Asked And Answered: Brian Burke Tweetbag II

Goddamn you people have a lot of questions

Since the first edition of my tweetbag with Brian Burke was such a rousing success I think that it’s time for a second. Apparently, people on Twitter have a lot of questions for the brains behind the Leafs’ upturn in fortunes.

After the jump, we take turns answering questions.

Do you often talk to Alex Anthopoulos for ideas? – @lukeschennrules

BB – I really like and respect Alex. We speak and visit with some frequency.

PPP – Let’s be honest, Brian Burke mentors AA. That Jays trade you really liked? Burke.

If you could have three wishes for the current leafs, what would they be? – @Hodgie44

BB – Make the playoffs, go deep in the playoffs and bring the Cup back to Toronto. This might take a bit of time.

PPP – Looks like we’re on the same wavelength. Flying Spaghetti Monster willing, the first one gets ticket off this year. The team is slowly building towards the second. The third, even if most things break the right way, will require some luck. Burke’s latest remarks make it seem like he’s taken the challenge to win in Toronto to heart and is thinking beyond his first contract. I think that’ll be good news for the Leafs since he won’t feel confined to a finite timeline.

Ever had a trade/signing fall through that ultimately worked out better for your team? And did you ever feel bad trading a guy? – @AllyFox20

BB –  I have hated trading a number of guys. Some you can’t wait to tell them, but with most, it’s hard. We pride ourselves on making character a priority, so you’re often trading guys that care. Seamy side of this business.

PPP – I feel like Kris Versteeg might fit into that first category. Judging by how Burke took the demotion of Colton Orr, it certainly seems like he takes these tough moves to heart.

are the leafs in the running for an all star game or winter classic in the near future? –  @BVono95

BB – We’ve asked the NHL for the Entry Draft, Winter Classic and All-Star Game for our centennial year. Not sure we will get it all.

PPP – Good lord that would be an amazing year. My gut tells me that if the Leafs will get these in the next five years that they will be staggered

Mr. Burke – what is the single greatest advantage from a hockey standpoint in working in Toronto? Disadvantage? Thanks. – @trunksudbury83

BB – Best part: I get to live here. Best advantage: greatest fans and the proximity of the Marlies. Disadvantage: none.

PPP – That’s fucking right.

do the leafs have tryouts? – @Wandaandlupus

BB – We invite players to our prospect and rookie camps, but only players our scouts have viewed and has an interest in.

PPP – So I’m guessing "Invicible On Ice" isn’t going to happen. 

Do you think the Leafs are tough enough to be a playoff team like Boston/Philly/Van who are consistently there every year… – @craftyken

BB – We cannot claim to be in that category until we make the playoffs more than once. It’s premature now to talk like that!

PPP – That’s a level head that Burke has. Craftyken is putting the cart ahead of the horse which is why Burke says that making the playoffs is his goal: achieving that is the first step towards the ultimate goal of a Stanley Cup.

how is having one of the worst PK% in the league over the last few years NOT a coaching issue?  fire that idiot. fire wilson – @ShawnDal15

BB – PK system works, if the players execute it. When it doesn’t, it’s their fault. Media blames the coach. I don’t understand. The PK is getting better. It needs to for us to stay in the hunt. Players on the PK need to get it done!   

PPP – Ron Wilson has coached one of the best penalty kills of the modern era. I don’t think he’s forgotten how to do that. I do think that he has had problems identifying the players that he should be deploying. Burke is right to blame the players to a certain extent because from my viewing one of the biggest problems is decision making often as a result of poor communication. The players are not communicating among themselves enough and in turn that leads to breakdowns when players are not working as a cohesive unit. Does the roster turnover play a part? I absolutely think so. That said, the overall kill rate is going to be awful this season no matter what they do the rest of the way so it’s best to approach it with a clean slate. So far so good.

what Leaf plays most like you did? – @AJ_McCabe

BB –  Fortunately, none! I was a hard-nosed defensive winger and PK guy in college. Mike Brown probably closest, but not really!

PPP – Burke doesn’t want BrownBeaut’s moustache coming after him for comparing him to a guy that never played in the show.

Do you think the Leagues quest for more goals is unfair to goalies?? Are the cards being stacked against them? – @Bubbavonzipper

BB –  No. We trade chances with our style. It’s the only way to entertain fans on a regular basis. It’s not unfair.

PPP – Both Burke and Wilson have been adamant since day one that they would play an up-tempo game even if it cost them games they might have won by trapping during the early phases of rebuilding the Leafs so I’m not surprised. Is it fair to the goalies? Is any sport really fair to goalies? They take a disproportionate share of the blame but when things go well they usually get way more acclaim than they deserve. Unless it’s Goose, then he’s just lucky.

What are you going to do to insure that the leafs have a successful year? – @Dr_Souc

BB – Just keeping my ear to the ground and seeing if we can upgrade at any point, if it makes sense.

PPP – "Oh, and I’ll likely do something that will blow your mind but I can’t tell you that just yet."

can we expect a superstar to the Leafs soon? We have a great group of guys but it looks like they’re still missing something – @mrstiener316

BB – Are you kidding? We have three players going to All-Star! What am I missing?

PPP – Maybe that guy should watch a game sometime. Phil Kessel is a superstar, Lupul at worst is playing like one, and Dion Phaneuf is growing into one of the top 15 defenders in the league. Could the team get more? Sure but it’s not like they are devoid of high-end skill.

How active/involved is Francois Allaire in the actual scouting of goaltending prospects prior to the draft?Thankyou for your time – @kylemacdonald

BB – He has considerable input. He recommends draft-eligible goalies and free agents. He goes and watches goalies live.

PPP – That’s not much of a surprise. At the end of the day, of course, it’s Burke’s call but Allaire is a hell of an ace up his sleeve.