As the former coach of the Boston Bruins, Coach’s Corner commentator Don Cherry understands more than most people of the consequences when an NHL team doesn’t produce on the ice.
That’s why the charismatic Hockey Night in Canada broadcaster is sympathetic to the Toronto Maple Leafs and former president and general manager Brian Burke, who was fired on Wednesday.
Burke was relieved of his duties with the Leafs after three-plus seasons and a 128-135-42 record. Last season the Leafs finished 13th in the Eastern Conference.
Toronto has missed the playoffs every season since Burke joined the organization in November 2008.
"Nobody likes to see anybody fired, but in sports you have to deliver and when you don't make the playoffs four years in a row you kind of expect something to happen," Cherry tweeted. "Leafs management did what they had to do and I am sure Brian will suck it up and move on."
Cherry, who has had his share of run-ins with Burke in the past, has experienced the same fate on more than one occasion.
"Hockey is a tough sport and you have to be tough to be in it," he wrote. "You take the bitter with the sweet. I remember my first coaching job in Rochester, the GM said to the reporter, ‘Hey they are hired to be fired,’ and I was.
"I was also fired for losing the seventh game in overtime to the Stanley Cup champion Montreal Canadiens. There is no disgrace in being fired in sports. It has happened to all of us. You suck it up and you move on."
Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment president Tom Anselmi also announced on Wednesday that Dave Nonis will take over as the team’s new general manager.