Ok, NHL. You may have just broken me, ya bastard. All that stuff I said here and everywhere else about not watching a game for a long time when the lockout ends, while I really hope I can stick to it, just got a lot harder.
Why? Well, because the Leafs just up and fired Brian Burke seemingly out of nowhere at one of the strangest times possible, that’s why.
If it’s not out of nowhere, whoever saw it coming isn’t talking yet. There were no rumours, no rumblings, no reports. All the focus where Toronto was concerned had pretty much been on who would be between the pipes when the mini season started. Well, that and people hoping it would be short enough for the team to not shit the bed and squeak its way into a playoff spot. You’d better hope for 2011’s start in that case and not 2010’s, by the way.
But this Burke thing is odd. I know a lot of people thought he should’ve been fired sooner. I see where they’re coming from even though I don’t totally agree. Yes he’s had since 2008 to turn things around, but do you remember how much of a mess things were in in 2008? I’ll admit it, last year was pathetic. So pathetic in fact that for the first time I can remember, I gave up watching the Leafs in early March, or maybe it was late February. I don’t remember, and to be honest, I’d rather not think about it. But my point is that it was the kind of year when you look at a guy who’s had four years to do something and think ok, why hasn’t he? He’s made some deals to improve the club, he’s shaken some things up like he said he was going to. But he didn’t get rid of Wilson when he probably should have and he’s fucked up the goaltending situation something fierce. I’ve wanted him gone at times too, believe me. But I understand that change on a scale needed here takes time, and when new coaches were hired during last year’s shitfest, I thought I’d give him a cleanish slate next year. It was too late to stop the suck train that was 2011-2012, so why not start fresh next year?
And now here we are. We can pretty much forget about any sort of team stability or multi-year plan now, I’m betting. And if I’m Randy Carlyle, I’m not making any long-term plans. I know the word is that they’re keeping him, but he’s Burke’s guy. Being the old boss’s guy doesn’t always end well, especially when well isn’t how things are going for the team.
So now I might have to watch some hockey, or at least pay more attention to it than I’d planned. I’m too much of a Leafs fan at the end of the day to miss this newest ridiculous chapter in team history. If nothing else, I want to be able to understand Down Goes Brown’s jokes about it. I wonder if they’ll be funnier than whatever the truth of why Burke was let go as GM but kept on as an expert right before a season that nobody has time to prepare for ends up being.