Well ho-ly smokes. It’s official, from Bob McKenzie:

When Brian Burke took the reins from Cliff Fletcher and John Ferguson Jr, the Leafs were in shambles. But Burke had a proven track record, haven built the Anaheim Ducks into Stanley Cup champions, and was hailed as somewhat of a savior for the Leafs. He liked bigger teams, wanted top-end talent, and wanted the Maple Leafs to be as good as they were famous.

As some have claimed with Obama’s first term, however, it takes some time to right a whole bunch of wrongs. He made some great trades, picking up Dion Phaneuf for a handful of spare parts. He turned some (high) draft picks into Phil Kessel, maybe not the best big picture idea, but at least he got a proven scorer. He turned what appears to be a disappointing Luke Schenn into James Van Riemsdyk. He got Joffrey Lupul (and Jake Gardiner) for a fair shake.

…But on the other side, he’s made some r-u-f RUF free agent signings, from Mike Komisarek to Colby Armstrong to Tim Connolly and beyond.

Needless to say, the ship hasn’t been righted since he’s taken over, finishing 24th, 29th, 22nd, and 26th, and the Leafs’ brass has had enough.

The timing, from where I sit, is flat odd. The season starts in a hot three days, and the puck drops on the year a mere 10 from now. It’s pretty clear that Assistant GM Dave Nonis will be taking over in the interim (though note that that’s entirely speculation for now), and who knows, possibly long-term. I’m a fan of Burke. This whole thing is bumming me out a bit.

I just don’t think they gave him enough time for this to play out. The fact that it seems out of the blue makes you wonder: did something happen behind the scenes, a moment, a blow-up, an argument? Were the brass pissed that the new CBA bailed out the GMs who took wild chances, while Burke refused to take those shots?

Guess what? I literally have no idea.

What we do know, for now, is that with Brian Burke out of work, we have the perfect destination idea for him here at theScore. Don Cherry’s seat. Get that man on there. I’d love to hear him speak freely.

***

UPDATES:

Comments (61)

  1. This makes no fucking sense. Why would they have him draft and work the free agency period and then fire him.

    • Because it is MLSE, God I hate being a Leafs Fan….Go Leafs Go! =(

    • Because Rogers/Bell took over AFTER the draft and had no control at that time. This has to come down, IMHO to the Luongo negotiations and differing opinions between him and the new owners. Whether you like Burke or not, owners that try to micromanage are bad. We’ll see.

  2. Wait, what? What?

  3. Im Shocked!!!! & not shocked at the same time!!! my guess is new ownership was pushing for a Luongo deal & Burke said NO he wont do a deal for that type of contract, then was fired…soon well know but id be shocked if it was for any other reason at this point

  4. So Brian Burke spends the last five years refusing to play by the rules of the previous CBA, finally succeeds in getting everyone to play by his lame rules, and THEN gets fired literally before the ink is dry?

  5. Only thing that “might” make sense is if there is now a major philisophical difference between Burke and the new owner/president??

  6. Timing is a bit strange but as long as this windbag is gone I’m happy…now does he have room in his private jet to bring Colangelo with him??

  7. somewhere in kingston don cherry is rolling around in a window curtain suit laughing his ass off

  8. ya Burkie was a wind bag….. Bye Bye Burkie glad it happend now before he does nothing to improve our team for yet another season!! too much talk, but shit walks

  9. This is a Puzzler, I wouldnt be surprised if this was because of a Luongo deal or lack there of. Personally unless he was for the deal there was no reason to fire him when he should have been axed 2 seasons ago.

  10. I think the biggest win/win here from an entertainment standpoint would be Pierre McGuire as the new GM and Burke taking over as the new between the benches guy for NBC. Win/win in the comedy department!

  11. I would have told him to hit the bricks once I heard his plans on the Kessel trade.

  12. Not brian coleangelo turn to get fired

  13. 100% done with hockey.

  14. I mean now brian colangelo

  15. Are we sure Rodgers/Bell weren’t just having a rough go of it in the ratings department and decided “Hey, lets fire Burkie. That will give us a solid week of ratings”

  16. Again we have been screwed by our owners. Really hard being a fan

    • Please explain. How have we been screwed and for what reason? You seem to also find it really hard to complete a thought.

  17. Brian Burke just added some TRUCULENCE to the employment line.

  18. Brian Burke will replace Gary Bettman as the commissioner of the NHL

  19. Thank God!!! so frustrated with his Lamo “won’t do this” “cant do that” CRAP. Good GM’s are dirty street fighters and he would have no part of it. Good Riddance and Get Lost!!!

  20. Burke was a bright guy in a tough situation. He did some smart things and other things that didn’t go so well but I never questioned his desire to make things better. Fixing the Leafs is clearly one of the toughest jobs in hockey. Blaming the GM is easy. Hopefully the next guy is a genius and we turn things around right away but I’m not holding my breath. So who’s next?

    • Umm.. No. He failed miserably actually. Never made the playoffs with the Leafs. Traded Rask,Hamilton and Seguin for Kessel. Traded Stalberg, Tlusty, Antropov, White, Schenn; not a huge deal but…didn’t make the playoffs. He sucks. Good riddance.

      • The Rask trade was done by Ferguson so maybe you should get your facts straight before you start flapping your gums, and that trade was forced by the Leaf fans and media who were saying that you needed a Canadian goalie, you got Raycroft how’d did that work out for the Leafs? The biggest problem with the MakeMe Pukes is that the fans and media all think that they know more about what it takes to win in the NHL more than the guys who actually have the rings to back up their statements! But hey they will set a record for futility in the NHL by not competing for the Cup for about 100 years hahahaha. Blow leafs Blow!!

  21. Well its about time!! sure he made some good moves. he surely made some horrible ones too. this is by far the best move made by the leafs organization in years. So long BUrky.

  22. Maybe the execs finally got tired of telling him to tie his tie.

  23. I literally said, quite loudly, “WHAT???” at my desk when I opened thescore.com. Got a few looks.

  24. I’m convinced this has to do with Luongo. I’m convinced Burke wanted no part of it. Nonis is a HUGE Luongo fan. I figure he’ll make the pitch for him.

  25. Not sure how much truth there is to this, but some of the media on twitter is saying that Burke was digging in his heels against a Luongo trade and that’s part of the reason he was canned.

    • That’s likely nonsense. However, I would say it’s still likely that Luongo ends up on the Leafs and that will be used as proof for that claim.

  26. Seriously – ENOUGH with the fallacy that Burke built the Ducks Cup winning team. He did far less than Murray did to build that team.

    Burke has been pathetic as a GM in TO and really maybe call it average with Anaheim. This is way overdue – Leafs fans should be pumped about such a great indication on the competency of the new ownership arrangement.

  27. So Burkie got fired for not going after Luongo(talented, but over priced) , I bet you Colangelo goes and gets Rudy Gay now( talented, but overpriced).

  28. i love how hes says burke built a winner with the ducks the team was already there he was run out of vancouver over paid and over hyped just like everyone he brought with him or traded for i would of got rid of all of them not true because i would of never of hired him in the first place this team has needed heart ever since wendle clark was traded for sundin no heart no glory

  29. The Leafs did not FIRE Burke, he and Nonis just traded jobs this is consistant with Bell and Rogers blowing smoke up peoples asses and pulling the wool over our eyes shame on everyone reporting this story as Burke being fired however since Rogers and Bell do own most Canadian news providers and now if CBC and The Score want to cover the Leafs I guess they will just play along like good little boys

  30. Burke…always ‘mad’ at media… always talking tough… full of crap… wind bag… bob murray built the ducks before burke got there folks. leafs would never win with him… finally someone saw the light and fired the blowhard. GOOD!

  31. Bryan Murray built the Ducks.
    Burke is an useless GM and a USA HNDTP plant. Good riddance, it’s about time.

  32. Good for Burke, maybe now he can go build a team that he actually wants. Burke never had control of the team because the idiots that make up the media in Toronto never let him have it! How can anyone listen to someone who has absolutely no experience as a General Manager in the NHL? Its like going to the hospital and getting medical advice from the janitor, just doesn’t make sense. I will miss the way he rightfully treated both the Toronto media and fans. It was good to see Burke giving the media and fans exactly what they deserve……NOTHING!! Here’s to hoping the Make Me Pukes finish 0-48!!!

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