This is Brian Burke about 30 years ago. He is in the uniform of the Maine Mariners of the AHL. They were a Philadelphia farm team and in his one full season in the minors Burke’s team won the championship (Calder Cup) that Don Cherry won routinely in the 1960s.
Pete Peeters was on that team, as was John Paddock and Terry Murray. They didn’t have any impact forwards, although Al Hill was their leading scorer and he played some in the NHL.
Burke has been very outspoken since Kevin Lowe’s offer sheet, saying things that stand out even in an industry (NHL) used to rants that can rival the WWE.
WHY would he do it? Is he crazy? Does he think Kevin Lowe getting hurt feelings will inspire other GMs to pursue the next crop of ANA rfa’s with less enthusiasm?
Well, he’s not crazy. Brian Burke is a smart, calculating guy. After graduating Providence College in spring 1977 (age: 21, 6-1, 195) he played one full AHL season (65gp, 3-5-8, 60pims) and the playoffs (8gp, 0-0-0, they didn’t dress him for four of the 12 games on the way to the Calder Cup) and then retired.
From that spot, summer 1978, Burke:
- Left hockey to get his law degree at Harvard
- Specialized in representing Pro players for six years as a lawyer
- Named VP and Director of Hockey Operations for Vancouver Canucks, June 2, 1987
- Joined Hartford as GM 1992-93
- Named President and General Manager of Vancouver Canucks, June 22, 1998…served into 2003-04
- Named General Manager of Anaheim 2005
And spent some time with the NHL. This is an exceptional resume. Lawyers (like any industry) come in all kinds of shapes and sizes but when Brian Burke’s name is brought up among Providence grads who rolled through town at the same time it’s fairly certain that he didn’t finish last in the race for accomplishments among the graduating class in 1977.
I think Brian Burke is ranting like Randy Poffo because there are no alternatives. He’s a smart enough guy to know that this summer’s UFA signings by his club will impact their ability to sign their own rfa’s and future ufa’s. As much as he may have planned for the Vanek and Penner offer sheets, fretting over something and having it bite you in the ass are two different things.
Hey, even smart people have a temper.