'Sombre day' for Burke

ROB LONGLEY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 6:09 PM ET

Brian Burke is in a lousy mood today and it has nothing to do with the weather or any April Fool’s joke.

Instead, the Maple Leafs president and general manager was sour at the team’s failure now that it is official there will be no playoffs here for a fourth consecutive spring.

“Today is a sombre day, we were eliminated from the playoffs last night,” Burke said following his team’s morning skate in advance of tonight’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers.

“This is a day that represents failure. I’m not happy. My teams have been in the playoffs for seven straight years and (missing), it burns my butt.

“Any day that you have to stand in front of the media and talk about not qualifying for the playoffs should be a kick right in the groin to everyone in the organization.

“I take it personally and professionally.”

The Leafs were officially eliminated from playoff consideration on Tuesday night when the Montreal Canadiens defeated Chicago, 4-1. That left Toronto 13 points behind their rivals with just six games remaining beginning with tonight’s game here against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Burke had high praise for the newest Leafs signee, Christian Hanson, who participated in the morning skate but will not make his Leafs debut until Friday night in Philly.

But the team’s president and general manager promised more changes in the off-season and said that the team is committed to making the post season next year.

“We’re going to be in the playoffs next year, it’s that simple,” Burke said. “That’s the yardstick, the first measure of success in our league. The first step, if you want to be considered a team to be reckoned with at all in our league is to make the playoffs.”

Burke added that he believed the team was capable of qualifying for the post season this year if it weren’t for injuries and shoddy goaltending.

“If we hadn’t had devastating injuries on defence and we had more consistent goaltending, I think we would have been a playoff team. I think we played better than our record showed. I think we deserved better than we got.”


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