The Sabres Observer
by @DaveDavisHockey on 01/12/13 at 03:55 PM ET
“The people that hired me hired Brian Burke. And maybe the new guys don’t like that brand.”
Words from Brian Burke today at his press conference - his last chance to own the stage in Toronto, and his last chance to hurl personal insults at guys like Steve Simmons, a veteran mainstream hockey writer who has known Burke for 25 years and was an advocate of the Leafs hiring him.
Do you know why people like Darcy Regier can get away with having a few down years? Perhaps thinking of himself as a contributing team member, as opposed to a ‘brand’, has something to do with it.
After today’s presser, of course, NHL beat writers on twitter were engaging in a Burke love-fest, reminding us how much of a no-holds-barred, outspoken straight shooter he is. That’s a positive quality in a GM when your job on a daily basis is to get quotes from him.
There’s a line that shouldn’t be crossed when the success of your franchise hinges greatly on cohesion and cooperation at the top levels. When your maverick personality propels you to get defensive and abrasive during evaluation meetings, as was the case last summer when Burke met with new ownership, you’re pretty much stamping your own ticket out of town.
When you treat your bosses with disrespect, and when you tell the world that you are your own guy and folks that don’t like it can take a hike, then being fired on any given day should never come as a surprise to you.
And as if that isn’t enough, what exactly did Burke do in the hockey realm to warrant continued employment as the head of Leaf Nation?
There are more than a few Sabres fans who will tell you that they’d much rather have Burke as GM of their team than Regier. When you put their recent histories side-by-side, it's not a very sensible opinion.
You think Regier loves his players too much? He isn’t the one who turned down a first-round draft pick for Clarke MacArthur. Thankfully, Burke wasn’t running the Sabres when Nashville called about Paul Gaustad.
When the Sabres needed a top center, Regier went out and got Cody Hodgson. When the Leafs needed a top center, Burke went out and got Tim Connolly.
Under fire and amidst demands from fans and media for changes in goal, Regier decided he would stick with Ryan Miller, while Burke decided he would stick with James Reimer.
Burke is a man of strong loyalty to his players and of solid character. His involvement in worthy charities and causes should not go unmentioned. But the self-promoting sideshow and poor hockey decisions did him in. The Leafs will be better off without him.
Follow me on twitter: @DaveDavisHockey
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About The Sabres Observer
Dave Davis has covered the Buffalo Sabres for various NHL accredited websites and newspapers since 2003. He was the senior writer and Sabres correspondent for The Fourth Period, covered hockey for Western New York Sports and Leisure Magazine, and has had articles featured on NHL.com, FOX Sports, Yahoo Sports and in New York Sportscene. Sabres news and notes can be found on his Twitter page.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: [@DaveDavisHockey]