Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Family ties may yet see Burke Fly

While the Toronto Maple Leafs continue to acquire acquaintances and former co-workers of Brian Burke for Central Canada’s greatest circus, Burke himself has provided yet more grist for the Burkie’s on his way mill.

Yesterday Burke appeared on the NHL Live radio program and offered up that he has no problems with his current work environment with the Ducks, but that he still has concerns with much of his family still on the East coast, while he works on the Western one.

Now if ever that was going to be music to the ears of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment than this is the time.

Last week, Cliff Fletcher suddenly advised the media battalions at the gates of the ACC, that the big job search was on the back burner for a bit, while he took the reins to run the Leafs for this coming season. That less than surprising development sent conspiracy buffs of hockey into overdrive. More than one coming to the conclusion, that Fletcher was merely keeping the seat warm for the eventual arrival of everyone’s favourite pick to pick up the pieces in Toronto.

Subsequent hiring’s of Ron Wilson as head coach and Al Coates as player personnel developer have only confirmed for the converted that no matter what, it will only be a matter of time before the brash, boisterous, articulate and occasionally bullying Burkie will be holding the press briefings that hockey’s most intense press corps are longing for.

The prospect of such media events leaves you with an air of excitement, as the famous Irish temper and wilting one liners clash with some of the nations most tenured group of hockey journalists. A battle of give and take that will liven up the Toronto sports scene like nothing we’ve seen before.

While the Ballard years were a sideshow in need of a closing act and the recent follies just leave you almost sympathetic for Leaf fans (not quite but for a second eh), should Burke take on the task of turning around the NHL’s most financially successful, yet statistically diminished hockey team, the folks will at least know that they are in store for some entertaining times and stories told on their television sets, radios and delivered to their newspaper boxes.

With the FOB's (Friends of Burkie) now in place, many say its only a matter of time before the Chairman of the Board himself takes his rightful place in the boardroom of the leagues most talked about franchise.

And with Draft day almost upon us, the eyes of the HockeyNation will be upon Scotiabank Place, to see if Burkie and Cliff happen to strike up a conversation and if anything other than draft picks and trades come up for discussion.

All that bluster and potential theatre is surely being wasted in California, bring it on to Bay Street where it belongs, it will be just the thing to shake Toronto from its sleepy hockey slumber…

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