Is Burke on Thin Ice?

By September, Rogers Communications Inc., and BCE Inc., will have closed their purchase of MLSE (the NHL governors put their rubber stamp on the deal this week). Assuming they keep the MLSE board at seven directors, five new ones will join chairman Larry Tanenbaum and Dale Lastman. Give one spot to the successor to now-retired MLSE president Richard Peddie and it would work out that Rogers and BCE would each name two directors.

By that time, if indeed they haven’t already, Tanenbaum and Lastman should be asking themselves and others they respect in the hockey and business worlds what they should do when Burke’s contract enters its final lap in the 2013-14 season. This may seem a tad premature (but not to the many Burke bashers in Leafs Nation) but it is only prudent with five new board colleagues coming in.

Burke, then, needs to make a solid impression with his new bosses this season. Fortunately for him, this does not mean taking a big swing in the usual vain hope (at least where his predecessors were concerned) of hitting a playoff home run. A lot of NHL types agree with former Leafs director of player personnel Rick Dudley, who said as he departed for the Montreal Canadiens that all the Leafs need to finally get on the right track is a reliable, veteran goaltender.

Thus the slow-motion chase for Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks. He is the best goaltender available in a slim market but Canucks GM Mike Gillis is keeping quiet about his asking price. Neither the Leafs nor the Florida Panthers, the only other team with more than a lukewarm interest in Luongo, have been able to get Gillis to say just what he wants. But some progress was reported by Thursday night.

11 Responses to Is Burke on Thin Ice?

  1. toronto77 says:

    I can understand Grigorenko, but Forsberg to fall out of the top 10????

    We don’t get a big forward but Rielly is going to be a great offensive d-man, we can have a great 1-2 punch on defence with offensive d-man with Rielly and Gardiner.

    I definitely don’t think this makes Schenn available as he and Rielly are two different types of d-man. If there is one d-man in our organization that is now expendable….it’s Percy.

    I don’t think Percy stands a chance to make the team with Gardiner, Schenn, and Gunnarsson on the team and especially with Rielly now in the system. and especially if Rielly will be a much more better player.

    Instead of addressing a strong need, the leafs have bulked up in a position where they have the most depth.

    I am surprised Burke passed on Forsberg, especially since he is everything burke wants in a forward. One thing is for sure, if one of Rielly, Lindholm, Dumba, Pouliot, Trouba and koekkoek do not work out for there respective teams than they will be critized for not selecting Forsberg.

    Although, other than the leafs, anaheim, minnesota, pittsburgh, winnipeg and tampa are all coincidentally teams that needed depth on defence.

    congratulations to washington and buffalo on selecting forsberg and grigorenko. I think both teams were very very lucky to have most of the teams in front of them to have a strong need on defence. What a steal for both teams!!!

    Now Brian Burke still has to trade for a goalie and a no.1 centremen to save his job. Busy summer for him.

    SInce I love watching young players and am an inpatient person, any chance Rielly plays for the leafs next season?

    Phaneuf – Liles
    Schenn – Gardiner
    Gunnarsson/Franson – Rielly

    You have a great balance of physicality and offence on all 3 d-lines.

    After a strong performance by the marlies in the playoffs, i predict players like Kadri, D’Amigo, Colborne, Percy, Holzer, Mikus, and even Gunnarsson/Franson will be used in packages to acquire a goalie and a no.1 centremen.

    Frattin will be on the team next year
    Ashton and Ross are the perfect type of players burke and carlyle both want but may play with the marlies next season

    • leafs_wallace93 says:

      So what about Schultz?

      • toronto77 says:

        Seriously doubt they go after him now. Schultz is comparable to both Gardiner and Rielly. Although signing Schultz would allow for Rielly to take a couple of years to develop. and when Schultz and Gardiner get big contracts in 2-3 years down the road, the leafs can easily ship one of the them out for a great return and have a very cheap but talented Rielly on the team.

        Long term it’s smart to let Rielly develop and sign Schultz. Even though the leafs will have a load of offence from the defence with Gardiner, Schultz and Rielly. are the leafs getting too offensive and less defensive with all 3 of these guys on the team? especially if all 3 have the potential to be top 2 pairing defencemen, it creates a good but unnecessary problem.

        Burke has to really really concentrate on getting a no.1 centremen and a no.1 goalie, Schultz is not a need right now with Gardiner already on the team.

    • mojo19 says:

      Percy and Blacker will be hard pressed to make it, but you never know.
      Just to use Frattin as an example, I don’t think a year ago anyone was really expecting him to make it over Kadri and Colborne, and yet here we are. So you never know for sure. One positive is that we now REALLY have deep defensive prospects. haha…. fuck Burke.

      • toronto77 says:

        I’m kinda pissed not getting forsberg, but Rielly is arguably the best mobile d-man in the draft he is a can’t miss, and I don’t think the same thing will happen to him that happened to schenn.

        Though I want to see Rielly play next season, I think it would be wise to let him develop for one more year, unlike what we did with Schenn. The complaint that people have with Schenn is that we didn’t let him develop. Well….in the training camp following his draft year he played well and even had a good rookie season, so there was no reason to send him down if he was playing that good….it was his second season where he started to stumble.

        I think it would be good to let Rielly play for the world juniors and try and win a championship.

        • leafs_wallace93 says:

          Do you think is going after Ryan Suter on July 1st?

        • mojo19 says:

          I don’t think Rielly should make this team, unless he’s absolutely unreal in camp, and undisputedly a top 3 or 4 dman. Otherwise, don’t throw this kid to the wolves. For once let’s do the right thing with one of our top prospects.

          And Wallace, ya I think Burke will go after Ryan Suter. Hell, Yandle and Boyle are available for trade, at this point I think he might make a play for them….

  2. toronto77 says:

    James Dutchie is an idiot, both burke and gillis looked like they were about to knock him out when he mentioned the luongo situation.

    Did Ryan Murray look unhappy to be selected by Columbus? not a smile on his face once.

  3. toronto77 says:

    So Brian Burke passed on selecting Forsberg for free and ended up trading Schenn for JVR?

    Drafting Rielly pretty much killed any chance of the leafs signing Schultz, now that Schenn is gone it opens that window again.

    Also trading for JVR I think means Kadri or Kulemin will be traded for a no.1 centremen. JVR is a top 6 forward and so is Kadri. Kulemin has some what already proven himself and if has a bounce back season could still be a very valuable player. Our top two lines will probably be:

    Lupul – ? – Kessel

    MacArthur will either be demoted to the third line or traded and the leafs will be forced to make a decision between Kadri and Kulemin…and the odd man out will be traded

    Lupul – ? – Kessel


    not much of a difference really…..a no.1 centremen will make a bigger difference and a goalie adding a no.1 goalie????

    This team could finally make the playoffs.

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