Burke takes hard stand vs. trade demands, with wiggle room

Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke is a lot of things, and blunt is near the top of the list. Please recall his trade deadline diary for USA Today, which remains one of our favorite reads of the last few seasons. (Sample prose: "If you are offended by profanity, it's difficult to make a trade in the NHL. If you are going to try to rob me, at least wear a mask.")

Today, he bluntly told NHL Live on NHL Home Ice radio that the Leafs would have no interest in Dany Heatley of the Ottawa Senators because he took his trade request public. From TSN:

"When you have players come ask you for a trade, I tell the players 'don't finish that sentence,' because once you ask, I'm going to move you," Burke stated.  "If a player wants out, you're darn right I'm going to move you.  I'm not kissing anyone's ass to play in my town, so to hell with you, don't finish the sentence.  My second rule is if I hear about this, you're not going anywhere."

Naturally, some have been quick to point out that another high-profile player who made a trade request was more than welcome on Burke's Anaheim Ducks. From David Staples of Cult of Hockey:

Leafs hockey boss Brian Burke sure liked city-jumper Chris Pronger a few years ago, but he apparently doesn't like city-jumper Dany Heatley, who is asking to be traded from the Ottawa Senators.

But as Staples points out, the devil is in the details. Burke's basically saying:


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* If you ask for a trade, you're gone.
* If you leak that you've asked, you're staying.

Looking back at the Pronger situation with the Edmonton Oilers back in 2006, it was the team that leaked information that his wife didn't like Edmonton and it was Kevin Lowe who first confirmed that the trade request was made. (Staples still wonders if Pronger was Al Strachen's source about his discontent in Edmonton.)

So while Burke may seem like a complete hypocrite here, he still has some wiggle room (as if he'd ever need it). It would be interesting, however, to see this test applied if another player who came cheaper and was more in the 'Burke-ian' mold demanded a trade. He still may not smooch anyone's backside to play in his town, but one wonders if he'd bend his personal restrictions to win a Cup in Toronto.

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