From a source:
“I’m hearing Leafs will try to sign him immediately upon his release and Burke will be very reasonable in terms of money/term/bonuses to get the job-he really wants it. There is still some issue as to how long the Ducks will expect to keep him on which is clouding the timing somewhat. Leafs really like what Fletch has done and would happily let him finish out the year, but without a guarantee that Holland et al will be available or interested they have no choice but to get this done now. There are rumblings that Fletch may want to shed his interim tag and some in ownership that would welcome that but Burke will be the guy. On the periphery, I’m hearing the Islanders and the Senators (what?) may be interested in him as well.
As far as Blakeâ€¦ he is very unpopular in the dressing room. However, if the Leafs are moving on Burke, I donâ€™t know. They aren’t going to make a major decision like that without his input. Itâ€™s not the leafs style to have a $4m/yr player in the minors.”
If we didn’t know before, we do now. The question that remains is when, but based on the fact that Brian Burke’s going to serve in a “senior adviser” position in the interim indicates to me that he’s going to have to standby a while before the Leafs actually make the hire. I hope that Cliff Fletcher will be allowed to finish out his restructuring at the deadline in order to have the table set for Burke’s arrival, which will likely take place as soon as the Leafs‘ ’08/’09 campaign concludes. That seems like the right thing to do. As much as you can dispute some of the individual decisions Cliff opted to make, if you look at the whole of what he’s accomplished I don’t think we could’ve asked for more. If I had it my way, Cliff would be here long-term (so much of this team seems to be “his”), but that was never going to be the case. I don’t like the actual hire (if/when it happens), but a clear plan is in place so I’m willing to give this move it’s fair shake.
Past Burke-related posts: http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog.php?post_id=17404
Some thoughts on last night’s game in Calgary…
After capitalizing early on a sluggish half-period from the Flames, the Maple Leafs seemed to awake a sleeping giant last night inside the Saddledome. An impressive gathering of animated Leafs supporters looked on as their Blue and White’s ardent fore-check and high-velocity brand of game was brought to a halt by the brute force of a very physical Flames defense that, in concert with the nonplussed Mikka Kiprusoff, stifled the Leafs’ offense save for the book ends of the game.
The score-line was flattery towards the Leafs, but their unshakable no-quit attitude in spite of their offensive frustration was again praise-worthy. After a revivifying Flames own-goal that narrowed the gap to one, it looked as though a late comeback of incredible proportions might have just been in the cards. The draw was won, the goalie pulled and the zone set up, but the Leafs passed themselves to death and never got a shot off. C’est la vie.
The Flames dominated down low in both ends of the rink. Luke Schenn certainly didn’t play one of his better games, whiffing on a clearance opportunity (leading to the first goal) and coughing up the puck cheaply on a few occasions. Watching the Leafs hit the ice to block-shots this year has been refreshing to an extent, but it appears as if they’re almost overdoing do it and taking themselves out of the play a little too frequently.
Looking at the defense statistically, the Maple Leafs are limiting the number of shots allowed to the tune of sixth in the league in that statistical category, but Vesa Toskala’s slow start to the year (.883 save %) combined with an abominable penalty kill (easily the league’s worst at 71.4%) appear to be overshadowing that positive (the two are to some extent interrelated). Thankfully, the Leafs are the most disciplined team in the league at a 10.6 penalty minutes/game average, but Ron Wilson’s got some serious work ahead of him in the PK department. The Leafs’ 146 give-aways (7th worst in the league) are also a definite contributor to the team’s fourth worst goals-against-average.