Hail Burke! We who are about to lose salute you!
Last I wrote of Brian Burke and his whinging over lousy press notices arising from the dismal performance of the Maple Leafs, I triggered an avalanche of comments from strangers to EB who took a dump on our carpet and then were not seen again.
At the risk of having to clean up after such folks again, I would like the EB record to show that it has taken notice of the hapless Leafs being declared the worst team in the entire NHL in each of the eight categories by which ESPN The Magazine rated the 30 franchises.
And that Burke, Leafs president and general manager since November 2008, rather than reflecting at length on ESPN's assessment that Toronto is the worst city for pro sports on the continent, instead did his predictable knee-jerk thing, dismissing the ESPN findings as "absurd and offensive."
"I don't think ESPN knows squat about Canada. I don't think they know squat about hockey."
It might well be that ESPN knows squat about Canada or hockey (or lawn bowling). It doesn't need to know. Its assessment was based on stats.
* The Maple Leafs have failed to make the playoffs in Burke's three seasons as the franchise's president and general manager.
* Burke's win-loss record with the Leafs is 101-107.
* In two of their past three seasons, the Leafs have finished at the bottom of their division. They redeemed themselves somewhat in 2010-11, finishing fourth out of five in their Northeast division.
* In points, the Leafs ranked 24th of 30 franchises in Burke's first season, 29th in his second, and 22nd last year.
Given the superior performance of the Blue Jays (ranked 18th among 30 teams), Toronto would not be ESPN's worst pro-sports town in North America if the Leafs didn't exist. Considering the shoddy record of the Raptors, Toronto might have finished somewhere in the middle of the pack if Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment did not exist.
Fortunately, MLSE's victory-challenged Toronto FC property was not included in ESPN's assessment, or Toronto might have ranked as worst pro-sports town in the Western Hemisphere.