11:06am - Brian Burke is no longer GM of Anaheim Ducks—News Conference this afternoon will bring new info!
Long speculated to be the top choice for the GM role of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Brian Burke has stepped down.
He will be replaced by Senior VP of Hockey Operations, Long tenured Hockey Exec Bob Murray.
TSN.ca is reporting that though Burke will remain in an advisory capacity with the Ducks for the remainder of his contract, Murray will have final say on hockey decisions.
The move has come quickly. Meeting just last week with ownership, Burke informed the team he wouldn't be renewing his contract beyond this season for family reasons. Burke has family on the east coast, and ventures back and forth two to three times a month.
Additionally, Burke himself has said that Toronto is the Vatican in terms of hockey teams and history or importance in the league. Many rumors have flown since his former college friend, Ron Wilson (another former Duck Coach), was picked as the new Leafs Coach, and speculation was everywhere that, even though under contract, Burke was pulling the strings and lining up the Toronto Maple Leafs in anticipation of his contract's expiration.
This is easy in the California sports landscape. The news conference won't even get top billing among local sports stations, though it will be a blurb. He'll disappear and re-appear in Toronto and few in Anaheim will have any idea, sadly.