It's Beginning to Feel A Lot Like Christmas
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.--Just because the Maple Leafs are struggling through a difficult season and poised to go into a Murderer's Row set of games this week, it doesn't mean Brian Burke is about to change how he does business.
Burke remains the only NHL general manager who imposes his own pre-Christmas trade freeze, and it will kick in at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday - 10 days before the NHL-wide shutdown - and end at 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 28.
Burke said today before the NHL board of governors meetings commenced at The Breakers resort that while there have been a few nibbles from opposing GMs, he doesn't anticipate any deals prior to Thursday at midnight, which means the Leafs will have to slog through the tough month ahead with the players they have, other than possible callups from the AHL Marlies.
The Leaf president/GM also reiterated that he has no plans to fire head coach Ron Wilson, as he told various outlets on the weekend before the Leafs upset the Boston Bruins 3-2 in a shootout on Saturday. Burke has stopped short so far of guaranteeing Wilson his job through the end of the season, but it's believed the team's trade freeze extends to the coaching staff, as well.
Burke and Leaf chairman Larry Tanenbaum are representing the Leafs at these meetings. While there are rumours about the possible sale of a chunk of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment shares owned by the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan, here there's some speculation that Tanenbaum, who owns 20.5 per cent of MLSE, could be tabbed to succeed Dallas owner Tom Hicks on the board's powerful executive committee, which currently counts Calgary co-owner Murray Edwards as it's only Canadian member.