I posted this to LeafsHQ but I'm trying to get as wide an audience as possible. Here you go.
Dear Mr. Burke,
I am writing you in regards to the interview you did on TSN’s That’s Hockey on the second anniversary of your hiring as the GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs. During this interview, when asked about the idea that the majority of Leafs Nation are mad, you said:
"I don’t sense that at all. The fans I talk to are season ticket holders, they see the progress, they understand it’s a process and they see the progress that’s been made, the upgrades in net, the upgrades on defence. I don’t buy that for one second that I need to offer some type of statement to the angry fans. I think most of our fans get it and I think they understand what we’re trying to do."
Now I wholeheartedly agree that you don’t need to do anything to make a statement to the angry fans. Making moves just to placate a fan base is sure-fire way to make a bad decision. But this notion that fans are not angry – or that somehow the opinions of season’s ticket holders may be more valid than those of fans whose pockets are not deep enough to afford them – is at the very least erroneous, and at worst nearly delusional.
We are angry. Mr. Burke, you have only been in Toronto for two seasons with no playoffs. Us fans are staring into the face of what looks like a 6th consecutive season without seeing our team play in the post season. I don’t have to tell you that this is a franchise record – in fact, 5 seasons was. We have been hearing the 1967 chants for a long time, Mr. Burke, and there seems no hope of them ending anytime soon.
Speaking of which, is there a reason you are in a hurry? You signed a 6 year contract when you came to Toronto. You have a fan base that has already suffered through some terrible times – I’m sure you’re familiar with the quality of teams that wore the Blue and White in the 80′s – and a huge base of seasons ticket holders who aren’t going anywhere. There’s no reason to be in a rush with the Toronto Maple Leafs. As fans, we would just like to see this team win – and if it takes 5 years out of your 6 year contract do it, then so be it. But being told two years in that you’re "in a hurry"? Well that’s worrisome.
We are angry, Mr. Burke. We’re so angry, we’ve started taking our anger out on each other. People who want to believe in what you’ve been doing argue with people who think a proper, draft based rebuild was the path to take. We insult each other, we insult you, we insult the coach and we insult the players. From top to bottom, we are frustrated.
With the Christmas trade freeze quickly approaching and the landscape of the NHL salary cap making trades extremely difficult, I’m not asking for action. I’ve seen the look on your face in the press box. I know you’re working hard to make this team better. But please, when speaking with the media, you don’t have to make excuses or try to pretend that we are not angry. We are.