Leafs move to front of line for Kessel


Brian Burke is American, but seems to have adopted that old Royal Canadian Mounted Police credo to always get your man.The Maple Leafs general manager’s dogged pursuit of Phil Kessel that began in June has intensifed to where Toronto now is the leading candidate to land the Boston Bruins winger, through trade rather than a restricted free agent signing.

While Kessel’s agent, Wade Arnott, yesterday denied reports in the Boston media that the door is closed on re-signing there, the Bruins’ dicey salary cap situation, its willingness to deal Kessel at the draft to the Leafs and, more recently in talks with Toronto, Nashville and the Rangers likely means he is moving.


“There has been more discussion, but nothing has changed,” Burke said. “We just can’t send him an offer sheet. He has to sign it. No one has all the cards in this game except the agent.”

As for making a trade to try and fast-track the Leafs’ recovery, Burke said: “I have no problem trying to hit home runs.”