Skip to content

Columnist: Lockout “could not have come at a better time for Burke”

Nov 29, 2012, 3:56 PM EST

Image (1) brianburke-thumb-250x339-8181-thumb-250x339-8182.jpg for post 1686

Four years ago today, Brian Burke was named president and GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Suffice to say, things have not gone as planned.

With Burke in charge, the Leafs have failed to make the playoffs and are still without many of the aspects they were lacking before his much-ballyhooed arrival – most notably, a No. 1 center, reliable goaltending and, perhaps most galling, “proper levels of pugnacity, testosterone, truculence and belligerence.”

With that in mind, the National Post’s Michael Traikos argues that the NHL lockout “could not have come at a better time for Burke.”

The longer it goes, the more time he buys. Prospects such as Morgan Rielly, Tyler Biggs and Stuart Percy might be one step closer to being NHL-ready. And salary-cap dead weights such as Tim Connolly (US$4.75-million) and Matthew Lombardi (US$3.5-million) would come off the books.

At the same time, Joffrey Lupul and Clarke MacArthur would also be free agents, but maybe that is not such a bad thing. Maybe the Leafs try to re-sign Lupul for less than his current US$4.25-million salary. And with another year in the minors under their belts, maybe Matt Frattin or Nazem Kadri simply takes MacArthur’s spot on the second line.

Or maybe Burke takes a look at what’s available in free agency. Last year’s crop of free agents were limited, but with teams unable to talk to their players during a lockout, there potentially could be more names on the market in 2013.

Would Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry reunite with Burke and head coach Randy Carlyle in Toronto? Would the Leafs take a run at Boston’s Nathan Horton, New Jersey’s Travis Zajac, San Jose’s Ryan Clowe or Florida’s Stephen Weiss?

Another summer also means Burke has another opportunity to hammer out a trade for Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo. Or maybe Burke signs free agent Tim Thomas, Niklas Backstrom or Mike Smith.

Many observers believe Burke will be fired if the Leafs miss the playoffs for a fifth straight time under his watch. And hey, you can’t be blamed for missing the playoffs if there aren’t any.

By that logic, Burke may indeed have a better shot of keeping his job if the NHL were to cancel the entire season.

Which somehow seems wrong.

Latest Posts
  1. NHL on NBCSN: Sharks’ ‘dog fight’ continues vs. red hot Ducks

    Jan 29, 2015, 9:22 AM EST

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznptuzmmninzc3odvlmwnkmtg0nddmzwy2njlmnmi2njqy AP

    San Jose is in the thick of a tight Pacific Division battle.

  2. NHL on NBCSN: Rangers, Canadiens seek edge as divisional battles intensify

    Jan 29, 2015, 8:44 AM EST

    P.K. Subban, Dan Boyle AP

    The 2014 Eastern Conference finalists meet to continue their respective battles for home ice advantage.

  3. Struggling Kings complete the comeback against Blackhawks

    Jan 29, 2015, 1:35 AM EST

    Corey Crawford, Jeff Carter AP

    Looked like L.A. was in serious trouble.

  4. Capitals’ Trotz: ‘They were trying to make a statement and we responded’

    Jan 29, 2015, 12:30 AM EST

    Barry Trotz Getty Images

    Washington is now three points back of Pittsburgh in the Metropolitan Division.

  5. Video: Tempers boil over between Capitals, Penguins

    Jan 28, 2015, 11:05 PM EST

    Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 7.53.32 PM

    Christian Ehrhoff was hurt on the play.

  6. Leafs lose to Devils in shootout, drop seventh straight

    Jan 28, 2015, 10:43 PM EST

    Phil Kessel; Peter Horachek AP

    Had the edge in shots, and shot attempts, but only one point to show for.

  7. Video: Ovechkin’s blast gives him NHL lead in goals

    Jan 28, 2015, 9:53 PM EST

    Alex Ovechkin AP

    “Feeling the flow. Working it. Working it.”

  8. WATCH LIVE: Blackhawks at Kings

    Jan 28, 2015, 9:39 PM EST

    Blackhawks-Kings AP

    Western Conference foes.

  9. Video: Wilson throws haymakers at Sill on Rivalry Night

    Jan 28, 2015, 8:50 PM EST

    Wilson-Sill

    Washington’s young forward landed some bombs.

  10. Video: Ovi opens scoring vs. Pens, now tied for NHL goals lead

    Jan 28, 2015, 8:31 PM EST

    alexovechkinap AP

    His 28th of the season, kicking off Rivalry Night.

  11. AHL to make ‘major announcement’ tomorrow; will be about new California division

    Jan 28, 2015, 5:21 PM EST

    AHLlogo

    Sharks, Ducks, Kings, Flames, and Oilers will all have their affiliates in the west next season.

Featured video

Who will excite most in All-Star game?
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. S. Crosby (3881)
  2. E. Malkin (3120)
  3. K. Letang (3112)
  4. S. Bobrovsky (2613)
  5. C. Price (2571)
  1. P. Hornqvist (2513)
  2. T. Johnson (2430)
  3. P. Rinne (2124)
  4. M. Richards (2017)
  5. J. Gaudreau (1797)