Wednesday, January 9, 2013

So Long, Burkie!

Wednesday January 9, 8:35 p.m.

Well, I'll tell ya....I was just going to start up lunch after a few hours of translation work in my bedroom, and I decide to turn on good ol' CP24. As soon as the TV goes on, the dramatic tones of "Breaking News" flies out of the speaker, and I get the info that Leafs GM Brian Burke is out the door. Yes, the guy who made the word "truculent" more than a cool move in Scrabble was fired after 4 years on the job.

It's been an interesting several weeks for Toronto sports teams and media. We have two teams, the Blue Jays and the Leafs, who used to have glory years but now don't....both teams stunk out the joint in their previous seasons, and now both teams have pulled off more excitement in the off-season than they did on active status. For a day in which the only exciting news about ice hockey was to have been the official ratification on the NHL owners' side of the new CBA between them and the NHLPA, everyone got blindsided into furious action. TSN and Sportsnet pretty much threw out the schedule for the rest of the afternoon, and only spoke about Burke....with a momentary interruption for the official announcement of the ratification. The news first broke in the middle of lunch hour, so I assume that the gaggle time around the watercooler in a lot of companies got extended by 15 minutes. Probably the gang at all of the restaurants suddenly went quiet for a few minutes before the ambient level of chatter increased tenfold.

I was only back for one year of the reign of Brian Burke, but quickly picked up how prickly he could be with the media....and Don Cherry. I saw the 1:45 press conference of the announcement of Burke's sudden ouster and the introduction of the "new" guy, David Nonis, an old friend and colleague of Burke's and his No. 2. Nonis said that he had gotten the news this morning, but he looked as if he had gotten the news a minute before the press conference. I think probably all of us were caught off-guard by the timing of the news but not of the news itself. Burke had promised that he would bring glory to Toronto once again when he arrived back in late 2008; of course, he brought nothing close to that, so he should be fired. But the question everyone is asking: why now? The weekend should be interesting once the NHLPA ratifies the CBA. The content of those last two statements could be linked.

Well, at least I now know a word that rhymes with "succulent".