Last week, ESPN The Magazine — and please don't confuse it with ESPN The Breakfast Cereal or ESPN The Floor Wax — published its "ultimate standings," which ranked teams in the NBA, MLB, NHL and NFL from one to 122.
Coming in at No. 122, a.k.a. dead-ass last: The Toronto Maple Leafs, reaching the basement level that had been predestined by their finishing no better than 120th since 2008.
The Toronto Maple Leafs. The worst franchise in professional sports.
Say, you think Brian Burke might have something to say about this recent evaluation of his franchise and its virtue?
The Leafs GM met with reporters at a charity golf tournament on Monday, and Sean Fitz-Gerald of the National Post had his delightful retort to the WWL and its ultimate standings:
"I don't think ESPN knows a single thing about hockey.* I think their hockey coverage stinks. I don't think they know anything about Canada.** I don't think they know anything about hockey."
Is it too late to set up a College Bowl quiz show with Pierre LeBrun, Scott Burnside and Craig Custance on one side and Burke, Dave Nonis and Rick Dudley on the other to definitely test hockey knowledge?
This isn't the first time Burke has trashed ESPN, mind you.
In 2010, when we still had folks around the NHL pining for a return to the WWL rather than having the League's U.S. cable games on VERSUS, Burke told AOL FanHouse:
"ESPN dumped us," Burke said. "Everybody talks about getting back on ESPN, but I think Versus has been a great broadcast partner. I think their production is excellent and their distribution has increased."
… "I felt when we were on ESPN that they buried us on the SportsCenter package anyhow," Burke said. "We were on right after drag racing and other things."
So yeah, not exactly a history of admiration between Brian Burke and ESPN to begin with, let alone after its magazine named his team a model of futility.
Hopefully this doesn't garner a response from ESPN, sparing us from the forced banter between Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless about it or the forced banter between Mike and Mike about it or the forced banter ...
* Buccigross excluded. C'mon, that's inferred.
** For the record, ESPN probably doesn't know much about Canada. ESPN Classic, however, must, given its collection of lumberjack competitions, AWA Wrestling and occasional punditry debates about Wayne Gretzky's unbreakable records vis-a-vie those of Michael Jordan.