There is this Shakespearean side to Brian Burke that may end up damaging him over time.
While clearly he is no "idiot" as the line from Macbeth indicates, but he has been "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing" in his brief time running the Maple Leafs.
There was a big buildup at the trade deadline, and then, not a whole lot of anything.
There was a big buildup to Friday's night's National Hockey League draft, and then nothing more than status quo.
Maybe it's time for a change in tactics. Maybe it's time to say a little less and do a little more. In fairness, Burke makes for terrifically entertaining theatre -- hence the Shakespeare reference -- and he's famously available. And bless him for being that in this world of spin-controlled robotic managers.
But just about anybody could have made the choice of Nazem Kadri on Friday night. Nadri is extraordinarily skilled, intense and passionate and once he grows a bit and gains some strength, he should be a terrific Leaf.
Burke was brought to Toronto to do more than the obvious. It's a very difficult job, having inherited this mess. But as any sports executive will tell you, managing a team and managing expectations are very different roles. Burke has managed the team reasonably well. He needs to manage expectations better, and for him, that may include toning down the buildup rather than leaving Leaf fans in their all-too-normal state of wanting more.
This and that
When did the NHL draft become like a dull wedding -- too long, too many speeches, too many reception lines, everybody dressed up? ... This is strange: The Blue Jays are doing great numbers on television and terrible numbers in the ball park. They are last in Major League Baseball in road attendance and 11th in the American League in home attendance ... John Ferguson Jr. drafted 26 players while running the Leafs, two from Ontario. In Burke's first draft with the Leafs, he took three Ontario kids in his first four picks ... What do Canada's Olympic assistant coaches Lindy Ruff, Ken Hitchcock and Jacques Lemaire have in common? None won a playoff game this past season ... Still don't know who the heck Colorado GM Greg Sherman is but he had a great first draft, with no-brainers Matt Duchene in the first round and heart-and-soul centre Ryan O'Reilly in the second round ... I love the fact that big names like Shaquille O'Neal and Vince Carter get traded in the NBA. I hate the fact you can acquire a Shaq by trading away nothing more than expiring contracts ... Have to wonder how happy Steve Nash is in Phoenix, where Shaq is gone, Amare Stoudemire is rumoured to be on his way out and word is circulating that the Suns owner is running out of cash.
Hear and there
It was no accident that Wayne Gretzky wasn't seated at the Phoenix Coyotes draft table Friday night. No matter where the Coyotes play next season, it's all but certain Gretzky won't be coaching the team ... A little bird whispers rather loudly that the $148-million US offer Jerry Reinsdorf has made for the Phoenix team does not include a penny of his own money. Apparently, this is what Reinsdorf does. He fronts teams, but the investment isn't always his ... Ever since Francois Allaire was named goaltending coach of the Leafs, word keeps circulating that a J-S Giguere trade to Toronto, maybe for Vesa Toskala, could be part of this summer's activities ... Atlanta Braves lefty Jeff Bennett should have been a hockey player. The other night, he had a bad sixth inning, punched a wall in the dugout, broke a bone in his hand, pushed the bone back into place and came out to pitch the seventh ... My favourite Michael Jackson played wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns ... Someone should tell new Winnipeg coach Mike Kelly that he isn't guarding state secrets around the Blue Bombers. The Canadian Football League is in the entertainment business. It doesn't need a Jack Bauer coaching in secrecy.
Scene and heard
The Chicago Blackhawks were willing to offer up Brian Campbell for Dany Heatley, but the Senators, even owing the ungrateful Heatley $4 million in bonus money, declined ... The truth on Steve Molitor: Nice kid, hard worker, run-of the-mill fighter ... They have named a high school in Miami after Alonzo Mourning. There is no truth to the rumour that one of the courses being offered is how to get paid $9 million by not fulfilling your contractual obligations ... If I'm Anthony Parker and I'm a free agent, I'm signing in Cleveland. Would you rather not start in Toronto or not start for a potential champion in Cleveland? ... Sunday essay question: Why did the Minnesota Timberwolves, with back-to-back picks in the NBA draft, take two point guards, Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn? ... Time was, Aaron Hill's numbers would be so unusual for a second baseman, just not anymore. Not when Chase Utley, Ian Kinsler, Dustin Pedroia, Orlando Hudson, Brandon Phillips, Robinson Cano all play the same position.
And another thing
Got a heated phone call a while back from Oren Koules, one of the owners of the Tampa Bay Lightning, objecting to my characterization of that screwed-up organization. He must have been correct. Why else would commissioner Gary Bettman force a sitdown with Koules and co-owner Len Barrie to find out who was in charge of this circus while GM Brian Lawton found it necessary to send an e-mail to his fellow GMs to inform one and all that he is in charge. So clearly, nothing is wrong ... Isn't this a match made in hockey heaven: Mean Chris Pronger and the Philadelphia Flyers ... Appropriately named pitcher in the game or on the disabled list: Josh Outman of the Oakland A's .... Some things were meant to be forever, like late nights on The Fan 590 listening to Stormin' Norman Rumack shmooze with the "future hall of famer" Jimmy Devellano or the NHL exec, Rick Dudley. For those of us who can't sleep, and there are many, the abruptly fired Vampire was reason to be awake ... Happy birthday to Mel Brooks (83), O.J. Atogwe (28), John Elway (49), John Cusack (43), Corey Koskie (36) and Allen Pitts (46) ... Off for a few weeks of summer vacation. Back on July 19 ... And hey, whatever became of Martin Prochazka?