Kessel found himself at the centre of a controversy of sorts last week after reportedly telling a journalist to "get away from me" when approached for comment following the Maple Leafs' 6-2 loss at Buffalo on Saturday night.
Speaking Tuesday at a sports management conference in Toronto, Burke, the former Maple Leafs president and general manager who is now the president of the Calgary Flames, reportedly questioned why the Leafs star must regularly speak to reporters.
“Why should Phil Kessel have to talk to these pukes every day?” Burke was quoted as saying by the National Post.
Burke added: “He gets paid every day to play, not to talk to the media every day.”
Burke, who sometimes clashed with reporters during his time running the Leafs, was also critical of Toronto's hockey press.
"There’s a hailstorm after every loss, and they don’t care if they get it right or not. It’s a very negative environment," the Post quoted him as saying.
Toronto Raptors GM Masai Ujiri was more diplomatic.
“For me, in Toronto, I think they do a great job,” he reportedly said. “We have to figure out a way to deal with them in the right way.”
For his part, Burke did allow that there's a tougher town in Canada.
“You’re dumb twice in Montreal, because there’s two languages, So we’re only stupid once here."Suggest a correction