHL that is basically bi-lingual or having a large French Canadian base. There has been a long precedent of having a coach that can communicate in both official languages. The frustration comes from francophones tuning in to watch a press confrence and not knowing what the coach is saying. It would be no different than the Red Wing coach standing at the podium and speaking German. Fans want to know whats going on with their team. Habs fans don’t hate Cunnyworth, they hate the fact that he cannot communicate with them.

    • banshee950 - Mar 6, 2012 at 2:32 PM

      Allthough there are many things I will never agree with you on, this is the best explaination of the whole French speaking thing I have seen. Thanks. To be honest, the story has gotten way more miles than it should have anyway even in your season of distrctions.
      I can’t believe we’ve played the last B’s-Habs game of the season already. Opinions of the current teams not withstanding, thats sad.

      • habsman - Mar 6, 2012 at 5:02 PM

        Sox-Yankee’s, Celts-Lakers, Pats-Jets. All great rivalries. But the Habs-Bruins, in my opinion, is the most intense, passionate rivalry in pro sports. Hopefully the Habs will regroup and provide a better competition next year.

    • banshee950 - Mar 6, 2012 at 8:29 PM

      I agree whole heartedly. As fun as it has been throwing good natured barbs at the Habs in the cellar (to be fair you’ve owned us for most of my 30+ years as a B’s fan so we are entitled) I too look forward to a more competative Canadians team. The next few years are going to be good ones in the NE divsion. Tor and Ott are both one or two key guys away from being top notch, MTL will undoubtedly improve too. I see some seriously competative hockey in our future

  8. hawknuts - Mar 6, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    cherry is sticking up for the media and giving burke just one more pressure point to deal with. cherry has been pushing this shtick for the entire time he has been on coaches corner. He has every right to use his medium to put forth his opinion and if the CBC has a problem with that they can sensor him. I personally quit watching that show when I was a kid because its not worth my time.

    this argument is going to open up an opportunity to any media member to voice displeasure with the job burke is doing in toronto, allowing them to second guess his questionable tenureship, while having cherry as a shield to deflect direct criticism from burke. burke tried to go behind cherry’s back to the CBC, like he has successfully to many media outlets in Toronto (Vancouver as well during his tenure) to reprimand their employees because they are giving an opinion he doesn’t like. i.e. undermining his performance and that of his team. the CBC stood up for their employee and cherry knows he will have coaches corner until he dies, so he loaded up both barrels and started firing back at burke.

    with the way burke treats the media and the coaches he hires who believe they are above scrutiny as well, this will just give cherry a crusade to embark upon until he sways public opinion to the point of making MLSE decide to fire burke.

    they are in a public pissing match and with the way the leafs are playing right now, burke is better off to keep his opinion to himself (even if he and other may believe he is right).

  9. 1ayrquota - Mar 6, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    I am a Sabres fan and could not care less about the Leafs, Burke or Cherry but come on Don. That has to be the dumbest thing I have ever heard. Could you imagine someone from the Devils say we need to get more players from New Jersey. Does any other sorts franchise think that way? Do the Yankees, Patriots or Lakers have that discussion?

    • burkemustgo - Mar 6, 2012 at 6:41 PM

      Burke was wrong on 2 fronts. 1) He was the one who said it is tough for the leafs, because each team that comes to play them have 5 or 6 Ontarions. They are playing in front of Family and friends. He was making excuses.
      Cherry was not Anti American.
      Don’s rant was more on the US College kid vs. the Canadian Junior Player.
      i.e. Frattin and Bozak. Who have received more second chances after making mistakes than
      a guy from Jr. A like Nazim Kadri.
      2) Burke went around Cherry to get him fired. Classless. He is not a real man.
      He likes to act tough, but I seriously doubt he has ever been in a real fight.
      He has a history of trying to silence critics.
      Thank God for free speech.

  10. sjsharksfan11 - Mar 6, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    Cherry is a Canadian Clown

    • habsman - Mar 6, 2012 at 2:28 PM

      And you’re an American clown.

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