Monday, November 24, 2008

The negotiators

This may finally be the week that we hear the end of the Brian Burke is coming to Toronto stories, and depending on how the timbre of the negotiations takes place it will either be with Burke signing on the dotted line of a Maple Leaf contract, or heading out on the road seeking out fame and fortune with any number of other potential suitors.

All the odds suggest that it will be a fairly quick resolution to the question of when he signs a contract, apparently the only item on the table that may be a sticking point is how much power the Leafs are willing to put in the hands of Burke and whether that power would provide with the ability to change the Leafs culture.

It would mark a fairly significant change of direction for the Leafs high office dwellers, who in the past have seemed to relish in their ability to intercede into operations at the most inopportune times.

Burke who is clearly well schooled in the art of contract negotiations is set to negotiate for himself, while Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment President Richard Peddie and Toronto Sports lawyer Gord Kirke will work on cobbling together a satisfactory conclusion to the long running soap opera of Toronto management moves.

The idea of Burke joining the Leafs has been one of those simmering soups on the back burner for a while now, his recent exodus from Anaheim marking just another notch upwards on the temperature setting to bring the soup to a boil.

Monday, the Leafs will see if they can finish cooking up their deal, considering the amount of time and press coverage invested in the plan so far, it seems rather unlikely that they would let Burke get away or let the negotiations get too far off track.

Getting Brian Burke to sign on to a Maple Leaf contract has become almost an expected event, all that remains is for the actual event to take the place of the speculation. That could very well happen before the end of the week.

Globe and Mail-- Burke, Leafs set to talk

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