Former Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke 'stunned' by firing
'Like a two-by-four upside the head to me'
Brian Burke's only regret is that the Toronto Maple Leafs didn't win more games.
The outgoing president and general manager of the Maple Leafs spoke on Saturday about how if his team had performed better on the ice he would still be employed.
"We didn't win," said Burke, who was fired by the club on Wednesday after four years in Toronto. "Obviously, your job as the GM is to bring in players that win. We didn't win.
"I can stand here and say 'oh, they didn't like my personality,' but those all become pretexts and excuses later. If you win enough games you can be as obnoxious as you want to be."
The 57-year-old was "stunned" by the timing of his release — just as the NHL resolved its lockout.
"There's sometimes when you get fired and you see the vultures circling and you understand it's coming," said Burke. "You're not sure when you're going to drop dead in the desert, but it's coming and you can see the vultures.
"This one here was like a two-by-four upside the head to me."
Burke began the media conference by thanking the current and former owners of the team, as well as his staff, players and former coach Ron Wilson for their effort during his tenure. He also wished his successor Dave Nonis, current coach Randy Carlye and captain Dion Phaneuf good luck on the season that begins on Jan. 19.
Although Burke's been relieved of his hockey operations duties, he will remain with the Leafs as a senior adviser consulting with Tom Anselmi, the president of Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment, as well as the team's Board of Governors.
He will not advise the team about on-ice issues.