It’s official: Burke to Maple Leafs.

…and you can all (both?) breathe a sigh of relief that you’ll hear no more Brian Burke updates in this space. From

TORONTO (AP) — Brian Burke and the Toronto Maple Leafs have agreed to a six-year deal for the former Anaheim general manager to take over as president and GM, The Associated Press learned Thursday night.

“The deal is done,” said a person familiar with the negotiations who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team isn’t ready to announce it. That could come Saturday.

The Canadian Press and the Globe and Mail first reported the agreement.

Burke spent the past three-plus seasons with the Ducks, leading them to a Stanley Cup title in 2007. He stepped down Nov. 12 after declining to sign a contract extension that would take him beyond this season.

“I am really excited that Brian is able to get this straightened out, if it is true,” Toronto coach Ron Wilson said.

Burke, Wilson’s college roommate at Providence, will replace Cliff Fletcher, hired as interim general manager following John Ferguson’s firing in January.

“He’s done a great job setting the table for Burkie. An unbelievable job,” Wilson said after the Maple Leafs’ 2-1 shootout loss in Ottawa on Thursday night.

Burke, also Vancouver’s former general manager, worked with Toronto player personnel director Al Coates with the Ducks.

Report: Burke to Leafs tomorrow.


Brian Burke has not been issued his official Toronto Maple Leafs cellphoneyet, but he is the club’s new president and general manager.

A contract agreement was reached yesterday between Toronto lawyer Gord Kirke, who handled the negotiations for the Leafs, and Burke’s lawyer, Peter Gall. Burke plans to review and sign the six-year contract today, and the NHL club is planning the big announcement for tomorrow before the Leafs’ game against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Burke indicated in an e-mail message that Gall told him a deal was struck by yesterday afternoon. The former Anaheim Ducks GM said he has not “reviewed or signed” the contract, “but it will get done.” A Maple Leafs source also indicated an agreement was reached.

Burke has been in Boston all week with his family to celebrate the U.S. Thanksgiving and did not plan to travel to Toronto until today at the earliest.

He said earlier that he expected the contract, which covers the rest of this NHL season and five more at $3-million (U.S.) a year, to be wrapped up by tomorrow at the latest.

Interesting Brian Burke update.

From the Winnipeg Sun, which reports that everything has been prepared for Burke to take over the Maple Leafs’ front office, save a contract. That won’t be signed until after Thanksgiving, while Burke spends the remainder of the week in Boston with family.

While that has been widely reported the past 48 hours, Duck fans should care that David Nonis is reporting to be leaving Anaheim to be Burke’s No. 2 in Toronto. Nonis wasn’t here long; Burke plucked Nonis from Vancouver’s front office last summer after the latter was fired by the Canucks. He was passed over last week for the Ducks’ No. 2 executive position in favor of David McNab, who simply absorbed the No. 2 duties (as GM of the AHL affiliate and director of all scouting) on top of his existing salary-cap guru role.

Basically, when Bob Murray went to a 2-man front office, Nonis was the odd man out in Anaheim; a move to Toronto makes perfect sense for him. Consider it Burke’s first raid of his former team. (Though Burke, for the record, is still a paid consultant to Ducks CEO Michael Schulman).

If you remember Ruslan Salei in a Ducks uniform…

You would have liked the Ducks’ video tribute to Salei midway through the Ducks’ 4-1 win on Monday.

What I like about the video tributes is watching how the player responds. Sean O’Donnell, for example, didn’t budge for his tribute when the Kings visited the other week. On the other end of the spectrum, Ilya Bryzgalov nearly broke out crying the first time he visited Honda Center in a Phoenix Coyotes uniform last year.

Salei? He looked up, waved to the crowd, then said this after the game:

I think it was a really classy thing to do and I appreciate it. The fans responded, it seems like they still remember me even though it’s been two years since I was here. It’s always touching. It’s an amazing feeling when people remember you.”

Breaking: Burke buys “Civil War Times”


Brian Burke reportedly left his Anaheim-era residence today, grabbed a coffee at Pete’s — they don’t have Tim Hortons in Southern California — and bought Civil War Times magazine at a Los Angeles International Airport newsstand en route to Toronto.

The speculation surrounding Burke possibly becoming the Maple Leafs’ next general manager has often reached absurd levels over the past year, with all matter of minutiae reported and many attempts by sportswriters to connect the dots of separate moves by each party.

But it does appear the long-rumoured partnership could be forged some time very soon.

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Report: Burke, Leafs talk parameters


After a quiet weekend, talks between Brian Burke and the Toronto Maple Leafs are expected to heat up Monday, according to an NHL source.

Burke returned to his home in Anaheim on the weekend after spending several days in Vancouver last week while his wife, Jennifer, handled a freelance broadcasting assignment.

There were talks between Burke’s lawyer, Peter Gall, and the Leafs about the team’s president and general manager opening, but only to establish the timing of the negotiations and some broad parameters of a potential deal. Burke plans to do his own negotiating, while Toronto sports lawyer Gord Kirke and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment president Richard Peddie will be involved from the Leafs’ side.

Money is not expected to be an obstacle in the talks. The major issue is likely to be how much power Burke would have in the post and who he would report to, although the Leafs seem willing to grant him the same control that Toronto Raptors president and GM Bryan Colangelo has on the basketball side of MLSE. It is possible Burke could be hired by the end of the week.

Christmas is coming early.

The Anaheim Ducks announced that the Wild Wingers Kids Club and Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) have teamed up for the third annualKits for Kids Donation Drive, giving Ducks fans the opportunity to purchase Kids Club kits for CHOC patients. Every $20 Kids Club kit purchased by Ducks fans will be personally delivered by Ducks players when the team makes its holiday visit to the hospital in December.

Continue reading “Christmas is coming early.” »

Bad news for Beauch; Ryan, Festerling recalled.

Francois Beachemin’s bad news is good news for Bobby Ryan and Brett Festerling.

The Ducks placed Beauchemin on long-term injured reserve Saturday after an MRI exam revealed a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. The defenseman is expected to miss approximately six months, which projects to May 2009 — around the time of the NHL Conference Finals.

Continue reading “Bad news for Beauch; Ryan, Festerling recalled.” »