Sportsnet broke into their US Thanksgiving Day coverage of really bad football Thursday (CFL fans breath easy the northern game is still far more entertaining to what they peddle below the 49th), to share details with an anxious Leaf Nation that deliverance was soon to visit in the visage of Brian Burke.
Not exactly the scoop of the century, considering the fact that most media outlets have been suggesting all week that the big announcement is to come on Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday, a move that will share the joy across the country or more likely annoy the hell out of the outposts beyond Toronto with the idea that what's good for Toronto is of interest to the rest of the Canadian teams.
While Toronto does need a bit of direction it would seem, this coronation broadcast to the rest of the nation might just rekindle those ancient hatreds of the Leafs that have given way to pity over the last few years.
As for the big announcement, Sportsnet seeking to find a share in the story of the month, said that they had the goods on the deal, a contract valued at 18 million over six years, with Burke only answering to one management name, Richard Peddie firmly ensconced in the Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment command bunker.
Upon the puffs of white smoke from the Air Canada Centre on Saturday will be the announcement of Burke as the Leafs thirteenth General Manager since the franchise joined the NHL. It's been one of the most anticipated of announcements in Leaf Nation in many a year it would seem, judging by the amount of attention his every move has been greeted with since he announced his departure from the Anaheim Ducks.
While the bankers, accountants and lawyers work on the final bits of detail, the stage is being built for Saturday's announcement, a sideshow that seems to be one part sports negotiation and one part papal election.
We aren't sure if we are looking forward to that wall to wall coverage from the CBC on Saturday, we wonder if they'll remember that there are five other teams in the league, some of which have played some fairly entertaining hockey for most of the last ten years. Hockey that has come without near the drama that every burp, cough and conversation that comes out of Toronto seems to provide for.
If nothing else finally getting Burke's name on a contract might return the focus to the hockey that the Leafs play, which has been surprisingly half decent for the bulk of the season so far.
It will be with interest that Leafs fans (and those that are inclined to follow the soap opera they've become) watch and see if the Burke years will match up with all the hype of deliverance that they have been heralded to bring.
National Post-- Burke, Leafs appear to have reached a deal
National Post-- Former GM MacLean breaks down Burke's big questions
Globe and Mail-- Burke in the bag
Globe and Mail-- The life of Brian
CBC Sports-- Burke, Leafs hammer out deal: source
Toronto Sun-- Burke's in, what's next?
Toronto Star-- Burke and Leafs reach deal
Toronto Star-- All Burke has to do is sign name
Toronto Star-- Burke, Wilson dynamic duo