Leafs GM blasts Heatley but did not hold Pronger to the same standard
Posted: June 18, 2009, 4:45 PM by Jeremy Sandler
Hockey, NHL, Brian Burke
Brian Burke wants nothing to do with players who demand trades. Unless that player is really, really going to help his team.
On Wednesday, the Toronto Maple Leafs general manager was a guest on XM Radio's NHL Live program and, like other GMs around the league, slammed Ottawa Senators forward Dany Heatley's public demand for a trade.
"He's a good player but I have certain guidelines on how players ask for trades," Burke said. "For a player to pop off and say he wants out or leak it [to the media], in my mind you are now no longer interested in your team. If you've done that, you've handicapped them, you've handcuffed your GM."
Burke said Heatley's agent J.P. Barry might be to blame, but either way, he would on principle not trade for the former 50-goal man.
Burke, though, did not feel the same way in 2006 when the Edmonton Oilers were handcuffed into making a deal to dispose of defenceman Chris Pronger.
Pronger's ultimatum was apparently made quietly and directly to GM Kevin Lowe, but it is believed that Pronger’s agent, Pat Morris, circulated Pronger's desires to the rest of the NHL's general managers at league meetings in Vancouver that summer. It became public quickly after that, leaving Lowe swinging when it came to making the best deal.
Lowe shipped Pronger to Burke and the Anaheim Ducks for forward Joffrey Lupul, defenceman Ladislav Smíd, two first-round picks and a second-rounder.
"Players of this calibre don't become available very often, especially when they are still in the prime of their career," Burke said at the time. "He provides offence, he's excellent defensively, he's had a leadership role on every team he's played on. He's the whole package and he's got character."