In a shocking move the Toronto Maple Leafs have fired GM Brian Burke, this according to Bob McKenzie at TSN.
After missing the playoffs in all four years of his tenure, some might call this normal procedure, however the fact remains that it is 8 months after the last season ended and Burke was given a vote of confidence by ownership and the board at MLSE. This new move is a shocking development, and really surprising considering we are just days away from a new season starting.
This is a guy who the team who the team allowed to hire a new coach late last season. Run free agency and trades during the deadline and the summer months, and basically have the team prepared to start hockey once the lockout was over. Then fired him days before training camp is set to open. The timing of all of this just doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Why not bring in your new GM late last season, or early this year? Why wait 8 months from the end of last year? Why now on the eve of training camp when not many moves could be made? Why allow Burke to exercise the 5th overall pick in the draft? None of it makes any sense.
We are still awaiting word as to who the new GM will be. Will it be an interim position? Do Dave Nonis and Randy Carlyle and the rest of the Leafs staff survive? What becomes of Burkie’s Hot Dogs?
UPDATE: Dave Nonis is the new GM of the Leafs, it is unclear if this is an interim, or permanent position. Fans will recall the Nonis replaced a fired Burke in Vancouver, and soon made a 6 player trade that featured Todd Bertuzzi and others going to Florida for a package including Roberto Luongo.
Further Update: Brian Burke will be staying with the Leafs as a Senior Advisor.
Perhaps MLSE’s new owners (Rogers and Bell) forced this move? Or Larry Tanenbaum taking over from Richard Peddie? Or Ownership nixed a Roberto Luongo trade? Or someone finally realized how much the Leafs gave up to get Phil Kessel, or to sign Mike Komisarek in Free Agency? Perhaps they realized that Tyler Bozak is going on his third season as the Leafs number 1 centre? or that James Reimer is still the Leafs #1 goalie? Maybe Dion Phaneuf turning the volume to 11 isn’t good leadership? What prompted this move and where the Leafs go from here will be the source of weeks and months of speculation.
It should of course be noted that the Leafs record under Burke after taking over on Nov. 29, 2008 was 117-126-38. And the only winning season was in 2010-11 with a record of 37-34-11. His 2011-12 edition of the Leafs was worse than the 2010-11 edition.
Or Maybe MLSE finally saw this video.
As a Habs fan, I can only hope that the Leafs will hire someone who is a bigger loudmouth as their next GM? Perhaps Pierre McGuire; or I guess we can go back to John Ferguson Jr.
The cancelling of Winter Classic and HBO 24/7 sucks now. I would have loved to see all the Behind the Scenes Burke stuff.
Stay tuned to LWOS as I’ll update when I know more.
Main Photo credit: Tsar Kasim via photopin cc
Thanks to Tsar, I had to look long and hard for a shot with Burke having his tie done up. They aren’t easy to find. Maybe what I will miss most about Burkie is seeing shots of him in the press box disheveled, exasperated, sweaty, and with his tie undone. Those are my favorite Burke moments.
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