Today Brian Burke spoke to the Toronto media to outline a series of thank yous, discuss his time as GM of the Maple Leafs, and to makes the local mittenstringers' jobs easy for the last time before dooming them to having to write stories without the benefit of his ready made soundbites and topics. Afterwards, Sportsnet had one of their dream team of analysts Brad May share his thoughts on a press conference on which Brian Burke admitted that he was being let go because the Leafs did not win enough games under his tenure. May's response:
Brad May said that Ron Wilson was a major reason #Leafs didn't win in Burke era.— Rob Longley (@longleysunsport) January 12, 2013
Obviously there are some feelings of loyalty towards Brian Burke as the GM's first move in Toronto was to acquire Brad May from the Anaheim Ducks (his favourite store). Brad May repaid that by taking up a roster spot that could have been used to develop a player or on a better player while providing 1 goal, 1 assist, 61 PIMs, while averaging 7:44 of ice-time in 38 games. Which led me to make the following observation:
I would tell Brad May that having players like him on the roster is a big reason why the Leafs didn't win enough under Brian Burke— Pension Plan Puppets (@mlse) January 12, 2013
@mlse : re Brad May : pretty sure he has a Cup Ring. How many do you have ? Dude was a warrior on the ice and I loved him on the Nucks !!— Cory Hergott (@nine30shineshop) January 12, 2013
If you're not on Twitter then you might not know that it's impossible to criticize someone that is in the media and probably appeals to baser instincts without having one of their superfans tell you that the person in question played the game so they are automatically infallible like the Pope. I doubt they'd see the irony in the fact that the Pope is assumed to be infallible on things he wouldn't know the first thing about either. But I digress, so Colin made the point that Brad May wasn't exactly a key cog on the Cup-winning Ducks:
Burn. I mean, you could take a look at the Ducks' roster in the 2006-07 season and probably find a few more important players. It's not like he brought the vaunted "Stanley Cup Winning Experience" to a team that featured Scott "I Have Almost Literally Won Everything" Niedermayer or that he was necessarily an example of what you need to do to stay in the NHL unless you accept the implicit thought that guys like Niedermayer and Pronger don't work hard to stay in the NHL. The crazy thing is that what really bothered May - who apparently searches for his name on Twitter which is weak - was that Colin deigned to suggest May wasn't as good as his fellow NHLers:
May wouldn't be the first person to miss the point that when we criticize the skills of an NHLer it is in comparison to other NHLers and not ourselves personally. Hell, I've played with ECHLers and AHLers that are ridiculous to say nothing of the skill level of a pro. Well, Brad May had something to say about that comment:
There is definitely something to be said about someone that managed to stay in the NHL for 19 years. Beyond the benefit of being a first rounder and the number of chances that that status provides (that's one of the reasons almost a third of the league are first rounders) you have to display all of the skills that got you to that point: hard work, dedication, and all of the good things that we attribute to the plucky energy players that leave everything on the ice and play the game the right way whom everyone assumes they'd be if they had just gotten that one lucky break. Even if you are a disappointing player to have picked up at 14th overall compared to others. Although those 0.13 points per game are nothing to sneeze at I do wonder whether the fact that that figures falls to 0.12 in the playoffs means he was really giving his all. But that's not to say that Colin isn't without his own accomplishments in hockey:
There are some odd things in May's tweet though:
Did Brad May really just list his 2250 PIM as a positive in his career?— Andrew Berkshire (@AndrewBerkshire) January 12, 2013
Not that May isn't proud of them:
Although, I might be careful calling someone dumb while referring to being an 'assistant' captain
Going unnoticed here is that Brad May thinks the 'A' on his jersey stood for "Assistant Captain".— Hackett (@hawknut) January 12, 2013
@hawknut Assistant to the Alternate Captain— Andrew Cieslak (@AndrewCieslak) January 12, 2013
Obviously, I don't doubt that Brad May has many great friends. The way he went to bat for his teammates in defence of Burke saying that "we didn't win enough games" is admirable. I don't think that Burke was excluding anyone from blame for the failures of the Leafs and he explicitly said that the players never stinted on effort. The integrity comment is impossible to discuss because I don't know Brad May personally but he seems like a nice enough guy. Like I said, you don't make it in the league for this long as a grinder if everyone hates you.
Having said that, if you are looking for a veteran for your hockey players to model themselves after then I'd probably have wanted them to model themselves after someone that didn't 'put a bounty' on Steve Moore's head or picked up a 20 game suspension for slashing Steve Heinze in the head or gets suspended three playoff games (ie a billion regular season games) for a sucker punch (video below). Maybe a guy that works hard and provides value to the team beyond the nebulous concept of "protecting the stars". Funny how it's the policemen that most need to be policed.
Anyway, I guess that's a long way of saying that nobody puts SkinnyFish in the corner.