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Brian Burke on playoff rough stuff: “This is like people complaining about the rain at Woodstock”

Apr 18, 2012, 12:46 PM EDT

Brian Burke AP

While many fans and media alike are concerned with the dirty hits and suspendable offenses that have gone on in the first week of the playoffs, Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke can’t be bothered with all that while there’s hockey being played.

Burke tells Kevin Allen of USA Today that the coverage given to violent plays that have resulted in injuries and suspensions is overblown. Burke gives Allen his take on things in only the kind of way he can.

“This is like people complaining about the rain at Woodstock,” Burke said. “Yes, there was lots of mud, but it was the greatest music gathering in history.”

As for the legitimately dirty plays like Raffi Torres‘ hit on Marian Hossa, Burke tells Allen that vigilance is the best way to combat the problem and get back to watching the playoffs the way they’re meant to be seen.

“I hope we continue to nail the people who are crossing the line,” Burke said. “But this is a small number of incidents, and it’s unfortunate that non-hockey media is focusing on that. But what I see is great hockey. It’s awesome.”

A “small number of incidents” in this case is seven suspensions doled out over the first seven days of the playoffs and that’s before Torres gets the book thrown at him in the coming days. Burke might want to believe that the game should be the main story, but the lack of common sense in punishment and the continued violence on the ice won’t get out of the way to allow it to be.

  1. mehetmet - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    good thing you have plenty of time to watch this “great” hockey burkie!

  2. mercyflush - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    Asking Brian Burke about the playoffs is like asking Liberace for advice on women.

    • habsman - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:56 PM


  3. hairpie - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    This guy “gets it” more than 99% of the GM’s and fans out there… too bad he’s a terrible GM.
    Repeal the instigator rule and all this stops.

    • crashtheboards55 - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:59 PM

      Repeal the instigator rule? That’s great in all until you lose a star player for x number of games or his career is over. Taking care of someone or letting the players police themselves does nothing after a player has been injured (backstrom, toews, hossa, letang, horton, giroux, savard). It costs the team who suffered the injury far more than the guy who inflicts the injury for the 3 games he gets. 75% of revenue for the NHL is by ticket sales. I’m not paying 85-100 a ticket to go see fourth line guys play.

      • hairpie - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:16 PM

        crash, my point is that cowads like Torres, Cooke, Backstrom, Asham etc wouldnt even consider some of these cheapshots if they know there were going to be very very serious repercussions.
        This would also cause some of these flopping teams like the Canucks and Canadians from trying to steal free penalties by flopping if they knew someone was going to give them a real reason to hit the ice. How many concussions did Yzerman have? Gretzky? No one ran at them because they had to answer to Probert or McSorley.

      • crashtheboards55 - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:25 PM

        harpie, I agree totally. I just think the league needs to do way more in the way that if you break the rules no matter who you are you should be fined. Weber’s incident and how it was handled was an absolute joke. Keith same thing. I could go on and on. In 2009 ovechkin tried to end gonchar’s career with that knee to knee collision. Should have been suspended. I know the league wants the the playoff series sorted on on the ice by the players but this stuff needs to end period no matter who the player is. They need to crack down on this stuff in the regular season and if you lose a malkin, weber, ovechkin for 25 or so games for being an idiot, the point will be made. I like the idea of the insitgator rule being repealed. The only problems is that some guys won’t step up and take their beating after they dish out the cheap shot. I agree with you and the points you made about yzerman and gretzky were great points.

      • michiganhockey11 - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:44 PM

        Amen to that hairpie. We all saw what Probie did to Maguire when he went after Yzerman when the wings were playing buffalo back in the day…

      • bloggersarenotjournalists - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:58 PM

        Sigh what do you say to such stupidity

        Instigator rule kept Gretzky and Yzerman safe and sound their entire careers.

        Again, If you never played Hockey in a real league
        Shut Up

  4. crashtheboards55 - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    Burke is a huge problem why the league will not go even further on cracking down on dirty hits and cheap shots. Its this “old-time hockey” mentality that is costing the league. Would he say the same thing if Lupul or Kessel were taken out by a goon like Torres? I don’t understand why its so hard for this moron to figure this out. The NFL has begun to change its way of play and thinking. Shouldn’t be to hard to do the same in hockey.

    • bmscalise - Apr 18, 2012 at 2:12 PM

      Amen: the “let the boys play” attitude is destroying the game. And the instigator rule will change nothing. You can’t go back to the past because the game is not the same. Do we really want hockey with multiple goons who can’t skate taking up roster spots? Even if your answer is yes, it won’t happen: teams know it would put them at a disadvantage in today’s game. And the thought of a fight with another skater isn’t going to make guys scared or be enough incentive to stop.

      It’s the reactionary faction of the NHL GMs – led by that fool Burke – that has ensured that the league WON’T even effectively enforce obstruction let alone the dangerous stuff. The sport would be far better off without “ambassadors” like Burke and his ilk.

  5. WeWantTheCup - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    Reading about Burkie talking about playoffs is like listening to Joel Quennville cry about his star players getting carted off the ice, shoe’s on the other foot this time Q, would love to hear his thoughts on the reffing the night Keith laid out Sedin who at the time was the defending art ross trophy winner. This is all on the shoulders of the league and shanny. 2500 dollar fine to weber, boy that sure worked!!! Like I said in an earlier post, that is the equivilant of a person making 50g a year paying a 16 dollar fine. I guess if Torres had come to a stop, grabbed Hossa by the head and then rammed his head into the boards then this would have been just a fine in shanny’s book. No respect anymore for someone who USED to be one of the most respected players to ever play in the league. You played the game the right way shanny, why can’t you do the same with the suspensions!!

  6. bobhpine - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    In other news, mitt Romney is a fan of poor people and Keith Richards extolled the virtues of sober living

  7. michiganhockey11 - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    “But this is a small number of incidents, and it’s unfortunate that non-hockey media is focusing on that. But what I see is great hockey. It’s awesome.”

    So 11 game-misconduct penalties in the first 5 days of Round 1 and 7 suspensions in the first 7 days of Round 1 is a small number of incidents? I am only 27 and I can remember watching my first Wings game when I was 5 or 6. I have never seen “stuff” like this in my lifetime in the playoffs. Grew up knowing that fighting didn’t really exsist in the playoffs. Guess that uptopia ended real quick the past few years.

    Sure Burke would change his tune if Dion got his bell rung in the playoffs. Oh, that’s right, Toronto didn’t make the playoffs this year.

    Burke, people didn’t care about the rain at woodstock because they were having too much fun with the snozberries.

  8. dukh8r - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    The NHL has a 10yr 2billion$ t.v. deal and ratings are the highest in all markets since the 2002 finals….there is plenty of soccer and NASCAR for all you cry babies to watch.

  9. butlers91 - Apr 18, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    He is so out of touch, maybe he can go hang with Don Cherry and talk about the good old days.

    • habsman - Apr 18, 2012 at 5:02 PM

      That wouldn’t work.

      A typical American clown and a typical Canadian clown.

      But I’d pay good money to see them slap each other around.

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