BrianBurkeAfter yet another disappointing season in Toronto, extending the their current playoff drought to a now league-leading seven seasons, Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke met with the media on Tuesday and discussed a number of topics. Why the team fell short. What needs to be done in the offseason. Goaltending.

Nothing really out of the ordinary.

One question that seemed to have him fuming was when he was asked about following "the Pittsburgh model," where a team has to struggle through a few brutal seasons and ends up rebuilding with a series of top draft picks. For the Penguins, this included a stretch of top-five picks that allowed them to select Ryan Whitney, Marc-Andre Fleury, Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal and, yes, Sidney Crosby, which came after the Penguins won a league-wide lottery that saw Pittsburgh get the first overall pick, just one pick ahead of the Anaheim Ducks, who were at that time run by ... Brian Burke.

The Penguins picked Crosby. The Ducks ended up with Bobby Ryan.

"They got a lottery," said Burke. "They won a god damn lottery and they got the best player in the game. Is that available to me? Should we do that? Should we ask the League to have a lottery this year, and maybe we pick first? The Pittsburgh model? My ass."

"They got the best player in the game in a lottery. Ray Shero's done a good job. He's an excellent GM and he's a friend of mine. But I love when people talk about the Pittsburgh model. The simple fact is that they got the best player … we came in second that year in Anaheim. We got Bobby Ryan. Impact player, good player. They got Sidney Crosby in the lottery."

While Pittsburgh's core was made up entirely of the aforementioned players, there were also a number of other significant moves and players that came away along that weren't the result of top-five picks. And, of course, while there isn't a Sidney Crosby in this year's draft, it is worth pointing out that the NHL is, in fact, holding its annual draft lottery on Tuesday night and, yes, Toronto does have a chance (an eight percent chance) to pick first and maybe, possibly, come away with Nail Yakupov, a rather highly regarded prospect.

Burke also talked about the frustration that comes with the lack of progress made by the team this season, but he still believes the right pieces are in place for a championship caliber team at some point.

“I’m trying to build a championship team here,” he said said. “And that’s very hard to see here today, but the building blocks, the keys that you need, are there. The Phil Kessels, the Joffrey Lupuls, the Jake Gardiners, the Dion Phaneufs, the second line -- all those things have been put in place. And that’s what can’t be overlooked as you analyze and dissect a season. Even a season that’s marked by failure. I think we’re going in the right direction.”

Photo: Getty Images

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