The Canadiens are slated to open the NHL season on Saturday, Jan. 19 at the Bell Centre against the Toronto Maple Leafs, who will have a new general manager after Brian Burke was officially fired during a 1:45 p.m. press conference Wednesday at the Air Canada Centre.
During the press conference, Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment president Tom Anselmi announced that Dave Nonis will take over as the 14th general manager of the Leafs and that Burke, who had also been team president, will remain with the club as a senior adviser. Nonis had been the Leafs’ senior vice-president of hockey operations.
Burke was GM of the Leafs for just over four years, during which time the team never made the playoffs. The Leafs finished in 13th place in the Eastern Conference last season, when Burke fired Ron Wilson as coach and hired Randy Carlyle to replace him.
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Postmedia News national columnist Cam Cole says that the Leafs’ next move should be getting goalie Roberto Luongo from the Canucks. Read his column by clicking here.
Here are some of the Tweets that were posted by media members when the news first broke about an hour before the press conference:
Pierre LeBrun of TSN/ESPN from New York: “Close GMs friends of Burke’s arriving here for BOG in NYC had no clue. They’re stunned.”
TSN’s Darren Dreger: “Timing of Burke dismissal very odd. He and all brass were at Marlies game last night in Hamilton. Truth will surface. Something fishy.”
Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun: ”I could be wrong, but I don’t believe the Burke firing has anything to with Luongo. I believe there are other issues at play here.”
Ken Campbell of The Hockey News: “Biggest question. Overall, did Brian Burke leave the Leafs as an organization in worse shape than he got it? From this corner – absolutely.”
(Photo by Chris Young/The Canadian Press)