Sitting Duck: Why Brian Burke Isn't the Toronto Maple Leafs' GM

josh millarSenior Analyst IJuly 21, 2008

With some of the moves the Toronto Maple Leafs have been making, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Brian Burke was the man the Leafs were after.


Ron Wilson, Burke’s former college buddy at Providence, is the new head coach. Al Coates, a former colleague of Burke’s in Anaheim, is the new director of player personnel.


So where in the world is Brian Burke?


Burke is serving out his final year in Anaheim, because Ducks owner Henry Samueli wouldn’t release him from the final year of his contract. It doesn’t make sense to have someone doing a job they don’t want to do, right? Well for Samueli this may all just be a pre-emptive strike.


Samueli is a shrewd businessman—follow me here folks.


Both the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice have been investigating Broadcom Corporation for backdating of stock options. The investigation reportedly began in mid-February 2007.


Samueli, the former CEO of Broadcom Corporation, resigned as CEO of his own company on May 15—warning sign number one that something was amiss.


Following the conclusion of the Ducks' season, amid rumors that Burke would be on his way to the Maple Leafs, Samueli announced that he would not release Burke from his contract for the upcoming season.


On June 23, 2008,  just weeks after not releasing Burke, Samueli pleaded guilty for lying to SEC for $2.2 billion of backdating. He was suspended indefinitely as the Ducks' owner by the National Hockey League.


Interesting, isn’t it? Not really, but alas—there’s a reason why I’m telling you this.


Whose decision is it to name the new GM?  The owner! OOPS! The owner, who is now suspended by the league, rendering him incapable of making such decisions.


What will the Ducks do? Oh that’s right—they still have a GM for the season! Wonder why that is? Maybe just maybe Samueli knew what was coming? After all, it’s not like there were warning signs. Oh, that’s right—I just outlined them all.


One thing is clear—under Burke the Ducks are a playoff contender, while the Leafs throw away the next season waiting for him.


Leafs fans can blame one man—Henry Samueli!