Monday, January 18, 2010

Brian Burke Can't Even Manage Expectations

Brian Burke says a lot of things.

He’d pull the trigger on Kessel again.

Ron Wilson’s job is safe.

“Our goal is to make the playoffs; that's our intention. We think this team is good enough.”

I don’t know if I believe a word of it.

There are four simple words that Burke might want to take under consideration moving forward: under promise, over deliver.

Not only are those four words a pretty good maxim, they may also the one thing the Cliff Fletcher did right in his second go ‘round with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

I had all the patience in the world for the Leafs to bottom out, shed the JFJ remnants and bad contracts, get younger, get deeper, and hopefully get better.

But if the new GM doesn’t have the patience for a re-build – and sacrificing two firsts a second and a third is proof positive of that - why should fans?

I haven’t been writing much about this team because there’s not much to write about. Going into the season, it was clear that the PK and goaltending needed to be addressed in order for this team to have any sort of chance, never mind success. Neither of these shortcomings were dealt with and the team continues to play some ugly hockey.

How ugly? Even if the team manages to go .500 the rest of the way (a tall order) the Leafs will finish with their lowest point total since the lock-out and their worst season in over 10 years.

To put that in perspective, Wilson and Burke are on target to ice a team that finished 9 points back of the worst team ever assembled by JFJ.

"We believe we're good enough this year to make the playoffs."

Sorry Mr. Burke, you're not even close.

10 comments:

  1. LeafFanInVan3:34 p.m.

    I sort of wish Burke's contract was as cheap as all the talk he's been spewing.

    Defending Burke and co is but a distant memory for me. Cautious optimism replaced by abject horror.

    On the bright side, Team USA is being run by these goofballs.

    ReplyDelete
  2. To put that in perspective, Wilson and Burke are on target to ice a team that finished 9 points back of the worst team ever assembled by JFJ.

    "We believe we're good enough this year to make the playoffs."

    Sorry Mr. Burke, you're not even close.


    Can't really put it much better than that.

    My question for you: did you think, going into this season, this Leafs team assembled would be 9 points behind the worst team ever assembled by JFJ? I know hindsight is easy, but what did you think going on? I sure as hell didn't think it would be THIS bad.

    ReplyDelete
  3. eyebleaf - I figured the Leafs would flirt with .500 and finish the year somewhere around 24th overall.

    And no, I didn't think they'd be this bad.

    ReplyDelete
  4. The teams assembled by JFJ were built to make the playoffs and help said GM keep his job. He was trading away Rask for Raycroft and signing Pavel Kubina for $5M a season, while desperately adding players like Lindros, Blake, Alison and O'Neill in an attempt to find lightning in a bottle and roll the dice right into the post-season. It didn't matter the cost.

    The two GM's since JFJ have had to deal with that mess. Burke is still dealing with that mess.

    If you are judging this team against recent JFJ teams, than to me you are judging this team against the same expectations. Which were, to build a team good enough to get to the playoffs in the next 365 days.

    I do believe that Burke's plan is a bit more lofty and was always going to take more than a season.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Muppet Thanks for the comment.

    This is what I'm judging Burke on: his own words. "We believe we're good enough this year to make the playoffs."

    Burke said it and the reality is playoffs=93 points.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anonymous12:08 p.m.

    Do you people know nothing? Would you rather he say, we will suck, so don't even bother buying tickets? That would be stupid as a business decision and would destroy any confidence the team had. He didn't say they WOULD make it, they said they have the potential, and they did.

    To say they did nothing about their goaltending is just ridiculous! They got the top goalie prospect outside of North America, who has shown that, with some time and experience, he could be the next Lundqvist.

    He also got a ton of prospects in the off-season who will help for next year, and the years to come. Also, Kessel is only 21! The kid is already scoring, and has done very well with little to no help at all! Yeah we lost draft picks, but look at everyone he got without using any! And your kidding yourself if you think they Leafs will finish last and get Taylor Hall. And you don't not make a trade for a 21 y/o 40 goal scorer in hopes that your team bombs and you MIGHT get a top 2 pick! Honestly, outside of the top 2 picks, I wouldn't put anyone else above Kessel...and Kessel is proven NHL ready!

    The PK sucks, thats obvious, but NO ONE saw it being this bad! Heck, almost everyone was counting on a decent Toronto team, including you analysts and sports writers!

    I am not delusional enough to beleive the Leafs have a playoff shot this year and I am not planning any parades for a few years, but the way you guys write just sounds like ranting by gf/bf who is bitter over an argument.

    I hope now that you blew off some steam, you can see a bit more clearly and see their is a future here in T.O. If you don't want to be part of it, move somewhere else and root for them! Because we don't want any bandwagon jumpers here on this journey! I am sure there is room on Ottawas for all of you!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous let's talk this one line by line, shall we?

    Do you people know nothing?

    This site is actually just me.

    Would you rather he say, we will suck, so don't even bother buying tickets?

    There are so many things Burke could have said.

    "We're building a team that will compete."

    "I'm not going to get into hypotheticals, but I want my team to leave it on the ice every night."

    "There may be some rough waters ahead, but it's important that fans, players and management keep an eye on the future."

    FWIW, I'd also rather Burke not promise six types of pugnacity and then ice this pillow-soft team.

    He didn't say they WOULD make it, they said they have the potential, and they did.

    Sure they did. That 1-11 start said nothing but "playoff potential."

    To say they did nothing about their goaltending is just ridiculous! They got the top goalie prospect outside of North America, who has shown that, with some time and experience, he could be the next Lundqvist.

    With a save percentage hovering at .900 and some serious mechanical flaws to his game Gustavsson could also be the next Tellqvist.

    He also got a ton of prospects in the off-season who will help for next year, and the years to come.

    Um, Bozak, Hanson=Ton?

    Kessel is only 21! The kid is already scoring, and has done very well with little to no help at all!

    Kessel's goal production is off by about 30% from last year, despite his time on ice increasing by 3 minutes a game.

    And your kidding yourself if you think they Leafs will finish last and get Taylor Hall.

    The Leafs are likely to finish in the lottery, giving them the best pick they'd have had in nearly 20 years. And no, I'm not kidding.

    And you don't not make a trade for a 21 y/o 40 goal scorer in hopes that your team bombs and you MIGHT get a top 2 pick!

    That's the big problem right there. Burke looked at this team and thought "playoffs!" Instead he got 28th place. Also, draft picks eat $850K to $2M of the cap. Kessel is eating $5.5M.

    The PK sucks, thats obvious, but NO ONE saw it being this bad!

    I did. I posted about it when Burke was hired.

    Heck, almost everyone was counting on a decent Toronto team, including you analysts and sports writers!

    Not true.

    I am not delusional enough to beleive the Leafs have a playoff shot this year and I am not planning any parades for a few years, but the way you guys write just sounds like ranting by gf/bf who is bitter over an argument.

    Hey, if you like bitter arguments, you should come back and re-read your comment sometime.

    I hope now that you blew off some steam, you can see a bit more clearly and see their is a future here in T.O.

    Sure, there's a future filled with costly UFAs and mid to late round draft picks.

    If you don't want to be part of it, move somewhere else and root for them! Because we don't want any bandwagon jumpers here on this journey! I am sure there is room on Ottawas for all of you!

    Glad to see there's room for dissent amongst Leaf fans. Oh wait, I guess not. But I can see how my supporting this team for 30+ years and blogging about them for 5 could be construed as bandwagon jumping. Sure.

    Thanks for your comment, please come by again soon...

    ReplyDelete
  8. Gooner4ever4:31 p.m.

    Man someone needs a pill before they suffer an aneurysm.

    I'm not sure that the Leafs would lose any money if Burke had said "listen guys, this year is going to be brutal but bear with us and we'll be a contender in a few seasons"

    The Leafs would still sell out, MLSE would still make a shed load of dough, but at least the fans would have a realistic expectation for both this year and the future.

    However, Burke didn't say this and therefore has to live with his comments. Because they make him look silly. Like the article says "under promise over deliver"

    I'm not saying we should sack him, but he should be held accountable for that comment.

    Additionally, Wilson should be told to stop throwing his players under a bus everytime they make a mistake.

    As an eternal optimist I was certain that the Leafs would make the play-offs BEFORE Burke mentioned it. I also think that the Kessel deal is still a good one.

    but then I'm a fan and not the GM.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anonymous12:05 p.m.

    I think Burke would be a bit more palatable if he wasn't such a fatuous blowhard. Oh, and if he could also put a rain check on his thirst for ersatz brainless truculence, which seems a bit misguided in the post-lock-out world where speed and creativity is king. Certainly the tide of incompetence that would wash ashore this season could have been foreseen when a line of rookie collegians were the best forwards during training camp - No way they would stick or sustain their efforts during a full schedule. And yet, despite the obvious, he still traded for Kessel, surely a move that looks better when a team is on the cusp of being really good/great and not busy mining the depths of gross incompetence. I find it hilarious that this overpaid, bloated gasbag of an executive has managed to make the team worse simply by getting his hands dirty and applying his signature to the team's roster. Mind you not all of the moves he made were bad, it's just that some of them have resulted in bringing in/promoting worse players to fill in as replacements. I don't think Komisarek is better than Kubina and there is no way that Stajan is a top six forward to replace the departure of Antropov.

    The immediate future does not look bright for the Leafs, as the fact that Burke will most likely overpay for some high-end talent to play along with Kessel, thereby swallowing up even more precious cap space, leaves far too little left to create a balanced roster. The thought of creating third and fourth lines out of players that are marginal, not suited to the role of being shut-down players or just too inexperienced enough will leave a slow and overtaxed defence even more over-exposed. If the Leafs improve next season, it will be on the offensive end first and not the defensive end, especially if Toronto gets rid of their only puck moving defenceman Kaberle for a pick of some kind.

    I'll end by saying I extend my sympathies to Leafs fans, I've given up on the team for good. Never was a die-hard, but when the last decent GM the Leafs had was possibly Mike Smith, you get the sense that the team may be somewhat doomed.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anonymous2:01 p.m.

    leafs suck

    ReplyDelete