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article imageOp-Ed: NHL GM Brian Burke's latest comments expose selfish side

By Marcus Hondro     Jan 3, 2014 in Sports
The Calgary Flames' GM and president Brian Burke was hardly compassionate about the players passed over for the U.S. Olympic hockey team. Rather than stay on topic he chose to pontificate and added to his reputation as a - what?
I'd venture to offer Mr. Burke's a man whose pontificating (definition: "to speak or write and give your opinion as if you knew everything, and as if only your opinion was correct") serves more to serve himself than anybody else. Which is another way of saying that, far more often, Brian Burke is all about Brian Burke.
Brian Burke: Trashed Ryan, Yandle
This time he shows that self-serving side with a public trashing of Bobby Ryan and Keith Yandle, hard-working NHL hockey players passed over for the American team at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Burke's comments coming out publicly are like throwing salted ice on the wounds of two guys who could simply take an earned vacation from the grind of the NHL, but who instead put their names out there to travel to Russia to wear their country's jersey.
This is what he said of Ryan: “He’s a passive guy. He is not intense. That word is not in his vocabulary. It’s never going to be in his vocabulary. He can’t spell intense.” And of Yandle Burke said: "If Keith Yandle goes in our top four, I think everyone we play is excited."
As is his modus operandi, Mr. Burke was being clever, he was drawing attention to himself by saying something that made him seem smart, funny, hip. But more than anything his comments were unnecessary, uncharitable and underhanded. Not being selected was surely a major disappointment and Burke's comments are not the comments of someone who felt compassion for Ryan and Yandle.
The U.S. 2014 Olympic Team Selections
Now this isn't about arguing those players should have been selected. But for the record, they should have. Both of them deserved it on work effort, talent and on how they've played this season, and in past seasons.
You want Bobby Ryan on the ice late in a game when you need a goal. Four consecutive 30 plus goal seasons in Anaheim, all spent on the second power play unit thanks to superstars Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Teemu Selanne taking up space on the number one unit. Ryan is a career plus51, sets teammates up, plays with an edge and isn't afraid to mix it up. Not intense? I saw Ryan score a big goal two weeks ago and when he celebrated you could have mistaken him for Alex Ovechkin.
And it's doubtful other clubs would get excited about Keith Yandle and the goals and points he's capable of scoring being in the American line-up. He may not be the NHLs top shut-down defenceman but he plays in all situations and against the best offensive players. His 6 goals and 27 points this season (8th in the NHL among defenceman) have helped keep his Phoenix Coyotes in the playoff hunt. He plays tough, he plays hard.
U.S. Olympic team: poor judgement
Burke is only a part of the management team for the U.S. Olympic men's hockey team and it wasn't just him who denied Ryan and Yandle, though surely those comments played a big role. Mind you that simply exhibits poor hockey judgement, which is excusable.
But being the guy who makes self-serving comments about players during meetings with the media present, and the guy who doesn't congratulate players for coming close to making the team and tell them how much their country appreciates their desire to play, but instead disses them, again with media present, being that guy isn't excusable.
So what does that make him? Just selfish? What else? A bit of a jerk maybe? There, it's been said. It makes Mr. Burke a bit of a jerk.
Or a lot of one.
Incidentally, I'm not concerned about a legal response. I don't blame Brian Burke for going after those who've published tripe about his personal life and hope he finds success in the courts. But in this case he'd have a hard time winning a libel suit. Why? Because he'd have to prove that he wasn't this: "an insensitive, selfish, ignorant, cocky person who is inconsiderate and does stupid things."
Prove he wasn't a jerk.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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