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Virk: Tragic Loss For Leafs GM

by Adnan Virk / Toronto Maple Leafs
Count me among the many who were horrified to hear about the tragic passing of Brendan Burke.

For those that don't know the president and general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Brian Burke, you may picture a gruff, no-nonsense tough guy who doesn't suffer fools lightly. But Burke is also a caring, conscientous and exceedingly kind individual. Whenever I see him in the hall he always stops to say hi to both media and fans alike. Affable and blessed with a sharp sense of humour, he knows how to put people at ease who are intimidated to talk to him.

Just the other day I asked him if it was true that he had read 400-500 books about the Civil War, and he said, "No. More." He told me the definitive 3-part volume about the Civil War from the late author Shelby Foote was mandatory reading and whenever I get around to read the 3,000 word opus, I'm sure I'll agree. (Brian is a descendant of Patrick Burke who fought in the Union Army).

It was refreshing to see such positivity emanating from Brian when he joined us on the set of Gate 5 Live last week (20 minutes early no less, without an entourage).

My thoughts and prayers are with he and his family after this devastating loss. I'm encouraged to see the entire team will be at Brendan's funeral on Tuesday to pay respects to a life snuffed out far too early.
In a revealing interview with Chris Bosh that airs this Thursday in our special Raptors at the half, I asked Chris about the Sports Illustrated article a few years ago which depicted him as a real techno-geek. Chris pointed out that sometimes writers need to look for angles and something different from the obvious that he's an excellent basketball player. Thus, the geek label. But in Bosh's words, "I like technology. That's it." Along those lines, when I asked him what he thought of Avatar, he nodded in appreciation and said, "that was real cool." Although when I asked him if he's taken to communicating in the na'vi language, he laughed and pointed out, "now that's a geek." So he won't be painting himself blue anytime soon.

CB4 also thought Canadian director Jason Reitman's Up in the Air was terrific particularly the surprise ending (SPOILER ALERT!) which he swears despite my cynicism, that he predicted coming. As he told me, "there was still some time left and I thought wouldn't it be crazy if she was married? Then, Bam." Only makes sense that Chris would be appreciative of a leading man like George Clooney, since he's fit the bill so splendidly for the Raptors this season taking his game to another level. I'll be hounding him along with other Toronto media in Dallas next weekend where he's sure to bask in the adulation that he deserves after another excellent first half.
- David Letterman and Jay Leno together with Oprah in a Super Bowl ad. Awesome. I'm only sorry for Dave that his cherished Colts didn't come through but seeing him with his long-time rival was hilarious and inspired. And I'm only sorry I didn't see it live while being assaulted with CTV Olympic promos.
- Finally saw the Blind Side so I could say I've seen all the nominees for Best Picture this season and wow, did the Academy ever reach on this one. Although not as horrific as I thought, it's a treacly, saccharine, overly sentimental goofest that trivializes the very true and inspiring story of current Ravens tackle Michael Oher. Sandra Bullock gives a solid performance but a Golden Globe nomination would be sufficient, certainly not her current status as the front-runner for the Best Actress Oscar! It's instantly forgettable with all the cliches we've come to expect and be irritated by in sports flicks.
- Going to see Mariah Carey at the ACC Tuesday night (perfect timing for Valentine's Day.) Hope it's a Vision of Love and not just a Fantasy.
- Hats off to Drew Brees for that gaudy 32 of 39, 288 yard, 2 td, 0 INT performance. He's been the king of New Orleans and somehow kept a straight face during Katie Couric's laughable question, "have you saved New Orleans or has New Orleans saved you?" Mardi Gras will be bananas this year!
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