Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke hit back Tuesday at former goaltending coach Francois Allaire, one day after the butterfly-style guru criticized the team upon his departure.
Allaire told Michael Traikos of The National Post on Monday that he "didn't feel like I could do my job last year." The coach's contract expired at the end of the 2011-12 season and was not renewed.
"I regret that I have to deal with this matter publicly, but I feel the need to respond. Was there interference from the staff as he said there was? Yes," Burke told Mike Ulmer, a writer for the Maple Leafs' website. "But it was done reluctantly and it was done to change elements of our goaltending that [were] sub-par."
Allaire became one of the most recognizable goaltending coaches in the sport when he helped Patrick Roy become one of the best at the position in NHL history. He also helped Jean-Sebastien Giguere win the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2003 and the Anaheim Ducks, with Burke as the team's GM, win the Stanley Cup in 2007.
The Maple Leafs hired Allaire from Anaheim before the 2009-10 season. In three seasons with Allaire, the team failed to finish above 25th in the League in goals against, including a pair of 29th-place finishes.
"The position has evolved in the last three-to-five years," Burke told Ulmer. "Nobody plays the classic stand-up [butterfly style] anymore, either. Everything advances."