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Burke on why the Penguins are a good team: “They won a goddamn lottery”

Apr 10, 2012, 1:51 PM EDT

If you didn’t catch Brian Burke’s press conference this morning in Toronto, the Maple Leafs’ general manager didn’t disappoint when it came to doing what he does best – delivering memorable sound bites.

Unfortunately for Leafs fans, what he hasn’t been able to deliver is a playoff team, and today he had to answer for it.

Here’s the transcript. Following are a few choice Burke quotes, with our take in brackets.

On whether the Leafs should’ve followed the “Pittsburgh model,” aka suffering through a few miserable seasons and building through the draft:

“They won a lottery. They won a goddamn lottery and got the best player in the game. Pittsburgh model, my ass. They got the best player in the lottery, Ray Shero’s an excellent GM and a friend of mine, but I love when people talk about the Pittsburgh model.”

(They talk about it because it works. Chicago used it, too.)

On his management style:

“I was born impatient and I’m going to die impatient.”

(And that’s a good thing?)

On the type of team he wants to build:

“I still believe that big physical teams win hockey games, and if you have two evenly matched teams from a skilled perspective, the bigger one’s going to win.”

(That’s what you said when you were hired. How is your team still too small?)

More on the size, toughness issue:

“I’d say the one place where Ron Wilson and I were not on the same page was that same issue, I like to dictate how the game is played, we’re not big enough to play it Randy [Carlyle’s] way and that’s not optional. We can’t play the way Randy wants to play with this group, that’s not possible.”

(So you kept a coach for over three years that didn’t like to play the way you like your teams to play?)

On what the Leafs need most:

“I think Tyler Bozak made great strides, but for us, goaltending and a number-one center would be the needs.”

(You were looking for a future number-one center and a goaltender when you were hired in 2008, and you still don’t have either? Tyler Seguin’s going to be a pretty good center.)

On the possibility of improving through free agency:

“If you look at free agency, we’ve avoided doing those wonky contracts that are cap circumventions. I choose to make change through trade, not through free agency, I can’t see a lot of impact there.”

(When you were hired, you said July 1 would be your draft day. You’ve also plain made some bad signings. Mike Komisarek. Colby Armstrong. Tim Connolly.)

On yet again missing the playoffs:

“This notion of making the playoffs… we could have made the playoffs last year, we could have made the playoffs this year, we could have traded this first round pick, gotten a thirty-year-old, somehow squeaked in. I’m not interested in making the playoffs unless it’s part of a championship. That is the goal. Not to get in in the eighth spot, get your ass kicked, and stand up here and say yeah, we were in the playoffs.”

(And when exactly will the Leafs be making the playoffs with the chance to win a championship? Because at this point, they don’t even look close.)

  1. reachers87 - Apr 10, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    Unreal. Pens won one lottery after abysmal seasons and he says that is not a blue print. Keep enjoying the playoffs from home Burkie.

    • psujay - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:28 PM

      The Pens had 5 top 5 picks in 5 years. 4 top two picks in a row. It wasn’t one bad year.

      • ml3939 - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:41 PM

        Jason, please expain how the Pens have used the Chicago model. Was there model to be awful 4 years in row and draft first or second 4 years in row when guys like MAF, Malkin and Crosby were available. If that is not getting struck by lightening 3 times in 3 straight years, what is?

      • sjshark714 - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:51 PM

        right, but that IS WHY they are good. Not saying they cheated or anything like that, or that it was unfair. Crosby and Malkin and even Fleury were GOING to go somewhere. The fact that they all ended up with the pens IS why they are good now. In the end, tanking the two seasons before they picked Crosby and Geno played a bigger role in their eventual success than some people in the locker room when they won.

      • ml3939 - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:52 PM

        If they played that poor and their were 4 weaker drafts or talent that was not as obvious, they would not be nearly as good as they are now. They got very lucky that those were the players available at that time. Has any team in the expansion area had the opportunity to draft that kind of talent in the top 2 three years in a row?

      • warchief65 - Apr 12, 2012 at 12:49 AM

        Where did they end up BEFORE they got Cindy and the rest of the players ? And you say ” it wasn’t one bad year ” ? But , I digress , it wasn’t ONE bad year , it was a slew of bad years .

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Apr 10, 2012 at 4:11 PM

      The Crosby lottery wasn’t even after a bad season, it was coming out of the lockout, every team was entered into it and Pittsburgh won. That’s not a “model” that’s just luck.

      • joeyjojoshabadoo - Apr 10, 2012 at 4:32 PM

        It was a weighted lottery, the lower ranked teams had a better chance to win it than the higher ones. Pittsburgh was one of only four teams with 3 (the most) chances to get drawn. Its just a more extreme version of what happens with the ‘lottery picks’ in the current draft.

      • therealjr - Apr 10, 2012 at 4:59 PM

        Yeah it was weighted alright. Weighted so that Lemieux could get his new arena.

      • iinformeduthusly - Apr 10, 2012 at 11:07 PM

        Three balls
        Buffalo Sabres, Columbus Blue Jackets, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins

        Two balls
        Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Atlanta Thrashers, Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, Phoenix Coyotes

        One ball
        Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Flyers, San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, Washington Capitals

      • philliesblow - Apr 11, 2012 at 12:19 PM

        No balls

        Gary Bettman

      • warchief65 - Apr 12, 2012 at 12:55 AM

        So , what about the rest of those ” not making the playoffs ” years ? It wasn’t only one strike year . No siree Bob . It was like 5 years BEFORE the strike year , and never finishing over than 27th place .

    • polegojim - Apr 16, 2012 at 11:51 PM

      Wonder how he feels about the ‘lottery winning’ Pens now???

      Interesting how things can collapse in 6 days.

      I wouldn’t want their ‘winning ticket’ if this is what it bought me!!!

  2. geo91 - Apr 10, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    Ass much of a jackass he is he does make a good point; the pens are what they are out of luck of the lottery. Malkin is one of the best in the game but I doubt he alone could have carried them to the success they’ve had

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:06 PM

      “Ass much.” Nicely done.

      He does make a good point. Being awful for years and almost moving out of town isn’t exactly what you should strive for, but that’s exactly how the Pens got to where they are today. He only talks about Crosby but they got Malkin and Fleury because they were among the league’s absolute worst in back-to-back years.

      • geo91 - Apr 11, 2012 at 11:51 PM

        lol iPad double tap, thanks though grammar police.

      • warchief65 - Apr 12, 2012 at 1:10 AM

        When you finish 27th place , for 4 year straight , before the strike year , you have 3 times to end up getting the # pick . That’s not luck . Luck is when you run out of track and your train doesn’t flip . At 70 M.P.H.. And that’s what Mario did to get the picks he got . The Leafs only finished 29th once , and they lost the pick to Boston because of dumb luck . But still , that was only one good pick , not like what the Pens did , and part of what Chicago did .

  3. govtminion - Apr 10, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    ” I’m not interested in making the playoffs unless it’s part of a championship. That is the goal. Not to get in in the eighth spot, get your ass kicked, and stand up here and say yeah, we were in the playoffs.” ”

    If Leafs fans weren’t already in torch-and-pitchfork mode, they should be now over that line alone. Is he really saying it’s better to not make the playoffs at all than to get in and not be able to win a Cup?

    You get in, you’re 0-0, Burkie. Anything can happen- ask the ’96 Panthers. To claim that it’s better that you’re on the outside- again, as usual- is one of the most pathetic excuses I’ve ever heard.

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Apr 10, 2012 at 4:16 PM

      And the 04 Flames and 06 Oilers. Burke has been spouting the “we can get in anytime we want to line” for awhile now and it just rings hollow, if you can do it then do it, it would show the fans and new owners that the team is moving forward with you. He’s also said that he had the chance to get 4 first round draft picks at the trade deadline but decided not to, I’d like to know which 4 players would garner him first round picks cause I can think of 2, maybe 3.

    • warchief65 - Apr 12, 2012 at 1:24 AM

      Well , there is a fine line from only making the playoffs , to ” we have chance the win it all ” . Sure , every other playoffs you will see a Cinderella team making it to the Finals . And that’s what Burke is talking about . And how many of those Cinderella teams did you win the cup ?

  4. davebabychreturns - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    At this point, the more Burkie talks the worse he looks – give him enough rope and he will surely hang himself.

    Time to shut your trap Brian, and either start from the ground up or hope like hell the kids in the organization are ready to seize the reins from the guys you’ve signed who proved this year that they (for the most part) cannot.

    • sjshark714 - Apr 10, 2012 at 4:17 PM

      he has done a terrible job, he has wasted potentially huge picks. But honestly i think they are struggling now because of what happened before he was there in 2002, 2003, 2004. Thos draft classes were unreal. 2002 had Nash, Lehtonen, Boumeester, Whitney, Lupul, Semin, Ward and a bunch of others that are NHL regulars. 2003 might be best class ever with Fleury, Stall, Horton, Vanek, Carter, Michalek, Brown Parise, Getzlaf, Burns, Kesler, Richards, Perry and countless others, and even 2004 had Ovi, Malkin, Radulov, Korpikoski, Zajac, Wolski, Schneider, Green. 2005 even had bundles of talent after Crosby and Bobby Ryan. out of those 4 years literally teeming with talent in the first round, the leafs only made 2 first round picks. Alex Steen and Tukka Rask, and either of those would help them now, but they didn’t even hang onto the two they did pick. They are the only team in the league to not benefit from those huge drafts and all those players are currently leading their teams around the league.

      • warchief65 - Apr 12, 2012 at 1:48 AM

        The picks are only how good they are . Every season , the league picks up something like 1000 players , of which , over half will make the never see the N.H.L. . If that left , half will will only play in Semi pro . What’s left , half will never make to to the A.H.L. . The top 10 drafts , of any season , only 3 of them will crack the teams that drafted them . Of the 7 players will sent to the A.H.L , and only 4 of them will make that team . In all , only something like 40 players in the draft picks , will ever see the N.H.L. . And only 12 of them will play longer that 3 seasons in the N.H.L. .
        It doesn’t take hard to know that it’s hard to make it in the N.H.L. , and make a living .

  5. cup0pizza - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    Burke is right as far as the Penguins go. Same can be said for the Blackhawks. Garbage bottom feeder teams in successive seasons have the luxury of hitting the lotter and bam it goes from rags to riches.

    • WeWantTheCup - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:16 PM

      hmmmmm, so winning the “damn” lottery isnt a model. Well is “rebuilding” by trading away your draft picks a model of rebuilding you dumb f**K. Man is this guy stupid. Hey Burkie, listen up “YOU CANT WIN THE LOTTERY WHEN YOU ARE ONE OF THE WORST TEAMS IN THE LEAGUE AND YOU TRADE AWAY YOUR 1ST ROUND PICKS DUMB DUMB!!!!” I love seeing the leafs suck year after year.

      • psujay - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:31 PM

        I agre with all of this except liking seeing the Leafs sucking.

        *single tear*

      • napoleonblownapart6887 - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:49 PM

        Rights to Tukka Rask for Raycroft.

        /shows self out.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:59 PM

        @napoleonblownapart6887: Rask for Raycroft wasn’t Burke’s doing and is far worse than the Kessel deal as far as I’m concerned. This team needs goaltending more than anything else right now.

      • govtminion - Apr 10, 2012 at 4:58 PM

        In addition, I’ll give Burke this- he’s even up on the Rask trade in my eyes after the fleecing he gave Boston over Kaberle last year.

    • davebabychreturns - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:25 PM

      The two teams that have had success with this in the last decade or so supplemented their cores with other scorers and top notch defensemen and great roleplayers through smart drafting in the later rounds, shrewd trading and key free agent acquisitions.

      By your logic the Atlanta Thrashers and Florida Panthers and New York Islanders and Columbus Blue Jackets and Edmonton Oilers should all be terrorizing the league, given their multiple opportunities to pick at the top of the draft.

      • miketoasty - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:43 PM

        Oilers should be a good team in a couple years. Just like the Penguins, young talent takes time to develop.

      • davebabychreturns - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:12 PM

        I’ll believe it when I see it.

        The current management group does not look good, and unless they are intentionally putting together one of the worst teams in the league year in and year out (worst record in the league in the post-lockout period, that’s with a SCF appearance) and are going to just flip the switch and stop signing pluggers to awful deals at some point then I don’t see any reason to think all that accumulated youth is going to be enough on its own to make that team a contender.

        I have my doubts that they will be spending to the cap if/when it gets into the $70-75m territory, so monster deals for Horcoff and Hemsky combined with what are probably going to be huge extensions for Hall, RNH and Eberle are going to seriously compromise the organization’s ability to go out and fill the huge holes in that roster.

      • atwatercrushesokoye - Apr 10, 2012 at 4:22 PM

        I agree with you, everyone keeps talking about the Oilers and all of their youth but they’ve only moved from 30th to 29th. So far all they have are a bunch of skilled undersized forwards who get injured a lot.

        Remember Robbie Schremp was gonna be the next great Oiler….how’d that work out for them?

        Oh and my brother in law is a huge Oilers fan, buys into anything management does and agrees with it fully, he thought I was making the Alice Hemsky deal up when I told him about it because it’s so bad!

    • crosberries - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:27 PM

      Right because a couple players make a team not to mention all the injuries we’ve had over the last couple years but still being competitive. They have traded smart drafted smart and signed free agents smart something he has no idea how to do. Spew the Pittsburgh hate.

      • psujay - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:33 PM

        drafting smart is debatable. 5 top 5 picks…even Columbus couldn’t have screwed up the Crosby or Malkin years. Aside from Letang, who have they “drafted well”?

        They’ve made some okay picks, but it’s not drafting well like Nashville drafts well, or Detroit drafts well.

        Getting a bunch of role players with middle of the first round picks? High level AHL talent/fring NHL talent in the second round?

        When it comes to drafting well, it’s Detroit, Nashville, and then the rest of the NHL, followed by my Leafs.

  6. atb4 - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    I don’t think anybody really considers there to be a “Pittsburgh model.” If anybody brings that up, it’s just a comparison to an example of a very successful rebuild. Yes, there was a lot of luck involved that situation.

    However, I think people are seeing Burke is trying to trade or buy his way to a championship. That’s how he’s going to end up getting bubble playoff teams. All of the recent Stanley Cup winners built their teams through good drafting, player development, and yes, luck.

    • kitshky - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:25 PM

      Exactly .. all he’s done today is assure Leaf “Nation” that they’re in for another decade of mediocrity.

      I’d like to assume that Leaf fans would take the last 5 – 10 years of Blackhawk or Penguins hockey …but knowing Leafs fans I’m probably wrong.

  7. velocirapist - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    I like this article. You guys need to do more FJM/Fun With Peter King style pieces. Especially with Burkie.

    • napoleonblownapart6887 - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:48 PM

      I see another KSKer in my midst…

  8. goalieguy37 - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    Pitt got some of it’s depth through the lottery yes, but there also trading (Neal etc.) and free agency making this a deep team. Shero knows how to be a GM. Burke clearly does not.
    Good managing of a team relies on all aspects of player acquisition from scouting undrafted players in college, to making wise choices in free agency, to working the draft really well.
    Also, don’t trade away your highest draft pick and give Seugin to the bruins.
    Burke is an idiot.

  9. govtminion - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    There’s something to be said for the draft pick issue. It’s hard to win the lottery when you give your tickets to your hated rival and watch HIM rake in the winnings.

  10. feva4theflava - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    I agree there was luck involved with the pens but they were able to build from those picks. They didn’t stop with the draft. There’s a lot of depth and talent AND they are able to keep everything under the salary cap. Just look at 40 goal scorer James Neal who was acquired at the deadline last season. Toronto had plenty of opportunities to pick their stars and they still don’t have a unified force. Sorry Burke, you’re out of excuses.

  11. alexb64 - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    He really isn’t wrong, but just in the sense that he could never draft 1 or 2 for multiple seasons in a row & even be there to build. If Pens don’t land #1 pick for Crosby who knows if it’s even “The Pittsburgh model”. Fans may regret it in retrospect but the Kessel trade is the one most Leafs GM’s would have been pressured into making, you’re talking a way more rabid market there.

  12. ballistictrajectory - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    Simple fix! Just rename the city to Torontnot and the rest will fall into place.

  13. michiganhockey11 - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    Whether Burke can effectively manage a team is a question to be determined during his tenure with Toronto and the results (early prognosis isn’t great). There is something to be said about Pitts lottery picks though. The only real way to stack a team in the present cap system is through the draft. Free agency within the cap is not going to allow you to load up on multiple superstar talent for one roster.

    Look at the Wings roster when they won the cup in 2002. Has there really been a team that loaded with players of great talent level obtained through free agency since? Hasek, Hull, Chelios, Robitaille….cap wouldn’t let you load like that now. Only way to do that is the draft. Which, unfortunately means your team would have to be at rock bottom for a few years to get that kind of talent to immediately transform a team.

  14. ottograham - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    Alot of people wanna dog the Pens for their team and the way it has been built. I mean you can dog us if you want for winning the lottery, but isnt that the point of a lottery? I mean its all luck guys. Sherro also drafted many players besides Crosby and Malkin who have contributed greatly. Letang, Fluery, Staal, Goligoski (traded for Niskanen and Neal), among others. I mean these guys are top performers and earn their paychecks. I think we have done just fine with the draft, and our development of players. Sure there is luck involved. But are you really going to hate us bc we had luck on our side? if so I suggest you find something to stop your heavy flow.

    • kingmiedus - Apr 10, 2012 at 5:37 PM

      Fleury and Staal were 1st and 2nd overall picks respectively. So that halves your examples right there. Having 4 top 2 picks is a ridiculous starting point, especially when 2 of those just happen to be 2 of the top 3-5 players in the world. I don’t think anyone is saying they haven’t done anything else, but they’ve certainly had a lot higher starting point than any other team. As for luck.. I think Crosby is the real only luck pick, the rest were just from sucking. Whether they tanked on purpose, who knows and I won’t get into that. But the system is definitely set up for this to happen, the draft is this way for crappy teams to become good. The Penguins utilized that to their full advantage. Teams like Columbus obviously have not.

  15. miketoasty - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    Notable Penguins draft picks 01′ – 05′ AFTER the first round: Alex Goligoski, Tyler Kennedy, Kris Letang, Joe Vitale, Max Talbot, Daniel Carcillo, Matt Moulson, Dustin Jeffery. I know these aren’t all stars (Except Kris Letang, and possibly Goligoski) but they would help depth on any team, and none were picked because of the goddamn lottery.

    • kneary47 - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:33 PM

      lots of teams are good at drafting depth guys beyond the first round. The first round is where you get your superstars not your depth players. Messing up your first round picks is where you make or break a franchise (Detroit excluded, if I were any team I would try and sign there scouts out from under them). The Penguins got lucky that they got two world class players with their picks. Just look at the one year the Flyers had when they sucked. I would say there is a little bit of difference between Kane and JVR. Some years there is a considerable talent drop off from your first to second pick overall in the draft. Just so happens it was the two years that the Penguins drafted Crosby and Malkin.

      • atomicpenguin76 - Apr 10, 2012 at 10:16 PM

        It’s those depth players that make the Pens successful. They went to game 7 in the 2nd round last year without Malkin or Crosby; it’s not superstars that win the cup, it’s a team with enough depth that you can compete with any line you have out there.
        Considering the amount of success that Pittsburgh has had this entire season despite the injury trouble they’ve had, it’s a good example of how those depth players get you to the playoffs in the first place as well. They put up half their points this year with big name players injured or missing, but they stayed in contention by having guys you never hear about like Pascal Dupuis step up big. Toronto was a great team the first two months of this season, and they didn’t go from that team to fading out of the playoffs over the course of the year just because they were missing a few big names. Hell, the Wild were a great team at the start of the year and most people can’t even name one of their players… and it’s hard to argue that a star or two would have made their fate any different come April.

  16. kitshky - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    If my GM thought the Penguins won a Cup and are the successful team they are today because “they won a damn lottery” … he’d be fired before he got off the podium.

  17. mclovinhockey - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    Great article and very true. Well the pens really got lucky. They get MAF first overall, Malkin 2nd overall the next year, Crosby first overall the following year during the lock out (the rigged lottery) then still suck and get Staal 2nd over the year after that.

    The pens were about to be sold and leave pitt because of the horrible fan base, then they get a little help from a rigged lottery and now everyone talks about them like they are the best franchise the NHL has ever seen.

    • ottograham - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:16 PM

      Im from Pittsburgh and do not consider the Pens to be the best franchise in the NHL. I dont even think we have one of the great franchises. But why arent we allowed to compete with big name players? BC we arent Montreal, Detroit, Philly, or Toronto? BC youre not used to seeing a team other than the dominant franchises involved? I would like to see hockey tradition built in my city. I would like to see a real fan base too. I had season tix from 99-06 and I will say the fanbase struggled. I believe the whole town owes Mr. Lemieux a huge thank you. I think you all can agree.

      sorry mclovinhockey I think youre the only one talking about us as “the best franchise the NHL has ever seen.”

    • miketoasty - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:49 PM

      Fleury came through a trade in which the Pens actually lost in the lottery, Malkin was second overall (Think of the Pens if they would have gotten Ovechkin?), and Staal (While being a great shut down center) is not very offensively gifted (Well except on the PK).

      That horrible fanbase now has over 250 consecutive sellouts, even after getting kicked out of the playoffs in the second / first round two years in a row, and without Crosby even playing for an entire year.

      Finally, how was the lottery “rigged”? Please explain as Google brings up (Shockingly… not) nothing.

      • wingsdjy - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:58 PM

        Right, wrong, or indifferent, he’s probably referring to the fact that Pittsburgh (along with 3 other teams) received the maximum amount of balls in the lottery thus increasing their odds of getting the #1 pick over 26 other teams.

  18. homelanddefense - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    How awesome that he thinks they need a center and a goalie. Thanks Toronto for letting Boston get Seguin and Rask. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAA

    • miketoasty - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:50 PM

      Pretty funny stuff actually, just goes to show how you shouldn’t put all your eggs into one basket.

  19. jdanknich - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:36 PM

    FYI – Fleury was a lottery pick, but the pick was acquired through a trade with Florida. Staal wasn’t a lottery pick. Neither was Letang. James Neal came through a trade. Other players via trades and free agency. Yes, Crosby and Malkin were high picks, but the Caps got Ovechkin number one (arguably the best player in the league until recently) and they haven’t won a Cup or been to the SCF. The luck argument only goes so far. If the coaches and players around the talent don’t match up, then it doesn’t matter. Burke should shut up and go back to doing what he does best – trying to get Don Cherry fired for no good reason.

    • trigzter - Apr 11, 2012 at 10:28 AM

      Staal wasn’t a lottery pick? He was drafted at #2. Clearly the lottery. Sad thing is the penguins missed out on toews, kessel and giroux, all picked after staal. Bad scouting that year.

      • jdanknich - Apr 11, 2012 at 11:00 AM

        I’ll give you Toews, but Fat Phil Kessel? He’s already well on his way to being on his 3rd team without a Cup. Giroux? He had a good year this season, but one year does not a career make. Sometimes the players you draft aren’t going to be superstars, and Staal is one of the most underrated players in the NHL. He doesn’t have the numbers of Toews, Kessel or Giroux, but he does things that are invaluable to the Pens. And he doesn’t have to score with Malkin, Crosby and Neal in the lineup. When healthy, Staal will be a Selke candidate every year.

      • trigzter - Apr 11, 2012 at 11:25 AM

        Staal may be a Selke candidate every year, but he will never be a star. Stats don’t exactly lie though. Staal’s career high in points, 50. “Fat Phil” 82. Phil has 4 59+ point seasons. Giroux had 76 last year, 93 this year. Stall has averaged more time on ice per game than either of the two throughout their respective careers. Giroux and Kessel are superior offensive players. Stall is very solid defensively their is no doubting that. But all he has is his +/- on a team that has been great with or without him in the lineup the past few years.

  20. sharksman - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    you can have all the first round picks you want, that does not make you a good hockey team. You need coaching ! Hockey is the best example of a TEAM sport. Otherwise you end up like Rick Nash….

    • govtminion - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:51 PM

      Well, that’s hardly fair- it helps to have a team built around that superstar as well. Nash hasn’t had that. That’s not so much a coaching failure (though he had plenty of that too) as it is a GM/ownership failure. Nash got hosed in the trifecta of stupid- bad ownership, GM, AND coaching.

    • miketoasty - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:54 PM

      Funny how the Blue Jackets select Jakub Voraceck in the first round, he does nothing with the team then once they trade him he takes off. Goes to show you how coaching can change a player.

      • govtminion - Apr 10, 2012 at 5:05 PM

        Sometimes a player is just better off in another system. Look at John LeClair twenty years ago- he was a bit player in Montreal, and that’s putting it politely. Off to Philly, and he became a force of nature. What changed? Not much- just a system he worked better in than the one he had in Montreal.

      • sharksman - Apr 10, 2012 at 5:27 PM

        Not Nash bashing or on the Blue Jackets just that it takes more than picks to make a team good. If you dont have the right mix you are going nowhere. Rick Nash is a great player it just shows you need more….

  21. hockinj25 - Apr 10, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    I don’t really believe in any “model” system, everybody does it their own way, but if you were going to try to replicate any organization, it would probably be the Wings. They have had a great owner, great management, great coaching, and great players that were found late in the draft.

    • sharksman - Apr 10, 2012 at 5:33 PM

      this is gonna hurt “gulp” I agree. lol
      hard to argue
      how many years in the playoffs ??? 50 straight ?? lol
      I keep waiting for them to get “old” and they just keep on going

      • hockinj25 - Apr 10, 2012 at 6:09 PM

        21 but it’ll be 50 in no time.

  22. jkay1818 - Apr 10, 2012 at 4:07 PM

    Kind of my thoughts, I have been saying it for a while, Penguins are an excellent team, of course, but their fans puff their chests out like they are this franchise that is unbeatable. Come on, you guys were going to be moved to Las Vegas a few years ago, give me a break.
    This was an awful awful franchise for numerous years in a row. You won a lottery, got crosby, you got a top 3 pick and got malkin, staal and fluery. Lets be real here. This isnt like the blackhawks at all, i dont remember the hawks finishing worst of the worst year after year and i dont recall any of these teams including Toronto ever being threatened to relocate.

    • florida76 - Apr 10, 2012 at 9:17 PM

      jkay1818, your comments are simply inaccurate. Pens have a grand total of five losing seasons since 1987-88, and four of those happened in the early 2000s. Coincidentally, those bad years were set up by the mismanagement of the old ownership, which had poor financial planning and lacked in player development.

      Check your facts, even in the early 2000s Pens were outdrawing numerous NHL clubs, including Chicago and Boston. Blackhawks were terrible many more years in the last 25 than the Pens, and no intelligent person can say Toronto or Chicago have accomplished as much as Pittsburgh since the Pens entered the NHL in 1967-68.

  23. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Apr 10, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    Brough does a great job of making snide remarks here. I wonder if he’d be as good at running an NHL team as he is at criticizing those who actually do.

    • drewsylvania - Apr 10, 2012 at 4:11 PM

      Based on his blog entries, I’d say he’s at his best when trolling for hits.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Apr 10, 2012 at 4:19 PM

        This is true, although people jump on Burke-related articles no matter what.

  24. davego6 - Apr 10, 2012 at 4:14 PM

    I was really excited, when I heard Burke was giving this press conference.

    What I really was hoping to hear, was his resignation!

    He can sugar coat this mess anyway he wants, but the fact is, Real Leaf Fans would have been happy just to make the play- offs, this BS about building a championship contender can’t even start if you don’t make the ‘show’.

    Burke doesn’t have a plan and if he doesn’t resign then the new owners would be better served if they started with a new management team, as they take over ownership this summer.

    One thing is for sure, they won’t lose any money and they certainly will continue to fill the AC centre.

    Even if I personally was the GM, I could guarantee them that!

  25. drewsylvania - Apr 10, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    If Pittsburgh has “a system”, it involves scouting and picking the right players. Lucking into Crosby didn’t take much skill, though–everybody knew he was the best prospect since Gretzky. Coming in last a lot helps, but you still need to pick the right guys in the draft–just look at Columbus.

  26. emperorzero - Apr 10, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    I don’t begrudge the Penguins or the way they were built, but they were god awful for a five to six year stretch at a time when guys like Crosby and Malkin came thorugh the draft. If anyone is following the Penguin way, I would look out west to Edmonton. They will be picking top 5 again for the fifth year in a row.

    What the Penguins should be complimented for is realizing Crosby and Malkin were the cornerstones and finding fairly inexpensive players to play with them.

    The Leafs remind me of the New York Yankees in the 80’s – trying to buy or trade their way toa title. They really need to embrace building from within.

  27. youthoughtyouhaditbad - Apr 10, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    Burke, they won FOUR lotteries. And honestly the lockout and Malkin taking two years to arrive in Pittsburgh helped.

  28. id4joey - Apr 10, 2012 at 6:18 PM

    Toronto needs a new goddamn GM. Move over Burke. You’re the reason for the failures in TO.

  29. pdmjr - Apr 10, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    Finishing 4th with and without Crosby and Malkin this year and last year. The GM Shero picking up scraps Dupuis and Cooke and making them stars. Signing players to good contracts at the right time.
    Installing an organizational system that the players all love and understand. James Neal and Niskanen for a spare defenseman. Yeah they won a lottery but so did the Caps.

    Byslma is terrific, and choosing Malkin over Ovehckin. Throw in Super Mario and Ron Burkle as owners and their success is based way more on their system rather than some ping pong balls.

  30. dizzle50 - Apr 10, 2012 at 6:58 PM

    James Neal. Steve Sullivan. Zybnek Michalek. Chirs Kunitz. Pascal Dupuis. Paul Martin. Matt Niskanen. You know how many of them were Penguin lottery picks? 0. Malkin, Crosby, and Letang are incredible talents but don’t act like every guy on the ice doing great things is pure luck. Clearly it’s not. Crosby barely played last year and the Penguins still finished with 106 points.

  31. Buffalo Grumblings - Apr 10, 2012 at 6:59 PM

    Uh the model is the Montreal Canadiens. How many Cups do they have? Pittsburg has 3. Hell, the Habs got that in one of there 5 years runs.

    • florida76 - Apr 10, 2012 at 9:24 PM

      Uh, the Montreal Canadians haven’t won a Cup in nearly 20 years! And going back to 1990, the Penguins have easily been the superior franchise. 3 Cups to 1.

      • Buffalo Grumblings - Apr 11, 2012 at 1:40 PM

        So by your reasoning the NY Yankees are average since the bulk of their World Series were won in the 1930’s and 1950’s. You take the whole body of work not just the last 10 years or don’t you remember how dreadful the Penguins were before Lemieux came. The league was looking to dump the franchise or move it.

    • newman252 - Apr 11, 2012 at 12:40 AM

      Not to mention there was only 6 other teams back then.

      • Buffalo Grumblings - Apr 11, 2012 at 1:38 PM

        Harder to win back then. Half the players today couldn’t play back then. What year did all you people start watching hockey? 2000?

      • newman252 - Apr 11, 2012 at 9:26 PM

        How do you figure harder to win back then. 1 out of 6 wins. Compared to 1 out of 30 now. It’s simple mathematics. And if there is only 6 teams obviously there is less roster spots. Doh! 1 + 1= 2. Hope that helps.

      • Buffalo Grumblings - Apr 11, 2012 at 9:39 PM

        The league doubled to 12 in 67. That’s over 40 years ago and the Habs kept on winning.

  32. crazemastercraze - Apr 10, 2012 at 7:48 PM

    when burke opens his mouth nowadays all i hear is “waaaaaahhhhh, waaaaahhhhhhh, waaaaaahhhhh”!

  33. mclovinhockey - Apr 10, 2012 at 9:56 PM

    I just have to say, joeyjojo… I love the reference of your name.
    Looks like the oil will be nailed… Good for them. I guess the jackets should go for that D, mon really would benefit from gregaranko. Specially if they sign Roy as coach.

  34. bleed4philly - Apr 10, 2012 at 10:08 PM

    Exactly how much bigger are the red wings compared to other teams?

  35. newman252 - Apr 11, 2012 at 12:37 AM

    Burke is right. It was only winning a draft lottery while having a few bad seasons. Seasons at which they were financially in trouble. Hence the terrible teams. Why does everyone pick on Pitt for having high drafts for multiple years. Why not complain about Quebec in the 90’s or even Edmonton recently. They only reason Pitt is targeted is because during their down years they got the best player in the game. Just as Burke said. And what’s Edmonton’s excuse? Edmonton is not in financial distress like the Pens were or like the Nordiques were. He just has a different way of managing. Just appears to me Pitt scouts and develops better than Edm. Quebec turned Colorado did fairly well in the 90’s following. As for Chicago, they did well just didn’t get lucky enough to draft one of the best players in the game.

  36. habsman - Apr 11, 2012 at 7:17 AM

    I think Burkie is doing a great job and deserves a contract extension.

  37. philliesblow - Apr 11, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    No balls

    Gary Bettman

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