It’s the two year anniversary of Brian Burke coming to the Toronto Maple Leafs and taking over as General Manager and President. Burke's arrival two years came with an unforgettable press conference in which he inspired and gave far too much optimism to Toronto Maple Leaf fans. You can watch Part One and Part Two of that press conference if you want, however there were only a handful of quotes that stuck with Leaf fans today. Parts of these quotes would be overused by television commentators and fans for months, hoping the Leafs would finally turn things around and form a new identity than that of a last place finisher who got bullied every night.
Some of the key quotes from that press conference included:
"We require, as a team, proper levels of pugnacity, testosterone, truculence and belligerence. That's how our teams play."Old Time Hockey, couldn’t wait to see a team of power forwards competing every night.
"I make no apologies for that. Our teams play a North American game. We're throwbacks. It's black-and-blue hockey. It's going to be more physical hockey here than people are used to."The Leafs are more North American, with only 5 non-North American skaters on the team. But are they more physical?
"That's how you provide a fear-free environment for your young players. That's how you develop young players where they don't have to worry about picking their teeth out of the glass or getting their faces washed."
Development? Oh right… Kadri is drawing a lot of penalties and Andrej Sekera took some good runs at him on Friday night with no response.
Based on these quotes, we’ve decided that truculence and black-and-blue hockey include hitting, blocking shots and fighting majors.
So far this year:
- The Leafs are ranked 10th in hits with 521
- The Leafs are ranked 11th in block shots with 339
- The Leafs are ranked 14th in fighting majors with 16
Last season 2009-2010:
- The Leafs finished in 16th for hits with 1777
- The Leafs finished in 7th for blocked shots with 1218
- The Leafs finished in 10th with 59 fighting majors with Colton Orr involved in 23
- The Leafs finished with 1764 hits for 13th in the league
- The Leafs finished with 1252 blocked shots for 5th in the league
- The Leafs finished with 52 fighting majors for 15th in the league
Since the lockout and Before Burke (BB), the Leafs averaged only 26 fights in those 3 seasons, with their highest total being 29. The Leafs averaged 1738 hits BB for an average league rank of 7.3, and averaged 1087 block shots for a league rank of 12.6. After Burke (AB), the Leafs have averaged 1770 hits for a rank of 14.5 in the last 2 seasons, and averaged 1235 blocked shots for a league rank average of 6.
With this said, has Burke’s truculence and belligerence promises been met?
The top 6 forwards the Leafs roll out every night get pushed around and none of them fight back and stand up for themselves. Most of them don’t even hit. Nikolai Kulemin is the only one out of the top 6 that finishes his checks. It makes the Leafs a very easy team to play against. If the Leafs are going to get shutout out most nights, it would be nice for them to show some emotion and finishes their checks and drop the gloves once in awhile.
It is only fitting that
Here is a much better recap of Burkes past two years: