Brian Burke, Maple Leafs Making Serious Progress- Damien

“Brian Burke could be in charge of the Maple Leafs by Sunday. It could take a little longer, but talks between the former Anaheim GM and the Leafs, or at least between Burke’s lawyer and MLSE, are clearly heating up. Burke is spending much of today hunting ducks near Vancouver, but indications are from both sides that he’s likely to receive a full-blown offer from the Leafs by Saturday as discussions to get his name on a contract move on to the fast-track. Clearly, the speed with which Anaheim CEO Michael Schulman released Burke to talk to other clubs caught both Burke and the Leafs off guard, at least in terms of sitting down and quickly hammering out a deal. Given that the timing of his arrival in Toronto isn’t critical – it doesn’t matter, really, if it happens in two days or two weeks – both sides have some time to work with and appear to be taking advantage of it. Logistically, both Burke’s lawyer and Gord Kirke, head of the MLSE search team, have been tied up with other non-hockey matters this week, but both sides have been exchanging information on what the parameters of a contract might be, including term and autonomy, and all the members of the MLSE board have signed off on the concept on trying to hire Burke. It appears likely the Leafs won’t want to waste time haggling but instead will present Burke with a serious first offer, likely to be at least a four-year proposal and possibly longer.
If Burke does sign on this weekend, it appears increasingly likely he won’t be coming alone. His visit to Vancouver this week will include a meeting with Dave Nonis, who worked with Burke in B.C. and was hired by Burke to work in Anaheim during the summer. Nonis had meetings with the Leafs last summer over their vacant executive position, but couldn’t come to an agreement, so clearly he’s already seriously considered re-locating east.How that would affect the Leaf front office isn’t clear. Fletcher would likely stay on a consultant capacity at least until the end of the 19-month contract he signed last January, and Joe Nieuwendyk appears likely to be part of a Burke team. Burke didn’t immediately clean house when he took over in Vancouver or Anaheim, so he may be content with bringing Nonis in without dumping those already working in Toronto.Fletcher had said publicly he’d like the entire Burke-to-Toronto business wrapped up as soon as possible. It appears he’ll get this wish.”

So there you have it….. I would be surprised if he doesn’t get the offer until Saturday if he has signed by Sunday, he’s a lawyer, he has a lawyer, Gord Kirke is a lawyer…….. The Nonis thing is interesting in that I can’t see the Ducks letting him go unless there is a deal already in place that Burke can take him…

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