LEAFS' BURKE SOUR OVER KULEMIN CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS

Despite the fact that his hockey team has not taken the ice in nearly two months, Toronto Maple Leafs’ general manager Brian Burke has remained in demand and in the spotlight this off-season.

On Sunday on Toronto radio station AM 640, Burke discussed the latest news, or lack thereof as the Leafs attempt to re-sign forward Nikolai Kulemin .

Burke stated that the talks have hit a standstill and that he believes that the player and his agent are overvaluing the services of the Russian winger who had 16 goals and 20 assists in 78 games last season.

“We haven’t exchanged proposals in a couple of weeks now,” Burke admitted to AM 640.

“While they can say: ‘he was on your first line last year,’ there is no one who would say Nikolai Kulemin is a first line left winger. He’s a first line left winger by default because we did not have a very good team. I’m not paying for someone who gets the position by default.”

Burke touched on a number of subjects during the interview, including the rumour that defenceman Dion Phaneuf would be named team captain at a press conference on June 17th.

“First off, that’s a coaching decision, not a general manager’s decision,” Burke told AM 640. “If that’s the way that Ron Wilson decides to go, I would support that obviously. I will not deny that is going to happen, but I’m certainly not going to confirm it either.”

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=323787