Perhaps to ensure that their coming NHL season is every bit as much of a gong show as their previous 45, the Toronto Maple Leafs have announced the firing of general manager Brian Burke.
The news comes just as the team is getting ready to head to training camp for what’s expected to be an abbreviated 48-game postlockout NHL season.
Burke became the president and general manager of the Maple Leafs in 2008, joining a team with a long and ugly history of futility. Loudly trumpeting the fact that he was anything but a patient man, he promised quick and radical changes, pledging to rebuild the team into a playoff contender. Instead, the club has missed the playoffs every year during his tenure, finishing 13th in the Eastern Conference last season.
The news has big implications for the Canucks, who are looking to trade high-priced goalie Roberto Luongo. Rumours have swirled for months that the Canucks have been negotiating with Burke and the Leafs, with the buzz having Luongo landing in the Centre of the Universe once the NHL’s current CBA is ratified this week.
If it’s not already done, that deal may die on the table, especially if a new general manager comes in looking to put his own stamp on the team.