At first glance, Toronto GM Brian Burke’s decision to allow a young player (defenseman Staffan Kronwall) to move on via the waiver route for nothing in return was puzzling to some Maple Leafs fans.
It really shouldn’t be; Burke made similar transactions while he was in charge of the Anaheim Ducks, allowing goalies Michael Leighton and Ilya Bryzgalov to depart (to Nashville and Phoenix, respectively) for a better opportunity.
As he told XM Home Ice’s Mike Ross and myself on last Friday’s edition of The Hockey News Radio Show, Burke willingly accepts the smaller, short-term hit of losing an asset, because he knows that, in the long run, the Leafs’ reputation – as an organization that gives players an honest shot at the NHL, either with it or another team – will only improve Toronto’s ability to attract free agents.
“I believe that fairness is an attribute you should strive for,” Burke said. “We want to be known as an organization that treats our players fairly. We’re not going to ask players to waive no-trade clauses and our Christmas break is longer than most teams because we don’t think players should get traded at Christmastime.
“We want players to know that they’ll be treated fairly here.”
• His Boston Bruins are one of the best on-ice stories of the season, but somehow, team owner Jeremy Jacobs continues to retain his undisputed title of the NHL’s Biggest Grinch.
Jacobs’ name popped up in a Buffalo News story regarding the Sabres’ difficulties selling high-end tickets for so-called “premium” games.
“(Boston owner] Jeremy Jacobs was putting pressure on us saying our prices weren’t high enough,” Sabres co-owner Larry Quinn said.
Charming, eh? I sure am glad he and commissioner Gary Bettman were on the fans’ side during the lockout.
And just think – Jacobs is from Buffalo! I’d hate to see the advice Mr. Chairman of The Board Of Governors offers franchises situated in areas he doesn’t have an emotional attachment to.
• Presented without comment, as the story itself says it all: this Maclean’s piece about the late Don Sanderson’s father and his intriguing opinions on fighting in hockey.
Adam Proteau, co-author of the book The Top 60 Since 1967, is writer and columnist for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Mondays, his Ask Adam feature appears Fridays and his column, Screen Shots, appears Thursdays.
For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.