TORONTO - Former Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke addressed the media for the first time since being fired on Wednesday. Here are some quotes from Burke's press conference on Saturday:
On if rumoured issues in his personal life led to the firing:
"That was not addressed in my meeting, it was not raised as an issue. This is all media speculation. It was not presented to me as an issue. I think it's unfair speculation frankly to the people on the other side: 'Oh, this is a personal thing with somebody.' I'm not looking for a sniper behind the bush."
On why he was fired just 10 days before the season:
"I don't know how many times I have to answer this, but why don't you ask the people who made this decision why the timing was what it was? I did not get a satisfactory explanation for that and I'm not in a position to offer it."
On when he'd like to be a GM again:
"Tomorrow, if I can. I don't think I'm done from a hockey perspective. I am definitely in the job market, no question."
On what he'd do differently next time:
"I'd like to go work for a team that doesn't get sold next time. I've got a pretty poor track record on that. Vancouver and then here, someone buys the team they have the absolute right to have their guy. I've got to pick better next time."
On what it was like to work in Toronto:
"It's about what I expected. It's the Vatican, it's the biggest stage in pro hockey — maybe pro sports."
On the team's goaltending during his tenure:
"The good news is that's not my problem any more. We were exploring options to upgrade at a lot of different positions. I believe that had we not been able to upgrade (in goal), I believe in James Reimer. I've said that and I think I'll be borne out on that one. But it's someone else's problem now."
On the decision to replace him:
"They're entitled to have Dave Nonis here instead of me if that's what they want. There's no issue with that. When you own a team that's what you get — you get the right to put those people in place and you get the right to change them if they're not the people you want."
On the job he's leaving behind:
"The Toronto Maple Leafs are the crown jewel of the National Hockey League, it's that simple. And it's been an honour to have the opportunity to be the general manager here. There's no question about that."
On if he leaves with regrets:
"I don't know how I could feel a whole lot worse than I feel today."