No longer gutless
Brian Burke got fired today and no it did not bring a smile to my lips. Being fired is in the top three most stressful experience in a person's life along with moving and losing a spouse. Burke has had a rough ride over the last few years beginning with the death of his son Brandon. That can't have made it easy to continue trying to overhaul the Leafs and end the joke that is their annual run up to not making the play offs.
We don't need to rehash my dust up with Burke from March of last year. I asked a question he would never get from one of the reporters who normally treated him as if they were his publicists. It was a legitimate question. When your team sucks and you've just fired the coach, you are presumed to be the next guy closest to the door.
The timing sucks. Burke is 57 years old and his chances for the kind of redemption every sports manager wants to go out on are slim. But hockey (as the owners and players have definitively established) is a business and this is an underperforming franchise. If the Leafs were winning, Burke's crusty routine would be charming. But in the last two years that irritability was starting to seem like an outward sign of a guy who just couldn’t get the job done.
I'm not enough of a sports guy to offer an opinion of where we go from here but the Leafs could learn a thing or two from The Jays. They aren't even playing yet and they're making Torontonians feel like winners.
On one front, Burke deserves nothing but praise. For a gruff tough guy his age to carry on an agenda of gay acceptance after his son died is nothing short of remarkable.