The timing of the Brian Burke decision out of Anaheim is interesting to say the least. After vehemently denying the rumours of a possible move throughout the summer (which is to be expected – after all, any peripheral negotiations about his future would constitute tampering), it seemed that any real news out of the Burke camp would have to wait until next summer. The inference was that Burke would fulfill his contractual obligations that last through to the end of the â€˜08/â€™09 campaign. Suddenly and rather unexpectedly, Burkeâ€™s been shifted into a new capacity in a move essentially aimed at enabling him to negotiate with other outfits (but still renders him unable to make the actual move until heâ€™s given a release by the Ducks).
So why were the Ducks willing to let Burke make off at this point of the year?
I looked into this through a reliable source close to the situation. Hereâ€™s what I gathered:
Itâ€™s no secret that Burke has been on uneven terms with Ducks CEO Michael Schulman, the man who mandated that Burke fulfill his contract even though he refused to sign an extension due to his continued desire to move northeast for personal reasons.
Burkeâ€™s not the kind of guy to suppress his disdain. The behind the scenes working environment has been tense to say the least. This move seems to be predicated on this tension.
It seems that Schulman finally reciprocated the sentiment and has similarly had enough, no longer wishing to force a restless Burke to retain his position for the year.
This has to be substantiated by the fact that this is a lose-lose for the Ducks: they are one of the Cup favourites and may be only a piece or two away from again reaching the pinnacle. Burke is known as exactly that type of GM who can make the perfect trade, so why wouldnâ€™t they keep him on? He knows this personnel, this is his team and he is considered one of the top executives in the game. This was about a fallout plain and simple. If itâ€™s not, why wouldnâ€™t they have done this before the season started or after it finished.
The facts surrounding this situation havenâ€™t changed other than the augmentation of Burkeâ€™s palpable contempt.
I’ve been hearing of rumours of a dubious situation in Tampa since August. Apparently, Dan Boyle was strong-armed out of there by the threat of being waived and picked up by Atlanta. The financial situation isn’t any prettier… rumours are that Koules and Barrie are cash poor and that the purchase loan for the team is very strict. Many were suggesting this team was bound to crash and burn back in the summer. It’s definitely an interesting situation that’s unfolding in West Florida.