Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Hilarity Ensues

Yesterday, Brian Burke made his second (in what promises a fortnight with many more) trade of the NHL GM working season. This time, he traded Kris (we hardly knew thee) Versteeg to Philly for draft picks. I listened to the conference call about the trade, and it was typical Burke. He’s already offered the 3rd rounder he got for a player – he seems to insinuate this player will be better than Versteeg?

He hasn’t ruled out trading the first round pick (why would he?) – someone audibly groaned on the call at the sound of that. And he has set his sights on the free agent market – also known as everyone rushes to try and sign Brad Richards lest end up with any one of the other 200 guys.

It made me think of a recent round of Balderdash – the game where you are read a word, a date or a movie title and are tasked with inventing a definition. One of the quirks of the game is that the words “hilarity ensues” generally come up at least once per sitting ¬ generally a hilarious moment itself.

“Hilarity ensues” is a common enough sign off for movie descriptions on the Balderdash cards themselves, and as a result has been adopted by canny players who attempt to imitate the true answers in form and style. A ridiculous title can be associated with almost any plot with this device. “Hilarity ensues” is a key to open endless character combinations and nonsensical premises.

Imagine for a moment a title like “The Toronto Maple Leafs” as I did after listening to Burke speaking to Toronto media. The answers really do write themselves, provided you always end with “hilarity ensues”.

Brian Burke repeatedly assures the media his team will be driving for that last playoff spot, …

The story of a scoring line built around Tyler Bozak, …

Maple Leafs make a series of trades to improve their team, …

Maple Leafs target truculent players via free agency, …

Torontonians open the 1967-68 NHL season with a Stanley Cup and full of optimism for the future, …

Toronto Maple Leafs fans breathe a sigh of relief as they see the end of their worst management regime in years. Cliff Fletcher poses with Brian Burke to pass the torch, …


Hilarity will likely ensue for a while, because there’s little funnier than a guy who truly does believe himself to be in the top cut of world genius making basic mistakes at every turn. I wouldn’t be surprised if Burke turned out for a ceremonial faceoff next week with his underwear outside his trousers.

Hilarity will ensue because the more obvious his errors become the more pig-headed he becomes about admitting to them. He really is quite entertaining.

As a Habs fan, it’s an enjoyable sideshow. Ferguson got us through some rough times and Burke is helping with the Houle healing process. Though I think we’d all like it better if Burke stayed away from anymore team building activities in Boston and Philly for a while.

The best part of Brian Burke’s interview (besides his smugness and his Toronto media stroking) for fans of hilarity (and other teams in the NHL) was his announcement that there is more to come. I, for one, can’t wait to see who Burke wrests away from the unsuspecting Detroit GM for his third rounder. Nikita Filatov or someone of his ilk, can’t be far away from Pearson International if a first rounder is being floated.

Brian Burke woke up on February 15th, assets in hand, ready to pick up the pieces he needed to get his team into the 2010-11 playoff, …

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