I feel like I owe it to my blog to write a bit about hockey. Yes, an agreement was reached in the lockout earlier this week, before the drop dead date where the season would be cancelled. How convenient for all parties involved. Some stars started coming back from Europe, and some decided to stay a bit longer (for the KHL ASG at least); and the clubs, players, media, restaurants & bars, and fans started preparing for a shorter 48 game season. There was a lot of activity on the web about various team’s chances to make the playoffs because the effect of an injury or a hot streak is much more pronounced in a short season. But as I mentioned in my other blog, I’m not that excited because I’m not that fanatic about hockey anymore.
But what was interesting this week was the bombshell that the new owners of MLSE (Rogers & Bell) dropped on the NHL world on the same day that the NHL apologized to its fans for the lockout. With seemingly no warning or cause, Brian Burke was fired from his roles as President and GM of the Leafs.
I don’t think Brian Burke has been a savior for the organization, certainly the Leafs still struggled in his four year tenure as GM; but the roster has been completely overhauled and there certainly is a more promising atmosphere surrounding the team. He has made bad trades and signings, but he has also made a couple of exciting, blockbuster trades. He has also contributed a lot to Toronto culture by being a spokesperson for gay rights.
Rumor has it that he had until the NHL ASG time frame to make sure the ship was going in the right direction for this year’s team (i.e., making the playoffs) and the continuation of that rumor was that he was fired now because it is around ASG time; although it is a bit unfair since the Leafs haven’t played any games this season, and he was unable to make any personnel moves with the lockout in progress.
Another rumor is that the reason for his firing was personal because his replacement at GM has been his right-hand man for several years (so the Leafs aren’t changing course), and because he had a full schedule the day before and the day he was fired. That seems like the most likeliest explanation but hasn’t been confirmed; so I’ve been glued to the blogs this week waiting to hear for confirmation or otherwise. Still haven’t heard it, but this drama is more interesting than hockey itself!