All Brian Burke- Know This It’s All About The $

Had enough time to digest yet??? Sick of Brian Burke talk???? If you are, allow me to suggest a few places other then here (Toronto) that you should head for a few weeks, because the nonsense has only just begun.

In any event, here is a brief tour & analysis of the “experts”:

“The one thing that will not be a problem in negotiations between Brian Burke and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment is money.MLSE, according to some insiders, let Burke know he could expect a four-year, $2.2-million-per-year (all currency U.S.) contract offer to be the Toronto Maple Leafs boss long before he stepped down as GM of the Anaheim Ducks. Now that Burke is a free agent, he will command more than that, but to think this potential marriage could fall apart because MLSE won’t want to pay what Burke asks is absurd…..If I were a gambling man, I’d wager Burke will be running the Maple Leafs before the end of the season. But I’d want some odds because of the complications.

That from David Shoalts of the Globe. Strike 1. This is all about the money. The board has proven with Cliff that they want to do the right thing. The only thing that will derail this is money. If Burke demands more then Colangelo, making him the highest paid executive in the NHL by a looooong shot, then this could get derailed… There is no other mitigating factor. I guy doesn’t say that this is the job where if you win they name schools after you if he doesn’t want the job. Scotty Bowman asked for Colangelo money. The economy is in the crapper, but rest assured Burke is not going to come for less then that. How much more is the #1 factor in him taking the job……

“This is a deal that should get done, possibly by the end of next week. If Brian Burke isn’t the new general manager of the Maple Leafs by then, and possibly the president as well, it will be because with the professional opportunity of a lifetime at his feet, he went for too much. Even Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, owners of the most valuable franchise in hockey despite their absolute failure to produce a winner, have their limits. It wouldn’t necessarily be dollars, or a specific amount. MLSE might balk if they are offended by a Burke request that comes in too high, a request that too brazenly tries to cash in on the leverage the former Anaheim GM quite obviously has in this situation”

Give Damien a prize. I am not sure if the word offended is right, but if he asks for the sky they may balk.

“Now comes the Burke opportunity, one that, regardless of what Richard Peddie was saying yesterday, could not have possibly surprised the Leafs.”

I think they were surprised. I think they were surprised that it was yesterday. I don’t think (and neither does Damien) that they were surprised it happened at all as eventually it would have…but I actually take Peddie at his word on this one…

“Going for $5 million might cause MLSE suits to tell him to take a hike. Burke, meanwhile, considers himself a strong negotiator and, at 53 years of age, this is his chance to nail down the biggest deal of his career. They want him. He wants them. It seems unthinkable anything could block this marriage now.
But it isn’t unthinkable. The most valuable franchise in the sport and one of its biggest personalities still have to strike a deal. Egos alone could kill it all.”

The key to this deal is the average salary over the term of the deal. It won’t be how much he makes each year, it will be the average. If he asks for an average of 5 per year I think that he isn’t coming here. I also don’t think he is going to get an average of 5 a year anywhere else. So I don’t think he is going to ask for that. Remember it is all about the money(and the term).

“But make no mistake: This is Toronto’s play to make. If the Leafs come up with appropriate finances and term, they will have in place the general manager they were hoping for when they fired John Ferguson Jr., last winter.”

Right on Mr. Simmons.

“Whether Burke and the Leafs will be a fit of any kind is open to interpretation.”

That is right, because when the news broke, prior to Mr. Armstrong’s slur on Detroit, you, Mr. Simmons said that you were no longer a supporter of bringing Mr. Burke to Toronto. You, gasp, cough cough, said that you were impressed with the job that Cliff and Ron have done so far and felt that bringing in Burke at this time may not be the right move (you failed to say it here by the way…)

“The dynamic has changed a little bit. It’s like Burke and the Leafs are at a high school dance. They’re both thinking very seriously about asking each other to dance, they’re clearly attracted to each other but they may now feel the need to play a little hard to get. There’s other fish in the sea for both of them, don’t you know. There may be some third-party interest in Burke beyond the Leafs. And now that the moment of truth is conceivably here, the Leafs may find some reasons to consider all their options, everything from the incumbent Cliff Fletcher to what they perceive might be available this summer.
At the end of the day, though, the probability of Burke becoming the Leafs’ next GM is far greater than not.It makes too much sense, but there’s a negotiation to be done and there could be issues along the way. So let the dance begin. This will be interesting.”

Too true Mr. McKenzie. I did find it interesting that your network released today news that the Leafs were a stones throw from landing Jimmy Rutherford 2 summers ago when he turned them down. Curious why that story came out today. These stories surface for a reason and you can bet there is an ulterior motive on someone’s part somewhere.

“Sources close to the Toronto Maple Leafs say the team was “caught off guard” by the news Brian Burke had been replaced as general manager of the Anaheim Ducks. However today’s announcement undoubtedly changes that and, with other names like San Jose’s Doug Wilson, Detroit’s Ken Holland and Nashville’s David Poile still being tossed around as potential candidates at the end of the season, Burke’s hiring in Toronto may depend on his expectations, both financially, as well as the autonomy he is sure to demand.”

Let’s take Darren Dreger’s first comment. To suggest that they weren’t surprised would mean that a: this announcement was premeditated or planned in advance. Just because they say it went down the way they said it did doesn’t mean it did. Secondly, even if it was known for 24 hours, how would the leafs have known. I guess the assumption is that Burke would have told them right? Ok, so let’s get into that. Assume for a second he wants to come to Toronto, why would he alert anyone and risk a tampering charge, can’t you imagine, he takes the Toronto job, the leafs win the lottery and Anaheim has the pick because he alerted the leafs this was going down??? Who cares if they were surprised it happened yesterday???? The media was……Why should he leaf brass be any different?

Dreger is right on the last comment, did you hear, it is all about the money and the term?

“The common perception is that he’ll get the same deal that Toronto Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo got, but that’s not a given. Colangelo is said to have an exit clause if there is interference from above, but Burke should want more than that. First off, if he gets an offer and takes it, he’s not going to want to leave so there has to be more to the autonomy clause than just the right to walk away. Burke will seek assurances that there will be no interference and penalties to ownership or bonuses to him if there is any. That’s not to say he gets complete control. Ownership needs to retain the right to make certain that Burke can’t make deals that are outside the economic or political scope of ownership (for example, dealing No.1 picks for an aging defenceman or a fading scorer). There also needs to be a clear statement of purpose so that should Burke want, for example, to bring Todd Bertuzzi to Toronto the day before his trial opens in Ontario in his assault on Steve Moore, ownership has the right to say yes or no.
That’s not interference. That’s protecting the rights and value of the franchise, an ownership responsibility. It’s something that goes on in every franchise and the Leafs are no different. Working out an agreement that covers that will be a time-consuming and difficult process.”

Whaaaat Mr. Kelly???? That is exactly what is interferance. Setting a budget and making a president/ceo stick to it is not interference, that is protecting the franchise. What you are talking about is the type of meddling the media has accused the board of engaging in!

“Then there’s always the possibility that a even more successful talent – say a Ken Holland in Detroit, a Lou Lamoriello in New Jersey or a Doug Wilson in San Jose (and Wilson’s stock has been consistently rising) – might come free at season’s end. The Leafs need to consider the possibility that one of those men will come into the market. The Leafs also need to be aware that now that Burke is free some big-name competitors, including Boston, New York and Chicago, might consider a management restructuring to get him.”

Kelly and others have roasted MLSE for not hiring someone last summer, yet know they want them to wait again. If Burke is the guy you wanted last summer, then you go hire him now. As he said in his conference yesterday, if Bob Murray is going to eventually take over there is no time like the present. You don’t wait around for a what if, when the one you want is there waiting.

“The man fits the job. The job fits the man. Somehow though, I sense we’ll have to chew on this hire for a couple of weeks before the two sides finally shake hands.”

I agree with Mark Spector on this one about 98% 🙂

“The problem in Toronto is that almost all the franchise’s plans end up falling to pieces because there is next to no consensus, from the top of the organization down, on which direction the Original Six franchise should take. Even if Burke is the best candidate for the job, getting from here to there is a veritable minefield and shouldn’t be considered a foregone conclusion.”

Yawn, Hey Scott, you paying attention these days???? If you want to take a shot, there is lots of ammo, try using something at least relevant.

“Other teams considered potential candidates include the Florida Panthers, Atlanta Thrashers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Ottawa Senators, but those clubs are likely to be long shots to land him. Interested teams now have a week to put together offers for Burke which will only ensure he’ll be the subject of considerable media speculation in the coming days.”

I am a huge Spector fan, but I think with respect to Florida, Atlanta and Tampa they have no shot of getting Burke. He won’t go to that type of market, in my opinion. Ottawa could be the one team that I could see. Question is would they fire Bryan Murray quick enough to make it happen.

Meanwhile, keep these in mind when (if) he takes the job and the locales start the he isn’t as good as people think parade. Speaking of parades, that means you Mike Hogan who asked this am why people are already planning the parade at the thought of Burke taking over the Leafs…Well for one, it’s not us the fans who are, it’s you the media creating all the hysteria and two, here are som opinions from folks who’s opinions I respect:

“Burke has a big personality, and it seems perfect for Toronto. He will enjoy the daily jousting with the media, and he won’t be intimidated by the pressure of running such a high profile franchise. The Maple Leafs just need to be re-energized, and Burke is a human transformer of energy. Burke loves entertaining skating teams, and he loves tough, fighting teams. That strategy will play well in Toronto. Players like Burke because he stands up for them. He defends his team ferociously and he’s not timid about calling the league office and complaining when he believes his team has been wronged. Edmonton general manager Kevin Lowe can vouch for that. That kind of style would also play well with Toronto fans. I’ve known the man 20 years and I can you with a high degree of certainty that he always has a purpose for any word that comes out of his mouth. Fans believe still today that Burke acts out of anger when he rips Kevin Lowe for signing Dustin Penner, but he continues to go after Lowe because he wants other general managers to know that there will be some discomfort in their lives if they do something that he believes is wrong. (Burke believed that Lowe’s signing changed the salary structure for the entire league).”

I agree with everything that Kevin Allen wrote there. If he comes here it is for the right reason$.

“Burke said he had “delivered” here, and that’s true. He took a wealth of talent assembled by his predecessor, Bryan Murray, totally rebuilt the defense, added some toughness and brought the Cup to the West Coast. The Kings still haven’t accomplished that despite a 26-year head start. The Ducks have taken on Burke’s personality. He likes fast, physical hockey and the Ducks have always been willing — often too willing — to take the body and sometimes take a penalty. His coups were signing Niedermayer, who wanted to play alongside brother Rob, and acquiring Pronger, who has caused opponents headaches with his ruthless hits and given the Ducks a few headaches with his many suspensions.
The Ducks are unapologetic about being combative, just as Burke is — and was — during a silly war of words he initiated with Edmonton GM Kevin Lowe after Lowe lured Dustin Penner away from Anaheim with a rich offer sheet. Burke was sometimes blustery, sometimes defiant, but he made sure his players looked beyond themselves and became involved in the community. He wasn’t always successful but he never was dull.”Burkie’s not someone that’s easily lost,” said Ryan Getzlaf, a franchise cornerstone. “He’s done an excellent job here.”Now he moves on to the next job, leaving Murray big sandals to fill.”

I am a huge fan of Helene Elliott, she calls it like she sees it. The guy isn’t perfect nor was his performance in Anaheim, but he is what he is…

“When hockey finally settled its lockout in 2005, the Ducks’ profile was somewhere between Cal State Fullerton basketball and Professional Bull Riding.Their ’05 season never started. Their ’04 season was a crushing bore, with Sergei Fedorov coming up a little short on the Messiah scale. There was new ownership, which was good after the Disney years, but all the momentum from the ’03 Stanley Cup Finals was a puddle. All they had were Teemu Selanne and Jean-Sebastien Giguere, and a building crying out for human interaction.But they also had Brian Burke. In a couple of weeks Burke signed Scott Niedermayer. In 10 months the Ducks played Edmonton for the Western Conference championship. A month after that they traded for Chris Pronger. Ten months after that, someone was engraving their names on the Stanley Cup.Success has multiple fathers, and certainly Pierre Gauthier and Bryan Murray did their part. But Burke, who turned over the general manager’s desk to Bob Murray on Wednesday, hired the coach and acquired — and aligned — the stars. He brought something the Ducks never had before. Scope. He thought big. He also brought clarity. In a market where hockey is an acquired taste, Burke knew the value of a consistent front man. His coach, Randy Carlyle, was just as uncompromisingly direct.

Burke is known for bombast and a long memory, and there’s no sign that he and Edmonton GM Kevin Lowe are going to golf in the same foursome. But he has that Irish sentimentality, too. He and a Vancouver columnist began trading tales about their recently deceased dogs, in a Calgary pub three years ago, and both had to break out the Kleenex. Sometimes two and two do make four, and sometimes rumor becomes real. But Burke knows he’ll be trading low-voltage comfort for a 24/7 fishbowl in Toronto. He also knows what lies ahead for the man who brings Toronto a Cup. Do they have knighthood in Canada? “They’d be naming schools after the guy who wins there,” Burke once said.
They ought to name the upper rows of Honda Center seats after Burke. Thanks to him, and his wide-angle perspective, people actually sit there.”

A very nice tribute by Mark Whicker. I have to tell you, when he takes the job it will be because, he knows his stuff. He has done it before with success, he can manhandle the media and HE CAN HANDLE THE BOARD. That is what this franchise will need and he may be the only guy out there who can. Will it lead to a cup or cups, I have no clue. I love Doug Wilson but I think he would have a tough time here. I am not sure Ken Holland would either (with respect to the board). There are others, not many (Our buddy Neil for sure!) who may be able to bring evertyhing that Burke does, I think that is why he will be the guy. The only other one who immediately comes to mind is Lou andI just don’t see that happening.

Type at you from the first period..

About the Author
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
November 13, 2008 7:29 pm

Burke gets the job…period

Any other team that get’s involved in the bidding has no chance of winning and will simply artificially push up the price tag.

Burke might believe that he is in the drivers seat and push for more than the Leafs planned to spend…but he’s not a moron. He knows that this is really the only option for himself and the Leafs…I have to believe that there is a material gap between what the leafs will spend and what the next closest team would offer. Money will not be an issue.

For me, the only wild card is that Peddie does not go along with what will need to be the new reporting lines…the Leafs President must report directly to the Board.

The Leafs will not want to deal with the fallout of not “getting their man”…If MLSE balks for financial reasons or org structure…they better place orders for body guards…it could get ugly at the ACC.

November 13, 2008 7:47 pm

crap…I think you just changed my mind on Burke. Maybe he is the right guy after all.

November 13, 2008 8:46 pm

Well, either way I sure hope Leafs brass and everyone else appreciate what Fletcher has done and continues to do for this team. I never imagined he could bring so much pride & respect back to our team so quickly. Sure we’ve got a long way to go but he’s already made his mark in so many ways, brought in some good young players and helped our front office with adding some great staff as well. Even if Burke doesn’t come on board we should all be thankful Fletcher is still running the show until the next man in charge comes in, whoever that might be.

November 13, 2008 9:34 pm

I don’t think Peddie’s ego works that way. If he is the guy who hired the guy who brings a cup to Toronto he is the hero (in his mind). The only way they balk for money reasons is if he asks for dumb money.

Not sure if you heard MacLean on with McCowan tonight, but he said “Burke want’s to be the GM in Toronto”. He could not have been more clear on the point. The only thing clearly about Doug MacLean is his love for talking about how wealthy he is.

Guy Trottier
Guy Trottier
November 13, 2008 10:32 pm

This courtship reminds me of my search for an LCD flatscreen tv.I was sold on a certain model,but the wait for it to be restocked caused me to ponder other models on the market.Burke is not without his flaws,but the sum total of his pluses make him the logical choice when measured against anyone else on the horizon.

PBR Time
November 14, 2008 11:09 am

I’m just Glad Marchi Finally took one home after coming in 2nd place for so long.

Guy Trottier
Guy Trottier
November 14, 2008 4:59 pm

This sure flew under the radar.Burke apparently found time in Oct to work for Obama,and blogged about his experience

November 14, 2008 5:49 pm

Amazing. Thanks Guy. FYI Burke is a free man now, let the talking heads loose….

November 14, 2008 5:50 pm

As for the Melrose move- who wants to bet on the outcome of the first Tocchet coached game????

The Meatriarchy
November 15, 2008 9:34 am

I can’t wait for HNIC hotstove tonight. As much as Strachan annoys me he pretty much called it two weeks ago (the Melrose firing) and Milburry basically tired to bully him into submission.

Time to eat crow Mike.

November 15, 2008 3:53 pm

I’m with Meatriarchy…I am not a Strachan fan but Milburry is worse! Milburry should kick things off with an apology….

While we are on the topic of HNIC Hotstove…can’t they do better than the guys they currently have on? Brutal. Maybe TSM should start a petition!

November 15, 2008 7:03 pm

Not a bad idea at all.The moron twins (Milbury and Strachan) should be in rare form tonight. I will have to catch it online as I am going to watch the new Bond Flick

November 15, 2008 7:22 pm

Why the fuck does it matter if he sold hockey to a non-traditional market, that’s not exactly the call of duty in Toronto.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x