Asked And Answered: Brian Burke Edition


The Toronto Maple Leafs have been one of the teams that has come to the forefront of embracing Twitter as a team. Along with a handful of players the team’s coach and general manager have taken the leap. While Burke would never be able to match up to the original (a rare successful parody account) he has been pretty good. It was worth it just for him to smack down Steve Simmons.

For those that are not on Twitter, after the jump, Brian Burke answers some fans questions.

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What do you think the team needs to do to start winning more consistently? – @Flare_Knight

Burke: What we’ve done in the last two games. Kill penalties, generate offense through the entire forward group & solid goaltending!

PPP: KILL PENALTIES! Good lord, if the new year can bring one new thing to the Leafs I pray it’s the ability to kill a penalty. It’s already been bad enough that if the Leafs miss the playoffs you’ll be able to chalk up a big part of their failure to their struggles on the PK. And ‘struggles’ is too nice of a term.

What do you think of next years conference and playoff structure? – @ranger_620 

Burke: The only potential problem is the home-and-home with each team outside your conference. I fear the travel burden for players. We’ll wait and see. I know our fans are excited about seeing every team at home.

PPP: Good news Burkie! The NHLPA decided to halt the NHL’s attempt to ram this re-alignment down their throats so there won’t be a change to next year’s schedule. Suck it Winnipeg.

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Who would you rather play for, Laviolette or Tortorella? – @Jamely

Burke: Both coaches have very different styles. They are good guys. Both are excellent and demanding, as a coach needs to be.vI played for Lou Lamoriello. Trust me! I know what it’s like to play for a hard-nosed coach!

PPP: I’d prefer Torts. Laviolette strikes me as being a bit of a smug bastard. Or at least more so than Torts, eh Brooksie?

What’s your most important priorty heading into trade dead line a foward dman or bottom six players – @Kennethkstevens

Burke: We’d like to add size to our forward group. That may come from Joe Colbourne(sic) or we may have to go to the trade market.

PPP: READ – RYAN GETZLAF FOR JOE COLOBORNE+. I’ll attribute that typo to the fact that Burke’s likely dictating his tweets to a PR person who is filtering them for profanity.

How does being the GM in TOR compare to VAN and ANA? –@PaulD34

Burke: Toronto has more media, greater commitment to corporate support. Anaheim’s a good market. Smart, rabid fans. Less media attention!

PPP: This is a tough question to answer in 140 characters although Burke does a good job of completing ignoring Vancouver. Smart alecks will note that Burke doesn’t mention the smart Toronto fans and highlights the corporate support. Relax, he does a lot of the former in day-to-day interviews and corporate support is the biggest difference between Toronto and Anaheim.

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Hello, I was wondering what the chances are of you re signing Mikhail Grabovski. He’s my favourite Leaf right now. Thanks – @GunshowHughes

Burke: We don’t discuss player contract negotiations. Grabo’s a good player and person. He’s exciting! I can see why you like him!

PPP: NOT WHAT I WANT TO HEAR! I think that there is a spot (and price point!) for Grabovski in the Leafs’ future especially since it looks like Kadri is going to be on the wing long-term and Joe Colborne is getting traded for Ryan Getzlaf. Although, if I was a team pushing for the Cup I’d be pretty interested in adding Grabovski.

Which trade do you consider the highlight of your career so far – @Jimmy_Stallion

Burke: The Sedin twins. Actually three trades, and a big gamble at the time. I never worked so hard on a transaction in my life.

PPP: Sigh.

What new rule would you like to see in the NHL next year?  – @leafsfan672

Burke: Hybrid icing to retain a puck race, but make it safer. A bear hug that prevents players from being propelled into the boards.

PPP: Races to the puck on icing are so rarely useful. I’d prefer no-touch icing. As for the bear hug rule, I think it’s an awful idea. Refs are already pretty bad at making subjective penalty calls so why add such a difficult one. What would be the standard to differentiate between the bear hug for safety and holding? Although, it sure would help Schenn and Komisarek.

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What do you consider the minimum watermark of a successful coach in Toronto and at what point does your patience expire? – @cownet

Burke: If a GM has guts, he admits the clock shouldn’t start to run on a coach until he has enough quality players to compete.

PPP: You could write a long post on this but while Ron Wilson haters start the clock on him based on when he was hired, I’ve always held that Burke didn’t until he gave his buddy a team that he thought actually had a chance of doing something. Last year I think Burke thought that the team should make the playoffs so that’s when you should really be judging Wilson’s tenure if you want to align your frame of reference to Burke’s. 

And all you have to do to understand why Burke would do that is to look at the roster that Wilson inherited compared to this year’s. Burke’s overhauled the roster completely. It’s hard to implement systems and deploy your team properly when you facing a constant churning of players.

why dont you guys call up zigomanis to help PK? – @mt_winston

Burke: We don’t believe he can help at this time. Mike’s a great guy. He’s an important player for the Marlies, who gives us depth.

PPP: Oh for fuck’s sake. Zigomanis isn’t saving this PK. The team’s struggles aren’t face-offs on the PK. It’s clearing the damn zone, not overchasing the puck, and getting into shooting lanes. Those require four players to be better not just one ‘superman’ out there.

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Describe the affect the #toronto media has on players, coaches, management, potential players. – @Jascadoa

Burke: It’s volume. The majority of media are honest, professional people with ethics. A handful of them don’t meet that description.

PPP: This is another one that could be expanded upon but the team’s approach to the media is largely coloured by their interactions with a handful of awful writers. The fallout impacts the good ones but you’ll never hear them dump on their colleagues’ for that gift.

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