‘Coaches have a shelf life’: Former Leafs GM Brian Burke
With his days as an official front-office NHL executive on hold, it’s been quiet times for former Maple Leafs president and general manager Brian Burke.
The fiery Irishman has had little to say since being fired just prior to the season, but you can’t keep a good quote down forever and Burke was in vintage form Friday morning in Boston.
Speaking on a panel at the MIT Sloan Analytics Conference, Burke was at his bombastic best, addressing several issues from his ill-fated tenure at the helm of the Leafs.
At various points, he took a run at newspaper coverage, sports talk radio, the dangers of placing too much stock in statistical analysis of the game and players and at the difficult fallout with Ron Wilson, his friend and former coach who he fired a year ago on Saturday.
The premise of the panel, entitled “It’s Not You, It’s Me” was to discuss disputes that happen between players, coaches and general managers.
Here are some of the highlights as reported by the official Twitter feed of the conference in which Burke was joined by, among others, former NFL executive Bill Polian and former NBA coach Stan Van Gundy:
On what Burke believes to be the over use of statistics to analyze talent: “If you’re looking at statistics alone and saying we’re drafting this guy, good luck. I hope you’re in my division.
“Statistics are like a lamppost for a drunk: Useful for support, but not illumination. It’s an eyeball business.”
On newspaper coverage, presumably based in part on his experience here in Toronto: “A sports page when you are losing has value only if you are a puppy or a parakeet.”