This morning in the Eastern Conference Morning Papers, Damien Cox of the Toronto Star had an interesting piece about Leafs scout Mike Palmateer and his suggestion that the Leafs should pursue Jonas Gustavsson last off-season:
That, however, hasn’t prevented the former Maple Leaf goaltending star from doing some effective legwork for the club as a scout. In particular, according to GM Brian Burke it is Palmateer who deserves most of the credit for turning the Leafs on to Jonas (The Monster) Gustavsson last winter and starting a courtship that ultimately resulted in Gustavsson signing with the Leafs as a free agent in July.
“It’s nice for (Burke) to want to share the credit,” said Palmateer, who played eight NHL seasons before injuries forced him to retire in 1984 at the age of 30.
Brian Burke has received lots of criticism for how his Leafs team has played so far this season and maybe rightfully so. However, Burke has never been one to steer credit away from the people in his organization that deserve it. Remember when he dealt Sergei Fedorov to Columbus and received Francois Beauchemin back in return? He always said Bob Murray, the current Ducks GM, was the reason behind that move. It was Murray that suggested the inclusion of Beauchemin and Burke didn’t hog the credit for that move.
It is the same situation this time around; Burke listened to Palmateer, but also deserves credit for working his rear end off to get Gustavsson to Toronto. The fact that he is so willing to give credit to his scout demonstrates why players and front office people enjoy working for him. I don’t think the importance of this type of attitude can be understated.
Burke may be having a tough time with his team’s current record, but people and players in the organization have respect for their boss and that will most definitely help in the long run.