Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 01/28/11 at 01:41 AM ET
from Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail,
Look: you sign Burke to run your team and you get the whole package. You get the loyalty and sentimentality and the requisite amount of blarney. You get the philosophical accoutrements: the “personal” Christmas trade freeze that supersedes the league’s own mandated Dec. 19-27 roster freeze; the unwillingness to extend offer sheets to restricted free agents; and the willingness to stick his nose in his peers’ business, such as when he testified on the NHL’s behalf in its arbitration hearing against the New Jersey Devils regarding the signing of Ilya Kovalchuk.
Burke supported the league’s case that Kovalchuk’s contract was a deliberate circumvention of the league’s salary cap, and when our own James Mirtle asked him, essentially, whether the general manager of the deep-pocketed Maple Leafs wasn’t obligated to do some circumventing of his own, he replied:
“I don’t mind being on an island … where I believe there’s a principle involved. These deals constituted cap circumvention, and I have steadfastly refused to do them.”
That is vintage Burke, and reveals why the perception that the Toronto media is somehow soft on him is a non-starter. First, Burke’s culpability in putting together a toxic mix of marginal talents and timid, under-performing defencemen has been oft-referenced, as is his culpability in trading for Phil The Thrill and unleashing the three-headed goaltender dragon.
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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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