If you watched Hockey Night in Canada Saturday, you likely have already forgot the score, and really, the hockey itself was unmemorable. One moment however stuck out for fans. It came during the first intermission on Coach’s Corner, when Don Cherry, make that “The Untouchable Don Cherry,” stepped up to the mic and called on Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke.
Cherry took on the lack of Canadian and Ontario content on the Maple Leafs, Cherry took on co-host Ron MacLean, then he took on Brian Burke. Unlike Cherry, Burke isn’t untouchable, rather his actions of late are almost unthinkable.
Don Cherry to Burke,
“If he wants my job, if he wants to get me fired like he tried to do, get me fired, go behind my back with my bosses….I don’t care. If you want to get me off, you want to take me on, two years ago you said you were going to do something to me in the playoffs, remember that? And I said, oh Brian Burke, I’m shaking in my boots, I’m shaking right now, do your best!”
Love him or hate him, he’s entertaining, he’s often right, he cares about kids and families, and in the world of sports broadcasting and hockey, Don Cherry is untouchable.
So who’s going to lose their job? Well, with another losing season under his belt, I would think Brian Burke has a higher chance of losing his job than old Don. Don Cherry’s contract has expired several times and public outcry has assured he returns to Hockey Night in Canada.
His popularity and recognizability in Canada is unparalleled. He is the Godfather of hockey to many, and what he says, goes. Burke on the other hand, has been harsh with the media lately putting him in hot water, and has failed to produce any type of success in Toronto.
The firing of his buddy Ron Wilson, and subsequent hiring of another old pal Randy Carlyle simply shows Burke’s unwillingness to change. He doesn’t like getting called out by the media, and when he is portrayed negatively, as he has been lately, including by Don Cherry, Burke doesn’t handle it well, shedding additional negative light on his career.
If I were a Leafs fan, I’d be getting behind Don right now, and calling out Brian Burke. Burke is behind the times in the NHL, still looking for brute force, rather than skill. He’s trying to win with a losing team in the now, instead of building his team for the future.
If the Leafs miss the playoffs, this will be their 7th straight season, 8th if you count the lockout. Under Burke the Leafs have averaged 80-points per season. Under John Ferguson Jr. who was fired prior to Burke’s arrival, the Leafs averaged 91.75 points per season. Remember how much you hated Ferguson Leafs fans?
It’s time to get that hate back, and point the finger at the real reason your team is failing.
Scotty Bowman couldn’t coach these Leafs to success, because even a great coach can only do so much with terrible players. I’m not suggesting Ron Wilson is in the same category as Bowman, but statistically he is the 7th winningest coach of all-time, although his winning percentage is the pits, and funny enough, falls well below the winning percentage of Don Cherry himself.
The “Fire Wilson” cheers worked Leafs fans, so clear your throat, take a deep breath, and start the “Fire Burke” cheer. If you can make sure Don Cherry is in the building, you can guarantee you’ll have one loud voice leading the charge.
In case you missed Don Cherry’s rant to Brian Burke, here is the video from Saturday night:
Let the games begin.