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Leafs ownership had issues with Burke’s “tone and voice”

Jan 9, 2013, 3:11 PM EDT

Image (1) brianburkescowl-thumb-250x173-18264.jpg for post 14921

Brian Burke’s “tone and voice” was a driving factor behind ownership’s decision to fire him as president and general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

And that’s about as much as MLSE president and CEO Tom Anselmi was willing to say today after news broke that Burke had been relieved of his duties.

Anselmi, sitting alongside new Leafs GM Dave Nonis, fielded numerous questions at this afternoon’s press conference in Toronto; however, reporters were still left wondering why specifically Burke was dismissed. And with the season just about to start, why now?

According to Anselmi, the move was not related to a potential trade for Roberto Luongo* or any other single incident, nor did it have anything to do with Burke’s personal life. It was about “leadership style.”

Burke will remain with the organization as a special advisor to the board.

As for Nonis, the new GM isn’t planning to make any key personnel changes in the front office. Cliff Fletcher (special advisor), Claude Loiselle (assistant GM), and Dave Poulin (VP hockey operations) will remain in their roles, and Randy Carlyle will stay on as the head coach.

Nonis believes Burke’s work replenishing the organization’s stockpile of prospects will come to be appreciated down the road, but admitted that the organization needs more players than can make an impact now.

Nonis also made it clear that the Leafs would not be “starting from scratch.”

*Despite reports to the contrary.

Related: Burke era in Toronto: Trades, truculence and tirades

  1. lostpuppysyndrome - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    “Burke will remain with the organization as a special advisor to the board.”

    …what? “We’re going to fire him as GM because we don’t like his ‘tone and voice’ but we’re going to keep him in the room.” So essentially you stripped him of his role because you didn’t like the way he sang, but you’re keeping him around because you wan to hear what he has to say? Uhhhhhh….

    • bucrightoff - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:35 PM

      Its the Leafs, ass backwards thinking is the norm

      • misterchainbluelightning - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:37 PM

        4 out of 10 Leafs fans are actually against his firing, goes to show how sweet & tasty the kool-aid is in Leaf country.

    • elvispocomo - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:12 PM

      That’s not as horrible as it might sound, even if he probably isn’t as interested in helping the Leafs as that role sounds like he should be. He’ll be called upon by Nonis to get his take on some of the direction he was heading and plans for current players and other personnel, but that’s about it.

    • puckish27 - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:17 PM

      He’ll remain “Senior Adviser” for as long as Dale Tallon did in Chicago after he got “promoted”… Until he finds another job.

    • sunderlanding - Jan 11, 2013 at 12:48 AM

      They don’t like his tone and voice as the face of the Maple Leafs, but they respect his knowledge as a hockey man, so keeping him around makes a certain amout of sense.

  2. 127taringa - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:33 PM

    A part of a greater trend. Expressing your opinion is out of style now.

  3. dowhatifeellike - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:44 PM

    If regular people were fired for using the wrong “tone and voice,” half of us would be unemployed. There’s gotta be something more to it, right?

  4. habssuck - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    Who didn’t have an issue with his tone and voice??

  5. misterchainbluelightning - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:58 PM

    You’re allowed all the tone and voice you want when you’re winning. Not when you’re spending millions only to improve the AHL club, never making the playoffs and making the worst Leafs trade since Russ for John and quite possibly the worst in franchise history.

  6. beergold - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:18 PM

    Jesus H Christ!

    ADVISOR TO THE FRIGGIN BOARD??????????????? The Toronto Maple Laffs remain the most irrelevant and worst joke in the NHL!

    Out the door and gone………show some leadership owners!

    • hockeyflow33 - Jan 9, 2013 at 5:31 PM

      Not really, it’s their only way to ensure that he doesn’t go somewhere else they don’t want.

  7. dprouse - Jan 9, 2013 at 5:15 PM

    “Advisor to the Board” simply means that they don’t want Burke out there advising another NHL team for free while still collecting his MLSE pay. It also means that for the next year and a half, Burke will have to seek MLSE’s permission to speak to another club about a job opportunity. They’ll likely grant it, of course, but he has to ask like a good boy if he wants to keep getting paid. There’s a chance that his buddy Nonis will call to ask his advice, but not a chance in hell that the MLSE Board that just fired him will be asking him for anything.

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Jan 10, 2013 at 10:47 AM

      Interesting. So is he still getting a GM’s salary then? I figured getting fired meant losing your pay too.

  8. buffalo65 - Jan 9, 2013 at 5:32 PM

    Not to mention the fact Burke has been awful since hired in Toronto.

  9. tyler4richardson - Jan 9, 2013 at 5:35 PM

    When they say tone of the voice, they really mean way too many sound bites. Burke and Toronto’s media was a recipe for disaster from the start.

  10. icelovinbrotha215 - Jan 9, 2013 at 6:54 PM

    The Leafs remind of the Philadelphia Eagles. Ownership-wise that is.

  11. beerjunkie69 - Jan 10, 2013 at 12:59 AM

    Burke is a D-bag.

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