Nine zingers from Brian Burke’s farewell conference

Somewhat unorthodox, but Brian Burke was granted the opportunity by the team to have a farewell press conference, where he spoke to the assembled media about the circumstances surrounding his firing, but for the most part thanked fans and ownership for the opportunity to work with the Maple Leafs.

But it’s not a Burke presser unless there’s some serious snark being turned. I transcribed some of the subtle, and not-so-subtle, zingers Burke used on the gathered media, via the video centre at the Maple Leafs website:

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On the timing of his firing:

“I got a cold when I was in Russia and I wasn’t able to shake it, so I apologize in advance. It would have been nice to get this notice before I went to Russia.”

“You’ve got to understand there’s sometimes when you get fired and you see the vultures circling and you understand it’s coming. You’re not sure when you’re going to drop dead in the desert, but it’s coming and you can see the vultures. This one was like a two-by-four upside the head to me. Again, that’s not a complaint, but I’m still sorting through what to do next. All I know is I’m going to the New England Patriots playoff game with my kids tomorrow.”

On his hollow “senior advisor” role:

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“I was informed yesterday that the senior advisor role is to the board and to Tom and not in hockey operations, that was not my understanding, but that’s fine, and we’ll go from there and see what that involves.”

“No idea.” “I don’t know what the role is, I asked Tom this morning, because I knew I’d be asked, and he said ‘we’ll work through it’ and that’s good enough for me.”

On ownership’s patience when it comes to GMs:

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“I don’t expect Dave Nonis to stand up here in five years or whenever he gets the axe and say ‘well look what I started with'”

On the league’s corporate structure:

“I’d like to a team that doesn’t get sold next time. I’ve got a pretty poor track record on that.”

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On the state of the Leafs’ goaltending:

“The good news is that’s not my problem anymore. As of 48 hours ago, that’s somebody else’s problem.”

On Toronto Sun reporter Steve Simmons:

“That’s the best part about today Steve, is that I probably don’t ever have to talk to you again, so ask them.”

On rumours surrounding his personal life:

“It was not addressed in my meeting, it was not raised as an issue, this is all media speculation it was not presented to me as an issue. I think it’s unfair speculation, frankly, to people on the other side, “oh, this is a personal thing with somebody” there was none of that presented. I’m not going to respond to it. I’m not looking for a sniper behind the bush.”

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