The Mystery behind Burke’s firing continue
If it was only about his win-loss record, as he tried to sell, then someone other than Dave Nonis would be the new general manager of the Leafs. Sure, the record was part of the evaluation of Burke. How couldn’t it be? But his record alone would have had him back for a shortened new season instead of turning the keys over to Nonis and the rest of his lieutenants. Nobody would look at the record and like it.
But that wasn’t why he was fired. He knows that. And he’s not confortable going public with the information — and neither is the new ownership — because it’s hard to explain why someone didn’t like you. It wasn’t just that he swore. It wasn’t just that he enjoyed the occasional beverage. It wasn’t just that public complaints about him have been more and more apparent in recent months. It wasn’t any one of those things: It was all of them. And more.
The record. The behaviour. The relationship with the media — his feuds have been many. The public image. Burke liked to call the Leafs the Vatican of pro hockey. Only ownership didn’t want him to be Pope anymore. They wanted to quiet the storms and take a new stride under new management. The same people, basically, minus Burke.
And minus him, abruptly and immdiately. The timing of his firing was something else he wouldn’t address Saturday.
“I don’t know how many times I have to answer this but why don’t you ask the people who made the decision why the timing was what it was,” said an annoyed Burke, who was mostly on his best behaviour Saturday. “I did not get a satisfactory explanation for that. And I’m not in a position to offer it.”