Leafs GM Burke: “The rats will take this game over”

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A day after making the decision to put little-used pugilist Colton Orr on waivers, Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke took to the pulpit today and bemoaned the death of the hockey enforcer. Burke was not only upset about potentially ending Orr’s career — “my admiration for this kid just knows no limits,” he said — but also the current state of the NHL.

“I do wonder where our game is going,” Burke said. “I know the Greenpeace folks will be happy with this, but I wonder where we’re going when Brendan Shanahan’s got six hearings every two days.

“I wonder about the accountability in our game. I wonder where we’re going with it. That’s the only lament I have on this. The fear that if we don’t have guys looking after each other than the rats will take this game over. That’s my fear.

“I see guys that run around and start stuff and won’t back it up and it makes me sick to my stomach.”

It was in 2009 when Burke raised a few eyebrows by signing Orr to a four-year, $4 million deal — a substantial investment in a player with a slim NHL resume…that couldn’t really play hockey.

For his career, Orr has played in 378 NHL contests and registered 11 goals, nine assists, a minus-34 rating and 921 penalty minutes. He’s appeared in just five games for the Leafs this season, though part of that is due to a myriad of injuries, including a concussion that cost him half of last season.

In related news, Orr has cleared waivers and will now suit up for Toronto’s AHL affiliate, the Marlies.