So the Leafs haven’t started the season so hot. In fact, they can’t really be any colder than they have been. Every part of the team is having troubles, and word on the street is that this is the worst team in the league, which means that the Leafs might have sent Boston a first overall draft pick in exchange for Phil Kessel. There’s been a lot of talk about some of Burkie’s deals, and the fact that he is so obviously building a team full of fighters and tough guys. But surely there’s a method to his madness: his teams in the past have always had tough guys protecting his skilled players and allowing them to do their job. Nobody was going to run Teemu Selanne because they knew Chris Pronger or Brad May or someone would be on top of him in a second. This gave Selanne a little extra space, which he used to his advantage. That’s the strategy that Burke is using in Toronto as well – get a bunch of tough guys to protect the skilled players. Of course the problem is that there are no skilled players to protect. That’s why Colton Orr is only averaging 7 minutes a game – he’s got nothing to do, so he’s always hanging around Phil Kessel’s house.
But if you are planning on purchasing a fifty-karat diamond, wouldn’t you get the state-of-the-art security system installed first? You’re not going to buy the diamond and then leave it on the kitchen table until the security system gets installed a week from Tuesday. You make sure that the security system is in place and working flawlessly before you go pick up the diamond. So when Phil Kessel returns and Burkie trades Lee Stempniak, Jason Blake, and a third round pick to Washington for Alex Ovechkin, he’s already got the protection in place.
Of course, that trade isn’t going to be quite that easy. Might have to bump the draft pick to a second-rounder.
Please note that this article might be one of the only ones written this season about the Leafs and Brian Burke that didn’t use the word truculence once. Go me.