According to reports, Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke made a top-secret trip to Sochi, Russia — site of the 2014 Winter Olympics — last Saturday.
We say top secret because nobody on the Leafs media relations staff could (or would) confirm the visit (Burke did not return a message), but apparently his flight into Sochi last Friday was diverted because of fog to Krasnodar.
Burke apparently waited most of the night at the Krasnodar airport until his flight was cancelled and then he persuaded a taxi driver to make the six-hour drive to Sochi, arriving at 5 a.m.
According to Sochi-based American businessman/blogger Bruce Talley, Burke — who is expected this fall to be named Team USA’s GM for 2014 — then toured the Olympic facilities before flying on to Sweden in front of this week’s world hockey championships.
In case you didn’t know, Krasnodar is famous for its hyperboloid tower. Whatever that is.
WHY IS WINTER STILL HERE?
If more people cared, you know there would be a hue and cry for Toronto FC to get rid of head coach Aron Winter. The Reds are 1-12-7 over his two seasons in Toronto and have dropped to 0-7-0 this season. This guy either has a Teflon suit or his long-term plan must be stunningly brilliant. So, if the Reds happen to win the Amway Canadian Championship, is all forgiven? It shouldn’t be. They’ve been in the MLS since 2007 and have never made it into the post-season. I’m not sure if anyone has ever pointed this out before, but MLSE doesn’t seem to have an impressive track record when it comes to professional sports franchises.
WHAT A GREAT HIRE!
The Quebec media seems largely thrilled over the hiring of Marc Bergevin as the Montreal Canadiens’ new GM. Interesting, because if the Canadiens’ management had hired any other guy with such limited front office experience to run the storied franchise, and he didn’t speak French, it would have been ripped from now until next Easter. But because he speaks French, it’s a fantastic hiring. Whatever. Bergevin’s first order of business was to demote interim head coach Randy Cunneyworth, a terrible person given the fact that he speaks English only.
POILE MUST SHARE THE BLAME
Nashville Predators GM David Poile is, of course, right on to suspended ne’er-do-wells Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn. What message would he be sending to his team if he let their indiscretions slide? But Poile should also share the blame for this controversy. It was his decision to bring these two clowns into the organization after whispers had already surfaced about Kostitsyn’s commitment to the team and his lifestyle while he was in Montreal. As for Radulov, all you have to do to understand this guy is punch up YouTube and watch what he did to a coach on the bench earlier this season while playing for Salivat Yulayev Ufa of the Kontinental Hockey League.
REST IN PEACE, MATT
Matt Mizerski, who passed away last week, was the technical director at Boxing Canada for years when Canada was winning medals at Olympic Games. He also developed his own personal data base on almost all amateur fighters in the world, which was impressive considering his limited resources.
UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva recently revealed that he came close to killing his trainer with a shotgun, but was talked out of it at the last minute. The message to all you kids out there from the UFC: Just say no to loaded shotguns.
WEENIE OF THE WEEK
A girl recently took a life-size cardboard photo of New York Jets QB Tim Tebow to her high school prom. How pathetic is that? Then again, my old man had to set me up with a date for my prom, though I’m happy to report that she wasn’t made out of cardboard — though I was never able to confirm that first-hand.
WHILE I'M AT IT
-- When does Jose Bautista’s slump officially become something Jays fans can worry about? June? July? Need someone to set the record straight.
-- Memo to all the Kool-Aid drinkers. Yes, thank goodness the Jays didn’t break the bank and win the bid for Yu Darvish.