Brian Burke may not have been able to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs to the playoffs, but his experience as that team’s general manager hasn’t changed his hockey philosophy.
If a team wants to win the Stanley Cup, Burke believes it needs to be big. And yes, he even used the word “truculent,” much to delight of everyone watching his press conference today in Calgary following the firing of Flames general manager Jay Feaster and assistant GM John Weisbrod.
For the time being, Burke will play the role of acting Flames GM, in addition to his duties as president of hockey operations. But it’s clear that the next full-time GM — whoever that may be; the search has already begun — will need to have a big-is-better attitude.
Because, according to Burke, the Flames of the present aren’t “big enough” and they’re not “hostile enough.” And while he believes there’s “plenty of room for small players” in today’s NHL, you’d better “put some beef around them.”
“We want black and blue hockey,” he said.
As for his decision to fire Feaster, Burke wouldn’t get into specifics — “I’m not shoveling dirt on people” — but he did suggest the Flames haven’t received “full value” from some of the trades and draft picks they’ve made in recent seasons.
“This is all about having a parade,” said Burke, who was quick to concede that winning a championship may seem like a “distant” goal at this point.
As for head coach Bob Hartley and the rest of the coaching staff, that won’t be changing anytime. Burke said he’s “very happy” with the people behind the Flames’ bench, and he lauded the players for their willingness to work hard.