Another year, another ESPN team rankings list that riles up Brian Burke.
The Toronto Maple Leafs general manager defended his franchise on Monday at the team’s annual charity golf tournament, as he responded with outrage to a question about ESPN placing his team 122nd out of 122 professional sports franchises in its Ultimate Team Rankings last week.
A non-playoff team since 2004, the Leafs haven’t placed higher than 120th in the rankings since 2007.
“I don’t think ESPN knows a single thing about hockey,” Burke said. “I think their hockey coverage stinks. I don’t think they know anything about Canada. I don’t think they know anything about hockey.”
According to ESPN, its rankings are based on feedback from fans in eight major categories: bang for the buck, fan relations, ownership, affordability, stadium experience, players, coaching and title track.
The Leafs best ranking was 104th for stadium experience, followed by 111th for coaching and 112th for ownership. They were among the bottom four in every other category.
The other four organizations occupying the bottom five of the list were the Washington Wizards, New York Islanders, Charlotte Bobcats and Sacramento Kings.
Curiously, the top ranked NHL franchise was the formerly bankrupt and currently owner-less Phoenix Coyotes, who scored highly in every category save for ownership (100th) and title track (68th).