Brian Burke

Burke on why the Penguins are a good team: “They won a goddamn lottery”

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If you didn’t catch Brian Burke’s press conference this morning in Toronto, the Maple Leafs’ general manager didn’t disappoint when it came to doing what he does best – delivering memorable sound bites.

Unfortunately for Leafs fans, what he hasn’t been able to deliver is a playoff team, and today he had to answer for it.

Here’s the transcript. Following are a few choice Burke quotes, with our take in brackets.

On whether the Leafs should’ve followed the “Pittsburgh model,” aka suffering through a few miserable seasons and building through the draft:

“They won a lottery. They won a goddamn lottery and got the best player in the game. Pittsburgh model, my ass. They got the best player in the lottery, Ray Shero’s an excellent GM and a friend of mine, but I love when people talk about the Pittsburgh model.”

(They talk about it because it works. Chicago used it, too.)

On his management style:

“I was born impatient and I’m going to die impatient.”

(And that’s a good thing?)

On the type of team he wants to build:

“I still believe that big physical teams win hockey games, and if you have two evenly matched teams from a skilled perspective, the bigger one’s going to win.”

(That’s what you said when you were hired. How is your team still too small?)

More on the size, toughness issue:

“I’d say the one place where Ron Wilson and I were not on the same page was that same issue, I like to dictate how the game is played, we’re not big enough to play it Randy [Carlyle’s] way and that’s not optional. We can’t play the way Randy wants to play with this group, that’s not possible.”

(So you kept a coach for over three years that didn’t like to play the way you like your teams to play?)

On what the Leafs need most:

“I think Tyler Bozak made great strides, but for us, goaltending and a number-one center would be the needs.”

(You were looking for a future number-one center and a goaltender when you were hired in 2008, and you still don’t have either? Tyler Seguin’s going to be a pretty good center.)

On the possibility of improving through free agency:

“If you look at free agency, we’ve avoided doing those wonky contracts that are cap circumventions. I choose to make change through trade, not through free agency, I can’t see a lot of impact there.”

(When you were hired, you said July 1 would be your draft day. You’ve also plain made some bad signings. Mike Komisarek. Colby Armstrong. Tim Connolly.)

On yet again missing the playoffs:

“This notion of making the playoffs… we could have made the playoffs last year, we could have made the playoffs this year, we could have traded this first round pick, gotten a thirty-year-old, somehow squeaked in. I’m not interested in making the playoffs unless it’s part of a championship. That is the goal. Not to get in in the eighth spot, get your ass kicked, and stand up here and say yeah, we were in the playoffs.”

(And when exactly will the Leafs be making the playoffs with the chance to win a championship? Because at this point, they don’t even look close.)

Stars end Capitals’ winning streak, pass Blackhawks for West lead

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For two periods, the Dallas Stars seemed to say, “Are you sure the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL?”

They chased Braden Holtby and built a 4-0 lead through those first 40 minutes, and that was enough … but barely. The Stars beat the Capitals 4-3 on Saturday, which accomplished the following:

  • Dallas ended Washington’s winning streak at five games. The Stars have now won three straight.
  • This win slides the Stars ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the highly competitive Central Division. While both teams sit at 77 standings points, Dallas holds three games in hand.
  • By passing Chicago, the Stars now lead the Western Conference as a whole.

Impressive stuff. Some might even call it a statement game, although others may hold that nail-biting ending against them (possibly arguing that the Stars’ flaws may come back to haunt them in the playoffs).

Dallas’ biggest concern likely has little to do with doubters. Instead, they must monitor the statuses of forwards Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin.

Long story short, the Stars are red-hot, yet bigger challenges likely lie ahead.

Blackhawks fall to Ducks in OT, lose Hossa to injury

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The Chicago Blackhawks are on edge on Saturday, and it’s not because of what’s currently a close game against the Anaheim Ducks.

(Not that they’re indifferent toward a match against their opponents from last year’s conference final match, mind you.)

Instead, the Blackhawks are quite concerned about the health of Marian Hossa, who needed help off of the ice following an awkward, scary-looking crash into the boards. (Hampus Lindholm delivered the hip check that sent Hossa sprawling, in case you’re wondering.)

You can see that moment in the video above, while My Regular Face’s GIF also captures that troubling moment:

It’s too early to tell if Hossa will bounce back or miss some time from this. Stay tuned for potential updates.

Update: Joel Quenneville seems optimistic about Hossa, broadly speaking:

Ryan Getzlaf scored the overtime game-winner as the Ducks won 3-2 (OT).

Understatement: Saturday was a rough night for Panthers

Nashville Predators center Colin Wilson (33) checks Florida Panthers center Jonathan Huberdeau (11) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
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If it weren’t for Mike Yeo and the Minnesota Wild, you could argue that the Florida Panthers suffered from the worst night so far.

You can see that Saturday was unpleasant merely from looking at the scoreboard: the Nashville Predators pummeled the Panthers by an unkind score of 5-0.

The pain goes beyond that … literally so.

For one thing, Quinton Howden suffered an upper-body injury and did not return. That’s no good, but if you want to feel sick to your stomach, footage of Brandon Pirri‘s likely lower-body injury (ankle maybe?) may do the trick.

(Seriously, you may be happier if you don’t look.)

The Panthers didn’t make an announcement about Pirri one way or another, so we’ll see if he somehow avoided anything significant.

Either way, it was a night this team would like to forget.

Fractured jaw from fight sidelines Chris Stewart for 4-8 weeks

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It’s unlikely that Chris Stewart will generate another 30-goal season in the NHL, but he still might be missed by the Anaheim Ducks.

The team announced that the ornery forward is expected to miss four-to-eight weeks with a fractured jaw. If that’s the recovery window, Stewart may go into the playoffs a little rusty (if he can get in any regular season games at all).

The Ducks didn’t elaborate, but the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline believes that the injury happened during a fight with Dalton Prout of the Columbus Blue Jackets. You can see that brawl in the video above.

One bright side for Anaheim: if they believe that they need to replace what Stewart brings to the table (rugged play with a dash of offense), then at least this injury happened before the the Feb. 29 trade deadline.