Toronto Maple Leafs

Toronto Maple Leafs Fire GM Brian Burke

MONTREAL, CANADA - MARCH 3:  Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke speaks to the media during a press conference to introduce new head coach Randy Carlyle at the Bell Centre on March 3, 2012 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images
Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistJanuary 9, 2013

With the NHL season just days away from kicking off, the Toronto Maple Leafs have fired general manager Brian Burke, according to Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet and Jesse Spector of Sporting News:

Breaking #NHL news confirmed #Leafs Brian Burke done with the Leafs.Details to follow.

— Nick Kypreos (@RealKyper) January 9, 2013

Leafs schedule “major announcement” for 1:45 p.m., so, yeah.

— Jesse Spector (@jessespector) January 9, 2013

 

UPDATE: Wednesday, Jan. 9, 3:00 p.m. ET by Donald Wood

The Toronto Maple Leafs have released an official statement (via ESPN) about the dismissal of Brian Burke as the general manager and who the team hired as his replacement:

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced Wednesday that David Nonis has been named to the role of Senior Vice-President and General Manager, effective immediately. Nonis becomes the 14th General Manager in franchise history, having previously served as Senior Vice-President of Hockey Operations since joining the club December 6, 2008. Brian Burke has been relieved of his duties as President and General Manager, but will stay on in a Senior Advisory role to MLSE President and C.O.O. Tom Anselmi and the MLSE Board of Directors.

---End of Update---

 

UPDATE: Wednesday, January 9 at 1:50 p.m. ET by Timothy Rapp

According to Bob McKenzie of TSN, Burke will be replaced by Dave Nonis:

Dave Nonis is the next GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Unclear whether that is interim or unconditional appointment.

— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) January 9, 2013

Nonis appointment as GM and senior VP is not interim.

— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) January 9, 2013

However, Burke will remain with the Maple Leafs in a different capacity, as Kevin McGran of the Toronto Sun reports:

anselmi: burke will stay on as senior advisor

— Kevin McGran (@kevin_mcgran) January 9, 2013

---End of Update---

 

Burke was hired by the Maple Leafs in November of 2008 to help turn around a franchise that had an amazing fanbase but lacked a real Stanley Cup-contending team. With the veteran executive’s success in Anaheim (won the Stanley Cup in the 2006-07 season), Toronto expected the same.

Since Burke took over as GM, the Maple Leafs have failed to reach the playoffs once and have not finished better than fourth in the Northeast Division. That is flat-out awful and unacceptable for a team with as much prestige as Toronto.

 

What It Means

The NHL is just a few days from opening the doors on training camp, and Burke's early removal is sure to rattle the cages of the returning players and coaches.

With the league’s season already shortened to 48 games by the lockout (h/t SI.com), the media chaos that usually surrounds the Maple Leafs will now will be through the roof.

The new GM in Toronto will face an unbelievably tough task.

 

What’s Next

There are many young players on the Maple Leafs that could be NHL stars in the future, but this is a roster capable of winning now.

If that means making a few trades that Burke was not willing to make, the new general manager should be looking to make a name for himself by being the man that finally brings a star goalie like Roberto Luongo to Toronto ( h/t TSN hockey analyst Bob McKenzie).

While possible replacement options will likely come to light after the official announcement of Burke’s dismissal is made, the Maple Leafs must act fast to find the team’s next GM.

 

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