Nov 29, 2012, 3:56 PM EST
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.
Jan 29, 2015, 9:22 AM EST
San Jose is in the thick of a tight Pacific Division battle.
Jan 29, 2015, 8:44 AM EST
The 2014 Eastern Conference finalists meet to continue their respective battles for home ice advantage.
Jan 29, 2015, 8:00 AM EST
Thursday’s collection of links.
Jan 29, 2015, 1:35 AM EST
Looked like L.A. was in serious trouble.
Jan 29, 2015, 12:30 AM EST
Washington is now three points back of Pittsburgh in the Metropolitan Division.
Jan 28, 2015, 11:51 PM EST
Weren’t at all inspired Tuesday.
Jan 28, 2015, 11:28 PM EST
That’s a nice set up.
Jan 28, 2015, 11:05 PM EST
Christian Ehrhoff was hurt on the play.
Jan 28, 2015, 10:43 PM EST
Had the edge in shots, and shot attempts, but only one point to show for.
Jan 28, 2015, 10:15 PM EST
High expectations in Chicago.
Jan 28, 2015, 9:53 PM EST
“Feeling the flow. Working it. Working it.”
Jan 28, 2015, 9:39 PM EST
Western Conference foes.
Jan 28, 2015, 8:50 PM EST
Washington’s young forward landed some bombs.
Jan 28, 2015, 8:31 PM EST
His 28th of the season, kicking off Rivalry Night.
Jan 28, 2015, 8:14 PM EST
Now you can see who leads the league in Corsis!
Jan 28, 2015, 7:30 PM EST
They’ll take on Chicago at Staples.
Jan 28, 2015, 7:00 PM EST
Pens captain returns after missing Tuesday’s win over Winnipeg.
Jan 28, 2015, 6:30 PM EST
Rivalry night on NBCSN.
Jan 28, 2015, 5:55 PM EST
Is expected to be released today.
Jan 28, 2015, 5:21 PM EST
Sharks, Ducks, Kings, Flames, and Oilers will all have their affiliates in the west next season.
- NHL on NBCSN: Sharks’ ‘dog fight’ continues vs. red hot Ducks 0
- NHL on NBCSN: Rangers, Canadiens seek edge as divisional battles intensify 0
- Struggling Kings complete the comeback against Blackhawks 6
- Video: Tempers boil over between Capitals, Penguins 38
- Isles’ Clutterbuck latest to be fined for diving 19
- No hearing scheduled for Kesler after ‘dirty play’ on Dorsett 23
- Why NHL fans — no matter where they live — should care about the plunging Canadian dollar 32
- Trade: Pens acquire Lapierre from Blues for Goc 63
- Video: Habs’ Emelin ejected for hit on Stars’ Spezza 31
- Martin Brodeur to retire, become Blues asst. GM (Updated) 45