Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The right Mallard for the job at hand

The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim are under new ownership and as of today the hockey side of the team is under new management as well. Brian Burke was introduced to the Los Angeles sports media today taking over as General Manager of the team that Mickey and Donald once called their own.

The former GM of the Vancouver Canucks takes control of an enigmatic squad, one which a few years ago looked set to dominate the Western half of the NHL when Bryan Murray carefully nurtured his Ducks to a Stanley Cup playoff run.

The task for Burke now is to make the Ducks competitive and lure back hockey fans that most likely have forgotten about the team completely. For the moment cuts in season ticket rates will be used to try and bring back some fans. Burke plans to meet with the current coach Mike Babcock in what effectively will be an interview to keep his job.

Burke was adamant that he wanted the team to take a different path than the most recent journey has taken them, it will be up to Burke to decide if Babcock is on the same page as him. Burke had a fair amount of success in Vancouver and is a pretty good acquisition by the new Duck owners. He believes in a strong work ethic and dislikes anyone who dogs his time on the ice or causes dissent in the dressing room. Ask Fedor Federov the former Canucks was sent to Winnipeg and never surfaced again under Burkes watch, a cautionary tale for brother Sergei who no doubt has already been warned about Burke.

A colourful manager, Burke is never afraid to speak his mind and should be a rather successful promoter for his new team. The Ducks seemed normally content to sit as the second banana to the Kings, Burke will shake a few trees in Anaheim and make sure that the hockey played at the Pond is the style of play to bring back the crowds. His players will find that they are more involved in their community and Burke himself will make sure his team makes the sportscasts each night. Considering the fact that LA is the second largest market in the USA it would seem that the Ducks have indeed picked the right guy to lead them out of the hockey wilderness.

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