Burke defends Kessel, rips Toronto media ‘pukes’


Brian Burke. (Jeff McIntosh/CP)

We were due.

It had only been five months since Brian Burke’s last jab at the Toronto hockey media.

So when the Calgary Flames’ president of hockey operations pulled no punches Tuesday when asked about Maple Leafs sniper Phil Kessel’s relationship with Toronto’s sports journalists, it was vintage Burke.

“Why should Phil Kessel have to talk to these pukes every day?” Burke told National Post reporter Sean Fitzgerald, who tweeted out a series of Burke gems Tuesday. “There’s a hailstorm after every loss, and [the Toronto media] don’t care whether they get it right or not.”

SeanFitz_Gerald on Twitter

Burke, who served as general manager of the Leafs from November 2008 to January 2013, said he believes coaches should speak to the media every day but that it’s not necessary for a star player like Kessel to speak after every game. Kessel said the same thing Monday after he was criticized by some for not speaking after the team’s loss to Buffalo Saturday.

“I don’t know how well you want to know me. My answers aren’t always that great,” said Kessel, who came to the Leafs via a Burke trade. “I think you have the responsibility to talk [to the media], but I don’t think you need me every single day.”

According to the NHL’s media access policy, “All Players and Head Coaches must be available to the Media for reasonable periods before and after games as well as following all practices.” Exceptions are made for injured players getting medical treatment.

The 59-year-old Burke, who won a Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007, used Ducks defenceman Francois Beauchemin as an example of a player who could not play in Toronto because of the media.

“It’s a miracle some nights that these guys [players] don’t drill these [reporter] guys,” Burke told Fitzgerald.

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