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Burke Should Have Stayed Home Or Maybe Not

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

There is nothing wrong with the president and general manager of the Maple Leafs taking a public relations trip to Afghanistan. But there is everything wrong with his timing in this case.

You don’t, if you’re running the Leafs, if you’re struggling to make a lousy team better, if you haven’t been in the playoffs yet under your watch — even if it is a Canada Day trip for the Canadian troops — go to Kandahar on July 1. You just don’t.

You find another time to make the trip. You do it next week or next month. You do it when it doesn’t affect anything about the building of your hockey team.

continued

from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,

Senior vice-president David Nonis was at the Air Canada Centre as point man Friday, but insisted Burke was in constant communication despite the time difference and took a swipe at critics of his superior’s trip.

“There was no issue at all getting hold of Brian, whether it was by text or on his cell,” Nonis said. “In fact the cell service in Kandahar is better than it is in most parts of this city.

“I know there were some comments made that there was a handicap not having Brian here today. First of all, unless you guys reported he wasn’t here, there wasn’t an agent in the world who would have known. It had absolutely no bearing on what we did or didn’t do.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brian+burke

Comments

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That first article was ridiculously selfish.  Sheesh.

Posted by BuzzFledderjohn on 07/02/11 at 11:39 AM ET

Evilpens's avatar

Jesus Christ! Burke has not 1 BUT 2 Former GM’s on his staff !

Posted by Evilpens on 07/02/11 at 11:52 AM ET

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Simmonds wouldn’t stop talking about this on tv yesterday either.

Honestly if I’m a UFA today I’d be honored to play for an organization with a guy running the show who is willing to to give up his Canada Day to be with the troops.  It’s just the ultimate class move to me and rather than just taking the negative spin on it I’d think there’s at least some portion, even if it’s the slightest, of players who get it the way Burke does and would want to play for someone like that.

Posted by JBM on 07/02/11 at 11:58 AM ET

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Also maybe it’s just me in my blind support of Burke but I’m not sure describing his trip as a public relations one is really fit.  Burke may get hated on a lot for his brash attitude and inept Leafs squads but I truly think he’s the type of guy who would have been there regardless of a camera following him around or not. 

He’s had some tremendous statements in support of the gay community and it shouldn’t surprise anyone one bit that he’s continuing to make some positive use of his notoriety, again even if his hockey contributions are more resigned to truculence and a trade that bit him in the ass.

Posted by JBM on 07/02/11 at 12:03 PM ET

Baroque's avatar

Right, because the only way to talk to anyone is face to face, not via cell phone or video conference or email or text message or any of the other technological means at our disposal.

Also, it is important for Brian Burke to speak directly to someone in person because he is such a quiet, retiring, and unknown individual that no one knows what kind of personality he is. #rolleyes

If I were an important possible employee of an organization and was told that the management team had been fully briefed but was missing one member because of a prior commitment to visit troops I would be more impressed, not less, because it shows a healthy perspective on what is important.

Posted by Baroque from Michigan on 07/02/11 at 01:17 PM ET

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burke made a selfish PR move for showing support to the canadian troops on canada day?  really?  did the general public even know he was over there if not for the asswipe simmons going on about it?

apparently the rangers did not send a delegation to woo richards and as far as we know they weren’t visiting the troops either. ito counter the article, f richards signs with them then the personal visit would not have been THAT important would it have been? 

Simmons is a moron!  TSN and Toronto Sun would best serve the public by cannin his ass. seriously!

Posted by Eric from Over Here on 07/02/11 at 01:18 PM ET

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Too bad the Toronto front office doesn’t have several ex-GMs on standby that can be delegated stuff like this if Burke’s unavailable. I’m sure the Canadian media wouldn’t have minded if they did.

Posted by steviesteve on 07/02/11 at 01:57 PM ET

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If you read the articles, biased or not,  Burke was lauded for his efforts and slammed for his timing. What’s so hard to understand about that? Burke moves his trip a couple three days either way and there is nothing write about. End of story. As much as one comment writer and X UFAs (where X is the # that was willing to sign with Toronto without Burke face time) may have thought Burke was all the more wonderful for his trip, when your job is to stock a team with players and you are absent on one of the three most important days of the year you have failed to do your job. Try polling the other 29 GMs and find out how many think it was an important day to be “in the office”. I guarantee you’ll come up with 29 guys saying “yes it is”. Burke’s bad timing was not only about it being “the day” but also Brad Richards. And when other teams are travelling to Toronto to present to Richards and Burke is not even here that is just plain messed up. Maybe Burke comes out tomorrow and declares that the Leafs had no interest in Richards and their efforts were a cover for something else but I doubt it. And even that won’t save the perception that he dropped the ball here. Kudos for much of what Burke does outside his Leafs obligations. Kudos for trying to talk reason into Mayor Rob Ford. For visiting our deserving troops. But kudos for not doing his job to the best of his abilities? No.

Posted by My View from Toronto from Toronto on 07/02/11 at 02:12 PM ET

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Agree with My View. No problem at all with the trip, but the timing stinks.

Also, I love David Norris’ blasting the media for blowing Burke’s cover:

...unless you guys reported he wasn’t here, there wasn’t an agent in the world who would have known.

OK, so Burke’s absence wasn’t a problem at all.  But if it was a problem, it’s YOUR fault for letting the cat out of the bag. If you hadn’t reported the trip, the Brian Burke mannequin we set up in the office window would’ve fooled everybody.

Posted by jvwalt on 07/02/11 at 02:58 PM ET

hiero4life's avatar

When I heard he wasn’t “in country” for “lets over pay players because its July 1st” I was a bit confused.  When I found out he was visiting troops, I didn’t think twice about it.  If you think it was a publicity stunt, that’s ok, good publicity doesn’t win Cups.  The men and women who serve deserve more then they will ever receive back from the public.  With the difference in time I’m sure if he needed to video conference with a player he would.  I would rather him do that then to video conference or tape a message for the troops.  I don’t like Burke or the Leafs at all, but I think this is blown out of proportion.  Who wants to play for the Leafs anyway?

Posted by hiero4life from anywhere i am on 07/02/11 at 04:24 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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