While the Fifth Feather will usually include recaps of Blackhawks’ games the following day, we’re taking today off. It’s just too difficult. It’s not that we don’t respect St. Louis; it’s just that we don’t enjoy getting beat by Andy McDonald and the Blues’ three third lines. So, let’s move on.
A few interesting rumors have gathered some steam during the past twenty-four hours. First, the Toronto Sun weighed in on the Brian Burke situation this morning.
Brian Burke will be the next general manager of the Maple Leafs. He can’t say that for publication. And he won’t say that as he continues to protect his situation. But it is absolutely and certainly clear. This is the job he desires. There is no Boston in the mix. There is no Chicago. There is no other team or option that he cares about. This is the place. This is where he wants to live and work. Now it’s only a matter of when. “This,” a source said, “solves all of (his) problems.” The Leafs can’t begin to discuss the general manager position with Burke until the Anaheim Ducks send a letter informing the National Hockey League that any team is free to discuss employment with their former GM. That letter is expected to be in the league office no later than Wednesday. By next weekend, barring contract snags of any kind, Burke could well be in charge of the Leafs in time to watch the honouring of Wendel Clark’s jersey number. Much will depend on how quickly a contract arrangement can be negotiated between Burke and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. What he is interested in is getting back to work in a Canadian environment, where hockey matters, where the game is central, where he doesn’t have to travel much anymore, where he can be part of the buzz rather than have to create it. What he is interested in and challenged by is taking on the largest market in hockey, with a struggling team, and a contender to build. Last season, when it became apparent that Ken Holland, GM of the Detroit Red Wings, had no interest in leaving his position, Burke became the popular choice to take over the Leafs. In fact, when independent search committee leader Gordon Kirke made his presentation to the MLSEL board of directors months ago, Kirke identified the then-working Burke as the No. 1 candidate to run the Leafs.
I think this makes the most sense. The Toronto Maple Leafs are, well, the Toronto Maple Leafs, and this represents an incredible opportunity for Brian Burke: take the NHL’s capstone franchise, and bring back their winning ways. As attractive as possible opportunities in Chicago or Boston may be, this one is one of the best in professional sports. Let’s not mention blackhawkbob’s fondness for Dale Tallon. (OK, let’s mention it quickly. He’s the General Manager of one of the youngest, most competitive franchises in the NHL right now. Leave him be for a bit, shall we, Mr. McDonough and Mr. Bowman?)
Also, from the Boston Globe, we have this McNugget:
Rumors abound that the Blackhawks are closing in on a deal with the Capitals to acquire ex-Bruin forward Michael Nylander, 36, who also played here for a couple of seasons. With so many young players in the Blackhawks lineup, Nylander’s veteran presence would help. Nylander missed half of last season because of injury, but has been healthy from the start this season, collecting two goals and 9 points.
Now, I like Michael Nylander; don’t get me wrong. But, didn’t the Hawks just trade his twin brother at the end of the summer who, by the way, made slightly less money? This isn’t happening. Don’t hold your breath. (You can hold your breath; just don’t do it on account of the ‘Hawks acquiring Nylander.)
Finally, San Jose’s in town tomorrow evening. Two points against the conference power before the circus trip would really be nice.
Santa? You out there? Too early? The Fifth Feather’s been good…