Brian Burke speaks out against homophobia in honor of son

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Thumbnail image for brianburke.jpgA few months ago, Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke’s son Brendan died in a car crash just months after courageously admitting that he was gay. To honor his son’s life, Burke is planning on marching in the Toronto Pride Parade and spoke out against homophobia during a keynote address for a Web site designed to make schools a safe environment for people who come out.

The Globe and Mail has the story of Burke’s keynote address.

Brian Burke never expected to be a voice for change. That was the role his son took on when he announced to the world he was gay.

“I was afraid for his safety,” said the Toronto Maple Leafs general manager. “I said, ‘You need to have eyes on the back of your head.’ “

Yet Mr. Burke stood in front of a microphone Monday, facing reporters and a Toronto hotel conference room packed with gay and lesbian community members, calling for an end to homophobia in schools.

“I hate bullies,” he said. “We have to get to the point where everyone can go to school free of fear.”

I apologize for preaching about social justice on a silly hockey blog, but my belief is that when people look back at this era, they’ll look at the Gay Rights Movement in a similar way to the Civil Rights movement. Homophobia and racism are shameful cousins in many ways, so seeing progress in both areas will be a great relief.

Brian Burke faced a near-lifetime’s worth of heartache, highs and lows this year. From the Toronto Maple Leafs’ rough season to the US Olympic silver medal to the much more important (and tragic) death of his son, it’s been a long year for the outspoken executive. But perhaps with Burke’s high profile advocacy for tolerance, some good can come from a very sad situation.

If you want more information, feel free to check out MyGSA.ca, the site Burke spoke about.

Video: Mika Zibanejad’s check to Tyler Bozak’s head

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Saturday’s been unkind to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and not just on the scoreboard (where it’s 3-0 early on against the Ottawa Senators).

The Maple Leafs lost Tyler Bozak to an apparent upper-body injury thanks to a questionable hit by Sens forward Mika Zibanejad.

You can judge that check (which drew a minor penalty for illegal check to the head) in the video above. Again, Bozak will not return to tonight’s game.

It’s unclear if Bozak will miss time beyond this contest.

Malcolm Subban hospitalized after taking puck to throat

Malcolm Subban
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Scary stuff on Saturday: multiple reporters (including the Maine Hockey Journal’s Chris Roy) note that Malcolm Subban was taken to a hospital after a puck struck his throat during warm-ups.

There’s no word yet on Subban’s condition beyond that he was taken away in an ambulance.

The AHL’s Providence Bruins seem like they’ve been left scrambling for a backup goalie in Subban’s absence.

Subban stated days ago that he’s taken some significant steps forward during the 2015-16 season.

 

Senators get Kyle Turris back on Saturday

Ottawa Senators' Kyle Turris celebrates his game-winning goal against the Montreal Canadiens during overtime of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015, in Montreal. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)
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The Ottawa Senators cannot pin all of their troubles on missing their No. 1 center, yet it probably feels like a huge relief to get him back.

After missing six games with his latest injury, Kyle Turris is in the lineup as the Senators take on the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Again, it’s not all a matter of missing Turris, but the Senators went 1-5-0 during his six-game absence. They’ve really been falling since late December, to be honest.

Will Turris be enough to stop the bleeding? Perhaps to an extent, but the Senators are in for a serious battle if they hope to fight through the East bubble.

Habs’ win was a showcase for P.K. Subban, Connor McDavid

Montreal Canadiens defensemen  P.K. Subban (76) holds off Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Montreal, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016. (Graham Hughes /The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
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Times have been tough for Montreal Canadiens and Edmonton Oilers fans lately, even if they’ve been frustrating in different ways.

Saturday’s 5-1 Habs win highlights a few things, but the most tantalizing thought for those fans is that it’s likely that we’ll see more great things from P.K. Subban and Connor McDavid … sometimes against each other.

Perhaps this will be a confidence booster for Montreal. More than anything else, it directed attention to Subban, who’s quietly been absolutely fantastic for the floundering Canadiens.

Consider how much of an offensive burden he’s currently carrying:

From one current All-Star to someone who could be a perennial one: McDavid certainly seemed to grab Subban’s attention.

Then again, when you make moves like these, who won’t notice?

The Oilers did lose, mind you, so it’s not surprising that Todd McLellan mentioned that the team can’t depend upon McDavid for everything.

That said, the funny thing about that quote is that McDavid might just carry the Oilers for two decades, at least if health and other factors go the right way.

If that’s true, Subban vs. McDavid could be a fun matchup to watch a few times per season for a long, long time.