Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 04/26/12 at 08:33 AM ET
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
It’s getting pretty clear Sean Burke is emerging as per-haps the best goalie coach in the NHL in Phoenix. At the very least, he’s right near the top of the list.
His success working with Mike Smith has made everyone take notice this season, but when you look at what Ilya Bryzgalov was able to achieve in the desert and then see what happened to the poor fellow when he left and ventured into Philadelphia, you get a pretty good appreciation for what Burke has been able to accomplish with his players.
Both he and coach Dave Tippett originally targeted Smith when they learned Bryzgalov was leaving, Burke saying right from the outset that he thought the fellow could be among the top five goalies in the league in their first meeting after they picked him up.
“I came into it with a totally open mind and everything I looked at was positive,” said Burke of Smith, who virtually got Phoenix into the playoffs by himself and then won the first round for them over the Chicago Blackhawks. “I didn’t look at what he needed to change, I looked at a guy with an incredible amount of athletic ability, a guy with a good work ethic, experience, a guy who handles the puck better than anyone.
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