Mulling it over
Brian Burke's tale as a Toronto Maple Leaf is not a long one. It's a simple one too, one that will end only one of two ways.
Burke was sold to Toronto as being a Leaf kind of guy, a tough, no-nonsense hockey man. He is supposed understand what it means to dig in the corners, how to cycle the puck. He is supposed to understand how to take all the whacks and cross-checks in front of the net, or in his case, in front of the cameras. And he's been doing it for some two years now. Apparently he can take it.
Burke continues to offer the Leaf fans promise in the future: the playoffs and beyond. And yet, despite this starry-eyed storyline he espouses, or should I say, gets red-faced about, he isn't willing to face the fact that this story is coming to an end.
This isn't a story about stats (terrible penalty kills and power plays), strategies (defensive zone coverage) or players and lines. It's a story about making a choice, a simple decision. Is he willing to take the hit or isn't he?
Brian Burke has built this team over the past two years. It is his team, a team built from the net out. A team that has one of the best, if not the best, defensive corps in the league. It is a tough, physical team.
While Toronto won't score too many goals, this is the team that he said we needed and he wanted. And while there are one or two more pieces to fill, Toronto is not full of rookies or inexperienced. The Maple Leafs should be winning, and they aren't.
Once again, the Leafs are mired in a nauseating losing streak at the beginning of the season. The players look lost. They can't clear the zone. They can't block shots. They can't score. They are chasing after the other guys. They are losing. It is unpleasant to watch.
And so, the bell tolls for Burke. He must decide, and he must decide now, whether he wants to step down as the Maple Leafs' General Manager or fire Coach Ron Wilson.
Either Burke decides, or the decision will have to be made for him.