It’s been a frustrating season up in Toronto, especially for Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke.
After watching his team get off to an unbelievable start to the season, their playoff hopes have slowly eroded away with their recent 2-7-1 slide. As a result, Burke was forced to fire head coach Ron Wilson. And while some fans in Toronto may be happy to see the coach gone, many of them want Burke to follow him out the door.
Burke, being well aware of this, was a little ticked off when he was asked about his job security in a radio interview he gave Tuesday.
An interview with host John Moore of Toronto’s News Talk 1010 started off innocent enough—though Burke has never had a great relationship with the Toronto media—but it quickly turned hostile as Burke took issue with what he thought was a “gutless” question.
When Moore asked Burke if he felt he was “close to the door,” Toronto’s GM sternly responded:
“I wish you’d told me before you asked me to do this interview that that was going to be your last question. A nice little cheap shot before you get off the air.”
Burke then abruptly hung up. Interview over.
Burke was already hot from answering allegations from Coach’s Corner co-host Don Cherry that Burke doesn’t have any Ontario-born players on his current roster.
“Let’s look at a few facts. I’ve run three drafts here, and in those three drafts that I’ve been here, we led the league with eight Ontario-born players drafted,” Burke said. “The notion that we don’t like Ontario kids, that’s garbage…Somehow in Canada, have we started differentiating between Western Canadians and Ontario boys or Quebec boys? Because I don’t draw that distinction.”
Burke was right about Cherry, and while he may have been right in blasting Moore for his final question, his abrupt departure from the interview will only serve as fodder for the rabid media clones in Toronto.
If the Leafs are unable to sneak into the playoffs season, that will make it seven straight years, and someone will have to be held responsible. Although it would be foolish for the Leafs to give Burke the axe after what he has built over the last three-and-a-half years, fans in Toronto will be out for blood if there is no hockey being played in late April this year.