Monday, March 5, 2012

Burke Cherry Feud

Brian Burke is continuing his long history of picking fights with media members, and his latest opponent is none other than Don Cherry, a pundit with very sharp elbows. The Don has a strong following, but he can say crazy things, so people will often take his opinions with a grain of salt. Don being Don. That being said, it does not benefit Burkie to pick a fight with Cherry, because it exposes a pattern of excessive confrontation with the media, and a segment (however large or small) of Leaf Nation will end up with a more negative opinion of Burke than they had before. Don Cherry is held in higher regard by far more people than David Pratt or Steve Simmons. A lot of people also think Cherry is nuts, a stereotypical grumpy old man. Opinions cut both ways.

Guaranteed that there are important people at the CBC who don't like Don Cherry. He's so close to retirement, and his career may be over sooner rather than later. Will he get kicked out the door or leave on his own? They don't have anybody waiting in the wings who can stir the pot like he does. If anyone takes over Coach's Corner, it has to be a coach. Milburry? Crawford? Melrose? Keenan? It sure as shit ain't Kelly Hrudey. Don's initial feud with Burke was regarding the ineffectiveness of Wilson and Burke stood up for his man. Not long thereafter the team collapsed and Burkie fired his man. Cherry was right to be ripping Wilson. The recent comments about lacking Ontario born players, that's a different matter, and I'm not sure how that plays out.

 As for Burke, he's got two years left on his deal. What happens if the Leafs miss the playoffs this year and next? There is frustration simmering in Leaf Nation right now, with many even becoming angry. He needs the team to start winning. He cannot replace the core he has built. The core that's there has to be the core that brings them into legitimate contention. His fate and his future will now be judged by the team on the ice. The team had better be good next season, and that might not happen with James Reimer in net. Burke has to hedge his bets and bring in another guy who can be a #1, and that's not Jonas Gustavsson (people should stop calling him "Monster" unless you start meaning it in a negative way).

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