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Leafs fire Brian Burke (!!!); Nonis named replacement

Jan 9, 2013, 12:33 PM EDT

Brian Burke AP

Well, this came out of nowhere.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have fired their president and general manager, Brian Burke.

The news was first reported by TSN’s Bob McKenzie and confirmed by Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos.

Burke will be replaced by Dave Nonis, formerly the senior vice-president of hockey operations.

A press conference has been scheduled for this afternoon at 1:45 p.m. ET.

Burke, 57, was hired with much fanfare on Nov. 29, 2008. But under his watch, the Leafs failed to qualify for the playoffs in each season.

The team’s parent company, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment — which also owns the NBA’s Toronto Raptors and Toronto FC of the MLS — was officially sold to Bell and Rogers in August for $1.07 billion. Whether the change in ownership was a factor in Burke’s dismissal is unclear at this point.

Burke was criticized for a number of moves throughout his tenure, most notably a trade with Boston in September of 2009 that brought Phil Kessel to Toronto for two first-round picks and a second-round pick. The Bruins used the two first-round picks to draft Tyler Seguin second overall in 2010 and Dougie Hamilton ninth overall in 2011.

Burke has also been blamed for failing to address the Leafs’ goaltending situation and failing to land a top-line center.

The Leafs finished 13th in the Eastern Conference in 2011-12. After a promising start, they ended the season 7-18-4, a stretch that saw the the firing of head coach Ron Wilson.


Burke era in Toronto: Trades, truculence and tirades

  1. ddaveyy - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:35 PM

    Damn…where’s the source of Toronto’s incompetence going to come from now?


    • ballistictrajectory - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:36 PM


      • Chris Ross - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:20 PM

        The Raptors

    • timsabourin - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:38 PM

      TFC is making a push

    • elvispocomo - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:29 PM

      Is that a rhetorical question? You already answered it with the last word in your post.

  2. sabatimus - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:35 PM


  3. dohpey28 - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:35 PM

    About time.

  4. kitshky - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    When I first saw the headline I thought for sure I was gonna find a punchline in here somewhere… craazy.

  5. bcisleman - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    It’s like Rip Van Winkle or something. They have apparently been sleeping through his reign of error and now have decided to end it after he set the franchise back about a decade.

  6. leeeroooyjeeenkiiins - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    I’m certainly not suggesting that the move itself is bad, but the timing is incredibly odd. You’ve got to wonder if this has anything to do with Luongo discussions for them to make this move when they did.

  7. bucrightoff - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    The Maple Leafs, hockey’s laughingstock since 2005.

    • whatthepuck2012 - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:30 PM

      And they’ve been laughing all the way to the bank.

  8. esracerx46 - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    Frankly im surprised it took this long. The legend of Brian Burke is kind of a myth. We know he pulled off the Sedin trade 10 years ago but thats been about all he’s done. He won a Cup in Anaheim, but he was only there for a cup of coffee. He didnt build that team. Much like Stan Bowman. I like Stan, but the cup he won wasnt really his he didnt build that team either.

  9. aces79 - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    i think this is the best news for the leafs

  10. newyorkislanderfancentral - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:42 PM

    Leaf new ownership-Start frontloading or pack your bags.
    Burke-I don’t front-load contracts.

    Leaf new ownership-You’re fired.

  11. rsl22 - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    I had a read on Pension Plan Puppets the other day (from a link on PHT) about how Burke would be the big winner from the lockout. Ha. Guess that was written a bit prematurely.

  12. thecheeman - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:44 PM

    Good for Leafs fans. This guy travelling to Asia and waving from floats in parades during hockey’s most important days was a joke.

  13. habsman - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:44 PM

    Very sad day for fans of the NHL East.

    Especially bad news for the Bruins. My biggest concern now is that the Leafs will actuall hire someone who is compentent.

    What ever happened to the Truculence, Beligerence etc??? Goodbye bull $hyter.

    • borderline1988 - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:46 PM

      Yep, the people who will take this the hardest are Bruins fans.

      Forget about the Kessel trade (which I don’t think was all that bad…Kessel’s one of the best scorers in the league. even if you don’t like the trade, it’s not like it’s a complete disaster), I’m still steaming about the Tuuka Rask deal…that was our goalie of the future – instead we went with Justin Pogge? Uggh. The Leafs would be in the playoffs every single year if they had a goalie who could maintain a sub 2.50 GAA.

      That wasn’t Burke but it’s the same idea – the Leafs always seem to trade the good prospects away for washed out players, but then keep the bad prospects. And they can never sign any real good players for some reason.

  14. eastcoasting19 - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:47 PM

    Any chance Alex Anthopoulos is looking a winter time job???

  15. travishenryskid - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    More fuel on the TML tire fire. Poor timing. I imagine this has to do with Luongo.

    • habsman - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:55 PM

      I agree with you.

      A couple of years ago the Leafs were sanctioned for tampering with the Sedin twins. Burke basically poisioned the relationship with the Canucks and Mike Gillis. It is only fitting if the failure to acquire Luongo because of this, ultimately led to his dismisal.

  16. hockinj25 - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    Wow I thought this was a joke at first but its about time.

  17. rsl22 - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    So I guess Luongo isn’t going to be a Leaf now?

    • habsman - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:01 PM

      The chances of getting Luongo just improved.

      • rsl22 - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:05 PM

        I’m confused by your statement.

    • habsman - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:17 PM

      As I mentioned above, the relationship between Burke and Mike Gillis, GM of the Canucks was poisioned a couple of years ago when the Leafs were caught tampering with the Sedin twins while they were under contract. Based on this, I believe Gillis was squeezing Burke in discussions about Luongo. I think to this day, Gillis has a hate on for Burke. Now that Burke is gone, there may be a chance for a better working relationship between the two teams.

      • atwatercrushesokoye - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:24 PM

        I’m not sure why anyone would give up anything for Luongo, not that he’s a bad goalie (he isn’t) but the Canucks essentially have to trade him in order to give Schneider the room he needs to be a number 1 goalie, and also cause they’re going to desperately need the cap room in the offseason and I just can’t picture them wanting to give Luongo 2/3 of what’s left on his contract to go sign anywhere he wants.

        I’d offer them a 6th and conditional pick in 2014 (as high as a 4th if Luongo is amazing) because the Canucks need to make this trade, they’re in no position to expect any real return let alone to squeeze anyone.

  18. rich859 - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    Crap, who are the Bruins going to get their draft picks and prospects from now?

  19. shoobiedoobin - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:55 PM

    Most overrated GM since Pierre Lacriox.

    • govtminion - Jan 9, 2013 at 9:24 PM

      Hey, Lacroix was awesome back when he didn’t have to worry about things like salary caps or money in-general or anything other than grabbing as many top-talent veterans as possible every trade deadline…

      …Ah hell, I can’t even keep a straight face typing that, and I’m an Avs fan.

  20. desertfan - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:55 PM

    Other Rumour is that now Bettman is going to allow a relocation of an NHL team to Toronto!!!

  21. myopinionisrighterthanyours - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    Larry Tanenbaum just wanted somebody he could lock out since he can’t do it to the players anymore. Toronto fans are probably wondering why this didn’t happen sooner.

  22. matt8204 - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    45 years of lousy hockey…we’ve had enough!

    • elvispocomo - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:51 PM

      Now you’ve had enough?

  23. bucrightoff - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    Word is Burke wanted no part of Luongo and new ownership wants the deal done. So you can pretty much assume:

    a) Luongo will be a Leaf in short order
    b) Whatever GM they hire is going to be the ultimate puppet, likely an executive type with little to no hockey knowledge.

    The Leafs are even more pathetic than I thought.

    • rodeoclowndc - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:15 PM

      Scott Howson on line 1…

  24. ironmike778 - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    Well there goes the Bruins’ farm system.

    • kingfooj - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:15 PM


  25. fikuserectus - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:09 PM

    Not that Burke was going to GM team USA again for the winter Olympics, but now maybe we can get a better general manager for team USA.

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:17 PM

      Burke did a good job of putting team USA together. They did get silver and I believe the gold medal game as a 1 goal game.

      • atwatercrushesokoye - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:30 PM

        And an overtime 1 goal game at that.

  26. augsburg12 - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:17 PM

    As a lifetime Leaf fan. I am very happy about this. I hope Carly is next. About time for a shake up in upper management. Get rid of recycled GM policies most teams have and get some new blood into the league. Welcome back hockey but your not getting my money this year.

  27. dmacnico - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    Burke went 128-135-42 as GM of the Leafs

  28. sadleafsfan - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:33 PM

    I’ve lived in Toronto my whole life, I’m 43..never seen a Stanley Cup. Not Burke’s fault. Toronto front office is to blame. Most profitable team in the NHL win or lose. Fire front office is only solution. At least Toronto has what Montreal will never have……. a black and white photo of their last Cup win.

    • elvispocomo - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:00 PM

      Yeah, they take ’em in colour know don’t you know?

      I guess there are those camera apps where you can make ’em black and white, but where’s the fun in that when they have plenty of photos from around that time when they’d won the two years previous and the two years following the Leafs’ last Cup. Then there’s the 2 wins in the next 4 years after that, then the 4 wins in a row from ’76 to ’79 before their last two wins in ’86 and ’93.

      I don’t think they’re worried.

      • orivar - Jan 9, 2013 at 8:30 PM

        I do believe he was being sarcastic.

  29. moose2k - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    As a Sabres fan I’m sorry to see him go.

  30. misterchainbluelightning - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    So where o’ where are the Leafs fans (mrmojo) who constantly defended this buffoon? One of the best GM’s in the league eh? Didn’t set the Leafs back YEARS?

    Kessel is as good as gone, I hope every Leaf fan knows that Burke traded Segin and Hamilton for “the Kessel years”

    Worst GM in Leafs history.
    Yet many Leafs fans were still blindly defending this joke for years.

    Well, today’s the day, where are ya’ll?

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:35 PM

      I think the Harrold Ballard years and the reign of John Ferguson jr would be considered worse, but I’m not anything close to a Leafs fan so that’s just my outsider opinion.

      • misterchainbluelightning - Jan 9, 2013 at 5:14 PM

        Ya this is true, nothing was worse than Ballard, but a few NTC’s is nothing compared to Burke’s failures.

  31. gbar22 - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:41 PM

    Toronto was a complete gut job from poor mismanagement for years before Burke came so the job was always a challenge a the leafs were always going to lose for a few years so to state his record is not entirely fair without putting it into perspective first. Anyways in the name of fairness over burke’s reign the maple leafs have rebuilt the farm into a better than good system and the years ahead will bear out exactly what Burke did there. However the biggest problem in Toronto is the need to win now which is what led to the overpay in the kessel trade. Leafs fans don’t want to rebuild like Edmonton has they want players now wins now and when you try to build that way post salary cap era it doesn’t work in hockey. This is why the leafs are the joke of a franchise that they are to wait til now to make the change? Come on if you were unhappy why let him run your offseason? Now you will have all of burke’s people in place the person who replaces him will be a Burke guy and nothing changes and if the leafs go on to win this year and next it will be all because of burke’s program that he built there. They should have waited til seasons end or next seasons end to make the move to see what the system yields. Leafs are a joke.

    • somekat - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:59 PM

      Homer did it in Philly. Obviously they haven’t won a cup, but they were the worst team in hockey, AND didn’t get the 1st pick. Yet they went to the ECF the next year, and have been competitive, including a cup final trip, since.

      It’s not as easy as it used to be, but it’s still possible

  32. danphipps01 - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    Carlyle will have to perform superbly to keep his job, then. He was hired as a Burke loyalist and the Leafs management will probably fire him at the first possible opportunity.

  33. kitshky - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    Brian Burke then Dave Nonis..

    This all seems strangely familiar…

    • elvispocomo - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:02 PM

      It’s only familiar if Nonis pulls the trigger on a Luongo trade…oh wait.

      • kitshky - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:45 PM

        Ha! I forgot about that .. of course. Friggn brilliant.

  34. valoisvipers - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    Timing of this is strange to say the least. This has to with his reluctance to acquire Bobby Lou from VCR and unwillingness to sign players to long term deals. Both of these points I would side with Burke.
    Ironic that Burke got fired by VCR just before the 2004-05 lockout and replaced by Nonis. VCR,Lockouts and Nonis don’t seem to work out well for Burke.
    Now watch the Blue Jackets get him for a 4 year rebuild.

    • elvispocomo - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:03 PM

      CBJ just got Davidson, and frankly, they’re better off.

    • elvispocomo - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:08 PM

      Although I wouldn’t mind being first in line for his next team to trade a pretty good player for two 1st rounders and a 2nd round pick.

  35. truwarier90 - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    now just get rid of kessel

  36. thecheeman - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    ZERO excuses for Burke please. He traded two first round picks and more for Kessel when his team was in the dumps. Kessel would have had to have developed into a transcendent player for that trade to be justified, considering the likelihood the Leafs were going to be awful and those picks were going to be high.

    Even if the Toronto market wants a “win now” mentality at the expense of long-term planning, you can usually squeeze a few playoff appearances out with thinking like that, especially when some teams aren’t even trying to spend money.

    He was garbage.

  37. h0ckeycoach - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    No surprise. Someone actually commented here that a lost season was the only way for him to save his job.

  38. sunderlanding - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    I lot of people seem to think this might have something to do with the Luongo trade. I hope not. The Leafs should not trade for Luongo. It won’t fix the problem in Toronto it’ll just put a bandaid on it for a couple of years, and then they’ll be right back where they are now.

  39. dalimanvan - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    wow shocking, speacially that it is January and the Maple Leafs are still in the playoff hunt!!

    • timsabourin - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:35 PM

      And the award in the category of originality for a Leafs insult goes to…not you pal. I bet you had a couple zingers when the disclaimer of interest news was the hot topic too.

      • kitshky - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:24 PM

        Geez man, who pissed in your Cornflakes this morning!? Were finally talking hockey and not HRR …chill.

      • timsabourin - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:49 PM

        It’s pretty sad that passes for ‘talking hockey’ around here, wouldn’t be suprised to hear that a majority of the chimps posting on PHT would agree with you though. Y’all need some knowledge… More than obliged to help out with that.

      • kitshky - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:47 PM

        Dude …it was a pretty simply little joke. Every fan of every team has to hear someone make a joke about their team from time to time, that’s kinda what it’s all about…

        May I suggest you go take a nap and wake up when you get some skin tougher than a newborns.

      • andrewsabourin13 - Jan 9, 2013 at 5:27 PM

        kitshky- its the most recycled joke related to hockey, or have you been living in a hole the past couple months?

    • timsabourin - Jan 9, 2013 at 5:58 PM

      Sounds good kitshky. I’ll be back later to find something else wack to make fun of. Let me know what you’ll be posting on.

      • kitshky - Jan 9, 2013 at 8:59 PM

        You’re a real cheery fella aren’t ya?

  40. thedavesiknowiknow - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    There’s no way he didn’t try to trade himself first.

  41. beergold - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:04 PM

    Good bye and good riddance – You have done nothing for hockey in Toronto except keep it in the gutter!

  42. zetaone - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    I’m just glad I won’t have to hear Leafs fans utter the word “Burkie” anymore.


  43. h0ckeycoach - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:33 PM

    Mic check

  44. girth2k1 - Jan 9, 2013 at 5:54 PM

    Lol, brought back down a few notches I bet

  45. bramptondon - Jan 10, 2013 at 10:46 PM

    Leafs have found a new way to self destruct before the first puck is dropped. Rumour has it that the new owners are going to fire the Zamboni machine next.

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