Brian Burke

Brian Burke wants to make the Leafs better – now


Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke went on Fan 590 with Bob McCown and Damien Cox on Wednesday and – as usual – didn’t just trot out the same old cliches. Instead, he provided a very frank state of his team (as well as some hilarious critiques of Sports Illustrated), and the general takeaway is that he’s itching to make a trade.

When the radio hosts asked Burke if he’s done making deals, Burke said this:

“My answer is no. If I can improve this team tomorrow I’ll make a deal tomorrow that improves it.”

The January guy

Burke admitted that he’s a “January guy,” as he made many of his biggest moves – including acquiring Dion Phaneuf via a big trade – well before the trade deadline rolled around.

“(General managers) make more mistakes at the deadline and on July 1 then during the rest of the year. The math doesn’t work at the deadline … I’ve never been a big deadline guy.”

OK, so we’ve established that he wants to make a deal and would prefer to do so sooner rather than later. The biggest question is, what will Burke’s biggest focus be: the present or the future?

“It depends. If I could get a kid that I really believe was going to be special, I always do that unless I thought we thought we were going to have a parade … we’re looking to add and get better now.”

What Burke wants and doesn’t want

Burke admitted that “Age group asset trades” are a possibility, which means he’d be interested in trading a 22-year-old player with another 22-year-old with a different skill set. Perhaps most interestingly, Burke would also be willing than to move a first-round pick for a guy who can help him this season (and most importantly, the playoffs).

One thing Burke won’t be looking for is a veteran goalie, though, as he provided effusive praise of Jonas Gustavsson’s surprising recent run of play.

So which trades could come true?

Looking into the latest rumors, it would seem like the Luke Schenn to Philadelphia talk might not hold much weight but that Ryan Getzlaf stuff could make some sense.

That doesn’t mean he’s moments away from pulling the trigger on that or any other deal, but Burkie’s latest interview is basically a colorful way of saying: “Go ahead and make up random trade ideas in the comments and on random message boards.”

Report: Islanders cut first-rounder Barzal from camp

Mathew Barzal
Getty Images
Leave a comment

It seems Mathew Barzal has played in his last game in a New York Islanders’ uniform for a little while.

Barzal took part in the Islanders’ preseason finale against the Washington Capitals on Sunday, but after that contest the Islanders decided to return him to WHL Seattle, per Newsday’s Arthur Staple.

He was taken with the 16th overall pick in 2015 NHL Entry Draft. That selection was well-traveled as it originally belonged to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but was involved in the David Perron trade and then moved to the Islanders as part of Edmonton’s deal to get Griffin Reinhart.

Barzal is noteworthy for his skill and speed, but he may have slipped in the draft due to a knee injury he sustained during the 2014-15 campaign.

The Islanders also reassigned Kirill Petrov, Kevin Czuczman, Scott Mayfield, and Adam Pelech to the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Torres offered in-person hearing, potentially setting up long suspension

Torres hit

What will Raffi Torres get this time?

The 33-year-old forward that has become known primarily for his controversial hits has once again put himself in the sights of the NHL’s Department of Players Safety. They confirmed that he was offered an in-person hearing following his hit on Jakub Silfverberg Saturday night. He declined the opportunity to meet with them face-to-face, but the offer itself is an important detail because it gives the league the option to suspend him for more than five games.

It certainly seems like the stage is set for a lengthy suspension. While Torres is not considered a repeat offender as his last suspension came more than 18 months ago, the NHL still retains the right to consider his history when deciding on this matter.

Among other incidents, he was once was banned from 25 games for his hit on Marian Hossa in 2012, although it was later reduced to 21 contests after an appeal. The NHL found that Torres was guilty of breaking three rules for that hit; namely interference, charging, and illegally hitting the head. The NHL is reviewing Torres’ latest incident for the same three violations.

You can see the hit below:

And here it is slowed down:

Torres got a match penalty and Silfverberg left the game. Fortunately, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said that Silfverberg could have returned, but was kept out for precautionary reasons.