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Burke says he wasn’t given a “satisfactory explanation” for the timing of his firing

Jan 12, 2013, 1:39 PM EST

Brian Burke

Former Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke made sure his outgoing press conference would be long remembered. He was open, honest, and a little bitter about how things happened suddenly this week.

In the end, it all boiled down to not winning enough.

“We didn’t win,” said Burke. “Obviously, your job as the GM is to bring in players that win. We didn’t win.

“I can stand here and say ‘Oh, they didn’t like my personality,’ but those all become pretexts and excuses later. If you win enough games you can be as obnoxious as you want to be.”

As for being fired (seemingly) out of the blue on Wednesday — just days before the NHL got back to work —  Burke didn’t have any answers.

“I did not get a satisfactory explanation for that,” he said.

One possible explanation for the sudden firing could be from a report saying the team’s new owners didn’t care for Burke’s “tone and voice.” Burke casually explained his view of the potential difference of opinion.

“Maybe the new guys don’t like that brand,” Burke said. “I’m Irish, I’m stubborn. I’m not going to change. I have to find someone who likes that brand.”

Chances are good that another team will like his brand in the near future.

  1. ucaneverscorenoughgoals - Jan 12, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    I wish he would just shut up!

    His team won fewer games than they lost during his time there, major trades didn’t pan out, and he shot his mouth off at almost every opportunity he had.

    Why was he surprised?

    • caucasian1975 - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:40 PM

      He did a good job with the ducks.

      • misterchainbluelightning - Jan 12, 2013 at 3:50 PM

        Winning a cup with Bryan Murray’s team isn’t a bad job.
        I mean he signed Niedermayer, something every GM was willing to do if they had the money and his brother and he made an even trade to get Pronger. So it’s t like he did anything special either.

        More like a job….done.

  2. bcsteele - Jan 12, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    Just make sure your brand stays away from my Blues Burke. Or I’ll be singing the blues…

    • bcsteele - Jan 12, 2013 at 1:47 PM

      On another note…

      Who would you choose as your teams next GM if you only had Burke and Howson to choose from?

      • somekat - Jan 12, 2013 at 1:55 PM

        The first guy selling beer that I see

      • ucaneverscorenoughgoals - Jan 12, 2013 at 1:58 PM

        I simply wouldn’t hire a GM in that case. If those were my only two choices I’d hire an experienced coach and give him GM responsibilities. That way he installs his system, picks the players he wants for it, and makes adjustments as he sees fit.

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:16 PM

        ucan: The most recent Leafs coach to sip from the Cup was also their GM. However, in that era, there were just 5 other NHL teams, no union, so no CBA, and damn near no rules about how a team could treat a player. (So they could lie and say, yup, $8,000 a year makes you our highest paid guy, and we can’t afford a penny more.) It is infinitely more complicated now, and it’s unlikely we’ll see (m)any more coach/GM combo guys.

      • ucaneverscorenoughgoals - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:22 PM

        I agree with everything you just said. I simply don’t think Howson or Burke are such awful options that complicated or not an experienced coach who installs his own system and brings in his own players could do a better job as GM than either of them.

        I’m not saying it would be my choice is a realistic scenario but your question wasn’t in regards to a realistic scenario.

      • cardsandbluesforever - Jan 12, 2013 at 3:12 PM

        i would choose neither- let Armstrong run the team.

      • cardsandbluesforever - Jan 12, 2013 at 4:19 PM

        ucanneverscoreenoughgoals- we tried that once with Mike Keenan. didnt go so well, he gutted the teams future for a short term plan. took us 10 years to recover from that.

      • ucaneverscorenoughgoals - Jan 12, 2013 at 7:37 PM

        My choices were Burke and Howson…….not any GM. So, I chose neither because having an experienced coach as a GM is better than those two.

        Now, I agree with the notion that one needs both a GM and a coach….BUT if Burke and Howson are my ONLY two choices……I’ll pass.

  3. broadstbully33 - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    Say what you want but the guys gets work and has for along time now

    • Chris - Jan 12, 2013 at 6:53 PM

      Lots of idiots get work, doesn’t mean they aren’t idiots. What’s your point?

  4. stebutt - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    Strange timing. But yeah, you’ve got the biggest team in the NHL and you didn’t make the playoffs. In any season. That’ll generally get you fired.

  5. kitshky - Jan 12, 2013 at 3:24 PM

    I have no idea why, probably nostalgia from him in Van when I was a kid, or just the fact that I like guys that (even if I disagree with them 80% of the time) speak their mind and are a lil jackass-ish (real word look it up) … but I’m still kind of a fan.

    • dbarnes79 - Jan 12, 2013 at 4:42 PM

      I agree. I do like a bit of jackass too but you need to back it up with results. Rex Ryan should take note too cause his big mouth us running out of time as well.

      • kitshky - Jan 12, 2013 at 5:17 PM

        That’s the thing though, he’s not my GM so I’m just looking at it outside of results. He’s just entertaining!

  6. sampulls - Jan 12, 2013 at 3:45 PM

    Spin Burke’s personality any way you want. Bottom line, he was a jerk!

  7. dbarnes79 - Jan 12, 2013 at 4:36 PM

    Odd timing but justified. He did not get a number one center or number one goalie. And they lost a lot too. Kessel deal will always haunt him and this franchise. Also, not sure Louongo is the answer either.

    • theolgoaler - Jan 12, 2013 at 7:04 PM

      Burkie might have fired ’cause he DIDN’T want to trade for Bobby Lu!

  8. somekat - Jan 12, 2013 at 4:57 PM

    Brian Burke and Drew Breese would both like an explanation!

  9. canuckinamerica - Jan 12, 2013 at 5:39 PM

    And there lies the problem……Blustering Burkie calls himself a “brand”. No…..you are part of a team.

  10. 127taringa - Jan 12, 2013 at 6:25 PM

    Brian Burke was fired because he is American. The new ownership are Canadian media and he doesn’t fit in with the “we are Canada image” that the Canadian media likes to sell.

  11. acieu - Jan 13, 2013 at 7:40 AM

    Burke forever who doesn’t like hard drinking Irishmen.

  12. 1historian - Jan 13, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    When I saw the picture of this guy my first (and only) question was “What’s Tip O’Neill doing in a story about the Toronto Maple Leafs?”

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