Sean Burke

I keep reading complaints about Sean Burke, and I'm confused. Why do people have such a problem with him? I read trade proposals and people are practically begging other teams to take him from us. I just dont get it. His overall record isnt the best. I'll admit that. This year was the first year since 2002-03 that he was over .500. It isn't like he just stood there and let the shots through. Yes, his glory days are over, but he was a good backup. Most nights he gave the team a chance to win (I say most, because no goalie can go an entire season without at least one bad night). Even if he and John Grahame weren't the best team, he'd step in and try to give the team a chance to win. Then again, there were the few games in which he just wasnt handling the puck well. But can you really blame him? He would sit on the bench for weeks on end. The team gave John Grahame every oppertunity to be the Number One Guy, while neglecting their backup. People say he's like a cancer in the locker room. I don't get it. People say he said somethings after the season was over, that he shouldn't have. He said was that he felt he could have been more effective if he had played more. That doesnt sound too terrible. That's just his feelings. Even if he isn't an American, he is granted First Amendment rights. He also said that all the negative attention paid to the goaltending was adding negative energy to the locker room. I dont think he played terribly (14-10-4), nor do I think that he said anything out of his place. Since when do we hate people for speaking their minds? Since when do we hate a player because they felt they could have done more? His season wasn't fantastic, but who on the Bolts had a fantastic season?

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Broken Down

That is the only way to describe Sean Burke: Broken Down. His place is behind the sportsdesk or within the coaching ranks of some NHL or AHL team, not between the pipes. If his contract is not bought out before June 31, he'll be given every opportunity to compete for the backup position in Tampa with Norrena and Holmqvist. I personally don't buy that he is a "cancer" in the locker room, nor do I think he's a terrible guy, but I do have a problem with 1: Feaster, in a pinch, giving him $1.6 million per season and 2: the contract Feaster gave him was a 2-year deal. A two year deal for a 42 year old goaltender is plain insanity. If Burke does not make the team out of camp, he will end up taking the same route as Dave Andreychuk and likely retire or demand for a trade (I don't see any team who would want him, though). The fact of the matter is that his glory days are behind him and a 9 AM tee-time at Copperhead links lies ahead of him.

Burke contract

On the surface, it looks like an insane contract, but remember that Feaster had Norrena back out of a deal last summer and there was little left available to choose from once he finally got Lecavalier and St. Louis under contract. Burke was on the verge of signing with the Penguins - to the point that some media outlets were reporting a done deal - and Feaster jumped in and did what it took to get him (overpay). Still, Feaster didn't give Holmqvist a one way deal to lose him to waivers and there's no way they want a 42 year old being the No.1. In the pre-draft trade talk Feaster said if no deal was made, they were happy with the two Europeans. Little to no mention of Burke. He's a great teammate from everything I've been told. His time has passed. He had a good career. Time to move on. Hopefully Feaster can find someone to take him as a tutor. But at this point, even relying on him for 25 games may be stretching it. And my advice to the Boltsgirl is to expect both current TB goalies to be gone. Regardless if they deserve it or not.

Bottom Line

Compared to 2003-2004 the Lightning scored 7 more goals but they allowed 68 more goals. The whole idea that the offense somehow failed Burke and Grahame and not vice versa is preposterous.

Offensive - Yes that was the power play.

Yes, they scored an extra goal...... but they gave up a bunch 60+ in he new NHL that is what was expected 'significantly more goals. The Bolts did not deliver those goals. That was due to the anemic power play 12% or whatever does not mean your core offensive players have delivered. Vinny, Marty, Feds, Modin, Brad, Craig, Kubina.... failed too often to put the puck in the net. Fancy passes are great for 1% of your goals and 60% of your turnovers. I'm not sure of the new goalie but I will say this if we have the same anemic power play it won't matter what we do at the defensive end of the ice. Just think if the Bolts had scored an extra 60+ goals what would the season have been like? We can only wonder as the boys did not show up on the power'less' play last year.

If the Lightning had scored

If the Lightning had scored an extra 60 goals it would've been a leap of 20%... far more than the 3-6% increase league wide. That's just not realistic. Was the power play bad? Of course. But was the lack of goal support what killed this team? No. John Grahame giving up soft goals on an almost nightly basis killed this team.

Soft Goals

Let's hope they are gone. The difference Pete is expectations. What was the increase for carolina?, Ottowa, Rangers and atlanta. hmmmm.

Not Expectations

The difference is what is realistic. In order to score 4 goals a game the Lightning will have to score 328 goals next season. Even to hit your reduced mark of 3.8 goals a game they'd have to score 312. There were only two teams in all of hockey who even broke the 300 goal plateau and only one, Ottawa, who broke 312 for what little good it did them as they were bounced out in the second round. I mean, if you REALLY want to follow a team like the Rangers' formula, they only scored 5 more goals than the Lightning but they were successful because they allowed 45 less goals. If you're asking me where this team needs to be REALISTICALLY next season, it's at about 267 goals (3.25 per game) with Denis cutting our goals against down to about 230 (2.80 per game). That's the realistic formula for success next season. Get about 15 more goals but allow 30 fewer. That can be done. Scoring 76 more goals? Not likely.

Gone

Just for the record, I don't expect John Grahame in a Lightning sweater at the start of training camp. The issue of Sean Burke is more complicated than that. He has a contract and I don't think we'll find a trading partner.

Buyouts and options

That's what buyouts are for. And CBSSportsline/AP said the club held an option on him. If it's the latter, the choice is easy. Either way, the chances of Burke returning are minimal at best.

Re: Buyouts and Options

Burke has a contract, not an option. Last year he signed a two year contract worth $3.2 million. Personally, I dont think a team should have the option of buying out a contract. If a team signs someone, both parties sign a contract. If there were buyout options in real life, how would a contract mean anything? You could agree to paint someone's house, and then decide halfway through that you dont want to. If a buyout option existed, then you could just pay them, and that's that. If that existed nothing would happen in the real world. I just dont think it right to agree to have a player for X number of years and then decide before the years are done that the player isnt what they wanted. I think then it should be too bad. If you sign a player to a contract you should be forced to honor it.

The buyout option isn't

The buyout option isn't exactly unfair to the player, they still get the majority of their contract paid off up front and can even go sign with another team and make more that year with the buyout and new contract than they would have on the old contract. Not exactly what you're getting at with your painter example. It's not like Burke can just walk out on the contract. If someone is doing a bad job painting your house and makes your house look awful, wouldn't you try to replace that person with someone who can paint the house better?

...

I see your point with the painter. Are players allowed to get out of a contract? They can be traded, placed on waivers or they can retire. I'm just saying that I dont think it's right.

Performance Driven Profession

If Sean Burke is bought out tomorrow he can go sign another contract with another team and potentially make even more money than if he had stayed under contract with the Lightning. Companies in the real world would fail miserably if underperforming employees got a 75% (or whatever the buyout rate is) severence package just to walk away. So no, there's nothing unfair about Sean Burke's situation.

Options

If he has a 1+1, then they'll list it as a two. I haven't found any confirmation that he has an option, so perhaps the Associated Press was wrong. There is a strict penalty with buyouts, so their discouraged. In fact, Feaster himself told me that they can no longer buy themselves out of contract mistakes anymore. But, teams will do it to make room for others. Or rid themselves of players that are no longer needed.

Penalty?

What is the penalty?

Broken down?

Why do you say that he's broken down? Just because his glory days are behind him, that doesnt mean that he's broken down. Most games he played well in. I dont think he's broken down at all. Again, he wasnt given a fair shot at the job he felt he could have done. He's not 40, he's only 39. He'll be 40 when his contract is up. Personally, in my opinion the whole Andy situation was in poor taste, and I'd hope that the team doesnt go down that route again. It looks poorly for the franchise and it doesnt make players want to sign in Tampa.

Fantastic seasons

Well, speaking of overall play and/or statistically: Paul Ranger Ryan Craig Brad Richards (career high for points) Vincent Lecavalier (career high for goals) Vaclav Prospal (career high for points) Freddy Modin (30+ goals for only 2nd time) Ruslan Fedotenko (got over the 20 goal hump, and then some) Dan Boyle (tied career high for points; career high for goals) Pavel Kubina (beat previous career assist high by 10) So what was the problem? They say you're only as good as your worst player(s). And half of the defensive group would have off-nights, the bottom lines provided little offense, the PP was bad, but mainly the goaltending was well below par for being 5th in the league in shots allowed. And this includes Burke. It's too bad he got injured right when Tortorella was handing him the No.1 job. But, that's the risk you run with a 40+ year old goalie. Also, could you be specific with the "people say" comments? Who? Where? Also x2: "But can you really blame him? He would sit on the bench for weeks on end. The team gave John Grahame every oppertunity to be the Number One Guy, while neglecting their backup." My apologies, but backups are supposed to sit on the bench for weeks on end and be expected to succeed. That's their job. And most backups are neglected.

Re: Fantastic Seasons

Being a backup wasnt what he signed on for. He wanted an actual shot at being the starter, but he wasn't ever given a fair shot at it.

He lost his shot when he

He lost his shot when he got hurt. To give the reins to a 40yo goalie takes alot of trust in that he will be healthy and dependable. Simply put, he blew it. Either way Burke wasn't going to bring us the Cup as a starter or backup. His inability to fit well into either role makes him very expendable.

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