Skip to content

Burke era in Toronto: Trades, truculence and tirades

Jan 9, 2013, 1:56 PM EDT

Brian Burke Getty Images

As reported earlier, Brian Burke has been fired as president and general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Burke era began in 2008 and spanned 305 games, with a record of 128-135-42 and zero playoff appearances.

Those are the numbers, but this story is about more.

Much, much more.

Let’s take a look back at some of Burke’s most memorable moments in Tronna.

Trades

It’s hard to know exactly where to start. Burke was a perpetual mover and shaker during his time in Toronto, making over 40 trades in what amounted to a total roster overhaul.

He brought in the likes of Dion Phaneuf, Phil Kessel, James van Riemsdyk, John-Michael Liles, Joffrey Lupul, Jake Gardiner, Matt Lombardi and David Steckel.

He shipped out the likes of Tomas Kaberle, Luke Schenn, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Nik Antropov, Jamal Mayers, Matt Stajan and Ian White.

He brought in and shipped out Kris Versteeg, JS Giguere and Francois Beauchemin.

But the signature move of Burke’s wheeling and dealing was the Kessel trade, in which Boston netted two first-round picks that would become Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton.

It was his boldest and most contentious move, one that will continue to be referenced well into Dave Nonis’ tenure.

Truculence

“We require, as a team, proper levels of pugnacity, testosterone, truculence and belligerence,” Burke told the media upon being hired in 2008. “That’s how our teams play.”

It’s the line that stuck with Burke throughout his time in Toronto.

While the strategy reaped huge rewards in Anaheim — Burke won a Cup with a roster featuring Shawn Thornton, Travis Moen, George Parros, Sean O’Donnell and Brad May — it never came to fruition with the Leafs.

The likes of Colton Orr, Mike Brown, Garnet Exelby and Jay Rosehill were acquired in an ill-fated effort to get tough and, in perhaps his most egregious “tough” signing, Burke shelled out $22.5 million for Mike Komisarek.

“He’s a respected competitor in this league,” Burke said upon signing Komisarek. “We know that he will bring his hard-nosed approach to our team on a consistent basis.”

Komisarek only appeared in 45 games last year and was often a healthy scratch.

Today, he’s mostly mentioned as an amnesty buyout candidate.

Tirades

Burke was nothing if not combative during his four-plus years on the job. Fights, feuds and potential fisticuffs were constant:

He ripped ESPN

He ripped CBC

– He said the Penguins were good because they “won a goddamn lottery

He ripped Don Cherry

He ripped Ron MacLean

– He wanted to rent a barn to stage a fist fight between him and Kevin Lowe

He ripped Leafs fans

He ripped the Toronto media

– He called Ron Wilson a “Hall of Fame coach” then fired him three months later

He ripped Francois Allaire

He ripped anonymous player polls

Say what you will about the job he did, or the way he conducted himself — the NHL is going to be less interesting now that Brian Burke’s no longer a part of it.

Related

Leafs fire Brian Burke (!!!); Nonis named replacement

Latest Posts
  1. Photo: Joffrey Lupul chats with Jack White

    Jul 31, 2014, 9:00 PM EDT

    lupulwhite

    Have fun making up captions with this one.

  2. Flyers’ Mason broke his right pinky finger playing ball hockey

    Jul 31, 2014, 7:39 PM EDT

    Philadelphia Flyers v Florida Panthers Getty Images

    The team estimates he’ll miss two weeks of on-ice training.

  3. Stars sign Glennie to one-year, two-way deal

    Jul 31, 2014, 6:43 PM EDT

    Alex Chiasson, Jack Campbell, Scott Glennie, Lindy Ruff AP

    The former first-rounder still needs to prove himself.

  4. #Hartnelldown makes it to Columbus

    Jul 31, 2014, 5:18 PM EDT

    Scott Hartnell, Steve Mason AP

    The forward is already endearing himself to Blue Jackets fans.

  5. Sens assistant GM is ‘confident we are a playoff team’

    Jul 31, 2014, 3:54 PM EDT

    lehnerandygetty Getty Images

    Ottawa’s offseason is receiving mixed reviews.

  6. It’s back! PHT’s Team of the Day summer series starts tomorrow

    Jul 31, 2014, 10:51 AM EDT

    2014 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five Getty Images

    Beginning with the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings. Click for the full 30-team schedule.

  7. Sens agree with Lehner on three-year, $6.675 million contract

    Jul 31, 2014, 9:51 AM EDT

    Robin Lehner AP

    Went 12-15-6 with a .913 save percentage last season for Ottawa.

  8. Price (knee) won’t start skating ’til mid-August

    Jul 31, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    Carey Price AP

    But he also won’t require surgery.

  9. 1st-rounders Vrana (Caps), Pastrnak (B’s) highlight Czech WJC team

    Jul 30, 2014, 9:30 PM EDT

    2014 NHL Draft - Round 1 Getty Images

    They’ll face off against Canada and Russia at a tournament in Toronto next week.

  10. Report: New Jersey re-signs Timmins

    Jul 30, 2014, 8:30 PM EDT

    St. Louis Blues v Florida Panthers St. Louis Blues v Florida Panthers

    Acquired last season in exchange for Krys Barch.

  11. Agent: Subban hasn’t told me to make him NHL’s highest-paid D

    Jul 30, 2014, 6:28 PM EDT

    PK Subban Getty Images

    “We haven’t approached it in that respect.”

  12. NHL hit with another concussion lawsuit

    Jul 30, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT

    bettmangetty Getty Images

    This time, it features just one plaintiff — former Bruin Jon Rohloff.

  13. Devils sign Greene to five-year, $25M extension

    Jul 30, 2014, 4:34 PM EDT

    New York Islanders v New Jersey Devils Getty Images

    Alternate captain notched a career-high in goals last year.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches