Last week, just about 10 days before the hurried start of the shortened and condensed 48-game 2013 NHL season, the richest and most valuable team in the league did a very strange thing: the Toronto Maple Leafs threw their entire organizational structure into disarray by firing loudmouth GM Brian Burke.
In fairness, Burke had been a gruff, polarizing character from day one in Toronto. Moreover, his big moves haven’t done anything to help the team win more games. He traded two first round draft picks to Boston for Phil Kessel prior to the 2009 season, and the Bruins used one of those picks to select Tyler Seguin…who helped Boston win the Stanley Cup as a rookie.
However, the timing of the firing is terrible. It could have been done at any point in the prolonged offseason, but no. The Maple Leafs do it right before the start of the season when the team ought to be gearing up for action. It’s just downright comical—unless you’re a Leafs fan, of course.
So today I thought it would be fun to take a look at the worst moments in Leafs history. And I’m not talking about tough or embarrassing losses. Every team has those. I’m talking about those types of not-quite-game-related embarrassments that only the Toronto Maples Leafs (or maybe the New York Islanders) could bring upon themselves.
And why, you ask, does any of this matter to people outside Southern Ontario? I’m not a Leafs-hater. I sympathize with their fans, who deserve better. But I find the Leafs’s ineptitude interesting because they are worth more than a billion dollars. They’re the Yankees, Cowboys, and Lakers of hockey. And they’re ridiculous. So have a look.