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Now Burke’s hearing it from business professors

Mar 22, 2012, 11:23 AM EDT

Brian Burke AP

If Brian Burke were managing a company, not a hockey team, his job would be in jeopardy, say a pair of business professors that spoke to the Toronto Star.

“I’d say he’s on the cusp,” said Glenn Rowe, director of the executive MBA program at Western University. “My sense is that in most businesses, when you’re at the CEO or COO level, you get about three or four years to prove your worth.”

Added Ken Wong, a business professor at Queen’s University: “We would certainly not tolerate what we’re seeing from Burke in the business world. He would certainly be asked a lot more questions in a much more adversarial way than the media has asked him. In financial circles, they’d be on him like a flock of buzzards.”

Burke was hired on Nov. 29, 2008, and the Leafs have yet to make the playoffs on his watch. And while the team still makes money, it’s leaving a fortune on the table by repeatedly missing out on playoff revenue. If the business were publicly traded, its share price would’ve tumbled since the Leafs crashed out of a playoff spot.

That Wong says the media is going easy on Burke compared to how the business world would react is also interesting. For all the attention the Leafs get in Toronto, the media’s mostly given Burke the benefit of the doubt that he knows what he’s doing. But clearly that’s starting to change.

  1. millertime30 - Mar 22, 2012 at 11:31 AM


  2. AlohaMrHand - Mar 22, 2012 at 11:48 AM

    Oh well,Blue Jay season is just around the corner

  3. rainyday56 - Mar 22, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    With the resources and fanbase supporting them, the Leafs should be dominating the NHL like the Yankees dominate baseball and the big European soccer teams dominate their leagues. Cap or no cap, if you are the big kid on the block, you get your way. You get the players you want and you dominate. What the Leafs have been missing is that big boss who can swing that big stick and get the pieces that the franchise has the power to acquire. Burke obviouly isn’t that guy. If I was on the Leafs board, I would be suggesting making an offer to Bettman to run the franchise. He’d be a fool not to take the job as it would be a defacto promotion for him.

    • davebabychreturns - Mar 22, 2012 at 12:27 PM

      Pretty sure Bettman is a. not a hockey guy and b. making enough money to buy and sell Brian Burke’s sorry ass.

      As for the Leafs they need a GM with the will to win a staring contest with the local media and fans and ice a lineup way under the cap while they rebuild the team’s organizational depth (really, step one should have been an overhaul of the staff and processes responsible for scouting, drafting and development but that’s not really Burkie’s style).

      As it is Burke would be fine if he wasn’t overpaying six or seven players a million plus a year – but his insistence on remaining competitive has put him in this predicament and now the franchise needs to see a huge improvement from within just to make a step forward next year.

      Still all this bellyaching in Toronto (boy the Star is really on the warpath these days) is a bit overblown, the Leafs are in a marginally better spot than when Burke arrived and if not for the Seguin/Kessel debacle his biggest mistakes would be a few bad contracts the organization can easily afford.

      • rainyday56 - Mar 22, 2012 at 12:51 PM

        Bettman’s an old school ruthless SOB who gets his way. That is what the Leafs have been lacking since the passing of old Conn.

  4. habsman - Mar 22, 2012 at 8:07 PM

    Burkie is doing a great job. All this team needs is a little bit of time to “gel.”

    But please, no more trades with Boston.

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