Burke stuck playing the waiting game


Who will be the first to go?

Brian Burke, victim of unmovable contracts, questionable signings, the Phil Kessel trade, his own reputation, and a hockey team gone bad is poised to do something.

Exactly what that is, when that is, who it involves — and clearly, it’s something more significant than the laughable trade request from Jamal Mayers — is on the horizon.
But the horizon may not be present until after the Olympic Games; until the pending trade deadline of March 3. And the forever impatient Burke is instead forced to play the waiting game in a salary capped National Hockey League where the demise of the Maple Leafs is greeted as welcome news.

“I know what fans are saying,” said Burke. “Why doesn’t he do something? The only answer I can tell you it’s not for lack of trying.

“Do you think I like driving home after every game? I understand the fans frustration, believe me. If anyone driving home from (Tuesday’s) game (against Los Angeles) is discouraged, imagine my ride home.

“The fact is, the team’s not winning and I haven’t made any changes. I understand, this is the GM’s problem. I accept that. You want to blame somebody, blame me. It’s my job to get it right. It all ends up on my desk … I thought we had something (a trade) in November. That fell apart.

“Unfortunately, (talking trade) is like being a farmer. You plant your crop and then you do nothing but wait.”

It’s not like Burke has a lot of wait for. The mess of mediocrity he is surrounded by is compounded by the ridiculous contracts he inherited. There is no trading of Jason Blake, Lee Stempniak, Jeff Finger or Vesa Toskala. Tomas Kaberle, maybe the most tradeable commodity, hasn’t asked to waive his no-trade deal.

You can deal the rental players like Alexei Ponikarovsky and Matt Stajan, but last year the Leafs attempted to trade both and came away empty handed. Talking to agents, there does seem to be some interest in Ponikarovsky, but likely closer to the deadline. And Stajan is one of those typical Toronto players who gets overvalued in this market, but not overvalued by clubs that regularly scout the Leafs.

There also may be some interest in Niklas Hagman, who has one year left on his contract, but again, anything that would happen with him would likely occur in March.

Which leaves what?

“I can hang up (on) you and make a bad trade right now. That’s easy,” Burke said.


26 Responses to Burke stuck playing the waiting game

  1. Kramer says:

    I predict a big trade is gonna happen soon.

  2. reinjosh says:

    The way I see it, is as long as we don't give up the 1st or 2nd spot in the draft (and barring lottery unluckiness), giving up Fowler, Gormley, Connoly or Gudbranson is all good by me.
    Seguin and Hall are one and two no doubt.
    But after that I don't see the rest as franchise players at all.

  3. bbruins37 says:

    heh heh…ok. then we can just focus on worrying about the other picks as none of those players will amount to anything.

  4. dumbassdoorman says:

    See that is not what he said, you are turning it into something it isn't. He never said the other players would be nothing. He said they were not what he considered franchise players. So there is a difference, ie take Hossa…very good player…not franchise. So why don't you start reading things instead of just ripping Leaf fans cause of the trade. And besides it isn't like your team does not miss Kessels goals, no matter what you say injuries or not!!!

  5. bbruins37 says:

    i know what he said. i exaggerated the "would be nothing" because he's under the impression that the leafs will be fine if the bruins dont land an equal to kessel with the 2010 first, while completely disregarding the other picks in the deal.

  6. broc says:

    I dunno about that.

    But. I have to say I think Fowler is overrated. He's only got 3 goals on the best team in junior? Weak.

    The only reason he's got so many assists, is because the Spitfires have the best core of forwards of any junior team in the world. Anyone can rack up assists when you're passing to guys like Hall, Nemisz, Wellwood, Henrique, Shugg, Ryan, Mitchell, Panik, etc. And in 20 games, Kassian returns from his suspension.

    Is there any doubt this team will repeat as Memorial Cup champions?

  7. mojo19 says:

    If we move Stajan, Mayers, Poni, and Stempniak all for picks, then we could still maybe add another pick and bring in Sykora from Minnesota, in a similar deal to the Kolzig/Heward trade from last year. Sykora cleared waivers and he'll still be owed like a $200K to play in the minors. Should be worth a 5th and he would help fill out the roster to finish up the year, then just call up Hanson and Deveaux or whatever. Done.

  8. reinjosh says:

    what? can't i make a statement about the draft
    no, probably not. bbruins might get angry

  9. reinjosh says:

    i don't believe i have ever said that
    way to put words in my mouth
    and the leafs will be fine
    because its not likley that we will be this bad next year
    so anything top 10 is fine
    you making out these picks (all of them combined) to be a way for you to get a superstar bar nothing
    im just being a little more realistic
    but no matter how many times i explain it, you wont listen

  10. leafy says:

    The Leafs have got to get back some first round picks! The status quo is not an option.

    Quite honestly, this is what I would do if I was Burke.

    Foremost, hope that the Leafs start winning a few games (they're due) and hopefully move up closer to the #5 spot or, even better, out of the draft lottery position altogether. The key word is hope.

    If or when that happens, the Leafs first pick in Boston's possession will have less value.

    Then immediately take action and try to re-acquire a high first round pick. First make a pitch to Boston and persuade Kaberle to waive his no trade clause (Burke has to end this stubbornness!!!).  Offer a temping package that includes Kaberle to re-acquire the first pick.

    If the Boston plan doesn't work, then as a backup, shoot for a middle to late first round pick from another team using Hagman and someone else as bait.  Hagman would serve a better purpose as a secondary scorer on a contender.

    In short, the Leafs need a little bit of smartness and a little luck, but they could get back some valuable first round picks.

  11. leafy says:

    Jersey will probably grab Sykora but I wouldn't mind seeing him on the Leafs. He's always been an under-rated player and consistent. I don't know what happened this year in Minny.

  12. bbruins37 says:

    ive had this convo with you and cam all the time. you guys shit on the 2011 draft, and are only worried about the 2010 first. haha you guys said that this wasnt going to be a top pick either. we'll see about 2011.

    i never said anything about a superstar with these picks (unless we do landone of the topguys this year); i actually have repeatedly said that we can get three lesser pieces andstill win the trade.

  13. bbruins37 says:

    chia has said that he wont trade toronto's 1st.

  14. nordiques100 says:

    he should in fact trade his 3 seconds and pick up rentals.

  15. reinjosh says:

    the 2nd is easily replaceable
    Burke will likely get at least one. No biggie
    The first next year.
    First of all the 2011 draft is a weak one. Scouts for teams, scouts for the ISS, independent scouts, people who know the game and are analysts all agree that this is the weakest draft since the draft when the Sedins went one and two (a very weak draft). That and the fact that no person has jumped out yet as the forerunner, and no players have really impressed anyone yet, all point to relatively smaller risk for that 1st rounder. Just because you think that 2011 isn't doesnt make it so. All those people know far more than you (in fact you really think you know more than you know. its funny how much you don't actually know). Oh and the fact that the Leafs will likely be a far better team which would make the pick lower. So that pick isn't as valued as you make it out to be.

    THis years pick, I'm mildly worried about but I can deal with it. Hall isn't amazing and might not even be a franchise player. And your going to try and claim that scouts have said they would pick Hall over Tavares if they were in the same draft. Thats a bullshit statement. No GM or scout would pick Hall over the kid who broke Gretzky's goal record. And not only that but they wouldn't even pick Hall over Hedman. Plus he has proven himself to be a little selfish. ANd the team he plays on is stacked. He has talent but its completely possible that he is performing better because of his stacked team. Seguin is talented but his last season was not nearly as strong and this season could be more of an aberration that a step in his development. Fowler is solid but again plays on a stacked team. The rest are solid but this draft is not nearly as strong as last year. And don't think I am trying to take away from these players because we don't have a pick. I'm not. It's possible that Hall will be a franchise player but I don't really see that quality in him. And I don't think Seguin is a franchise type player either. Its quite a stretch to say that this draft will have two or more franchise players. The last one (the strongest since the 2003) had only 2. Franchise players don't come along as much as one might think.

    And your right, getting 3 solid players with the picks would make the trade good for you but I wouldn;t say it would win it for you. If Kessel continues his progression into a 40 plus goal scorer (quite probable, obviously we hope for 50 plus) than 3 lesser players are worth it to both teams. And getting 3 players with 3 draft picks is highly unlikely.

    The trade was a risk for both teams. Both teams calculated the risk and took it. The Leafs got a natural sniper with 40 – 50 goal potential and who is still only 22. The Bruins got cap space and picks to help the team. Both had risks. The Leafs risked giving up a really good player with a high draft pick. The Bruins risked losing a 40 – 50 goal guy and really missing him on the offense AS well as missing on all 3 picks in getting a good player (possible, not probable). Both teams are experiencing these risks first hand now. The Bruins are missing Kessel's goal scoring ability and his chemistry with Savard. His 15 goals would put him in the lead on your team and thats without a playmaker like Savard. With him, its entirely possible that he gets more. Plus he takes the pressure and the top defenders away from the other players (which is what happened last year and one of the reasons the whole top 9 bottom 3 worked for them so well. It doesn't now because they don't have a clear cut 1st line). The Leafs on the other hand are looking at potentially giving up a lottery pick. So both sides are suffering.

    It was a risky trade and both teams are experiencing that first hand. To think otherwise would be stupid. I know you will deny the whole Bruins missing Kessel (which they are, its clear to everyone in the NHL community but you) but its true. On the other hand we will possibly be giving up a top 5 pick which could (emphasis on could) be bad. We will see.

  16. leafshockey says:

    K I'm gonna look like an idiot, what deal was possibly in place in november?

  17. reinjosh says:

    Im not entirely sure. but at most it was a deal involving a struggling player like Mueller. At very most. More than likely it was a deal like the Latendresse for Pouliot type deal.

  18. Gardenfaithful says:

    i know this might be a shot in the dark but burke said hes willing to take bad contracts for draft picks and prospects. he was willing to take redden this past summer for a 1st rounder coming back.
    how about exelby and ponikerosky(sure spelt wrong) for redden, higgins, and a 1st? higgins comes off if they dont want him, toronto has the money to bury redden in the minors and theres no pressure there with th franchise looking bad because it wasnt their bad signing and they get that first round pick which  they dont currently have.
    the rangers get rid of a horrible contract which is most important, get a physical dman that comes off the books if it doesnt work out after this year and the same goes for ponikarovsky.
    I know everyone on here likes to ***** and moan how the rangers are stuck but thats just not the way it works. i as a rangers fan probably agree that they agree tp suffer a little for these signings but if they get creative this IS possible. for cranky toronto fans you can even subsitute redden with rozival, a shorter cheaper deal, and add a prospect like sanguinetti which is a dman the leafs can actually use on their roster

  19. Gardenfaithful says:

    also that 1st round pick from the rangers may very well end up being a top ten pick

  20. reinjosh says:

    you would need to add more. and even then im not sure. Redden's contract is really bad. 6.5 million for 8 points. Thats really bad.
    And I believe Burke wasn't willing to take on that contract even with a first. But it's possible.
    Maybe Burke thinks Redden could pick it up again, takes him back with a first for a guy like Blake or Finger.

  21. broc says:

    uhh.. where was it reported anywhere, that Burke was willing or interested in Redden?

    I call shenanigans.

    Also, one 1st round pick isn't CLOSE to enough, to take on Reddens handcuff contract. Burke stated before he wasn't interested in taking other teams mistake contracts. Expiring contracts, yes.. mistake contracts no.

    Shenanigans nonetheless.

  22. reinjosh says:

    Its possible it would be a top 10 pick
    and Blake or Finger would most definitely be heading back
    If the deal had any chance at all of going down.

  23. Kyleton says:

    He's always been a product of who he has played with.  He scores a lot of goals when he's played with the best but if he's not getting feed the puck he does nothing to make things happen on his own. Its why he's been allowed to walk at the end of each contract, and was forced to Try out for the Wild.  GM's have finally saw what he really is. 

  24. KingCanada says:

    Surely even you can understand how ludicrous that sounds?!?

    To Bury Redden in the minors??  So essentially YOU ARE SAYING Burke would pay 25 million for a first round pick?!?  HAH!!  Shenanigans is right!! lol.

    Creative or not…a Redden trade IS NOT possible…

    Roszival however could be possible to bury…hed only have 8.5 left….but it would take more still.

  25. mojo19 says:

    That's not true at all Kyleton. He's washed up now, but he was once a really good player. When the Devils won the cup in 2000, Sykora led the team in goals in the playoffs, and followed that up with 81 pts in 73 games in the 2001 season.

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