While Brian Burke’s time with the Toronto Maple Leafs was a disappointment overall — as he failed to lead the club to the post-season in four-plus years as president and general manager — he still remains proud of what he accomplished in Leafland.
The Luke Schenn for James van Riemsdyk trade and Jake Gardiner acquisition are highlights that come to mind, but chief among them for the front-office veteran turned Sportsnet broadcaster is the drafting of two players — one of whom was dealt last off-season — who would go on to become mainstays in blue and white long after his time in Toronto came to an end.
Burke offered up his “most rewarding moments” with the Leafs, Hart Trophy pick, all-time tough-guys lineup, favourite non-hockey athlete and more in a Twitter Q&A session Friday night.
Here’s a look at the best of #AskBurkie:
Forget Nathan MacKinnon, David Pastrnak or Artemi Panarin, there’s no disputing this year’s MVP in Burke’s eyes.
Burke stands behind Akim Aliu wholeheartedly.
Dion Phaneuf was the best candidate for captaincy in Toronto.
The combination of Markus Naslund, Brendan Morrison and Todd Bertuzzi in Vancouver was the most potent line he had his disposal in the NHL.
Matt Stajan’s series-clinching goal in Game 6 against the Vancouver Canucks of the opening round of the 2015 playoffs was his proudest on-ice moment in Calgary, while attending the city’s Pride parade was his proudest off of it.
Brian Burke is a fan of LeBron James.
And appreciates that Arizona Coyotes GM John Chayka and Leafs GM Kyle Dubas are trying new things.
He’s also impressed by the job Tom Fitzgerald has done as interim GM of the New Jersey Devils.
And the GM who once offered to rent a barn to fight his former counterpart, Kevin Lowe, picked his all-time, tough-guy team.