A Peculiar Fit
Brian Burke to Calgary makes sense on many levels.
And yet makes no sense at all.
So all the unconfirmed reports Wednesday night that had the former Maple Leaf president and general manager joining the Flames in some undefined executive capacity as soon as this week certainly didn't come as a shocker, but at the same time, there's a great many unanswered questions.
At the top of the list would be the following; how, pray tell, is the notoriously independent and single-minded Burke going to work alongside Calgary president Ken King and GM Jay Feaster?
For this to really make sense, Flames principal owner Murray Edwards should be dumping King and Feaster and hiring Burke, who's strong work in rebuilding the Leafs is now becoming clearer, to run the whole operation.
That's how Burke does his best work. He's a take-charge kind of guy, an executive who charges in, tears things apart, brings in his own people and remakes the entire operation in his own image of what a hockey team and organization should look like.
The Flames, having botched so many issues and decisions last year, from the Ryan O'Reilly offer sheet to the Jarome Iginla trade, seem to be the ideal candidate for a Burke-like makeover.
But Burke working under King and Feaster? With limited power? Seriously?
It just doesn't pass the smell test, so we'll see exactly what transpires here when the smoke clears. We know Burke wants to run his own team again, we know he and the Flames have spoken as recently as a month ago, and we know that after chatting with NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan in June the Flames are still very much in the hunt for more hockey IQ.
The notion of Burke running the show in Calgary with Kevin Lowe, Craig MacTavish and Dallas Eakins handling things with the rival Edmonton Oilers certainly presents a juicy scenario, one that would surely re-ignite - at least off the ice - the Battle of Alberta.
Would Cowtown take to Burke? Interesting question. In one sense Flames fans might not like taking on an executive rejected in Vancouver and Toronto not to mention one who basically stole Dion Phaneuf out of Calgary for nothing.
On the other hand, that 2007 Stanley Cup ring with Anaheim still shines brightly, and as mentioned, it's becoming clearer that Burke did an awful lot of good things with the Leafs before Bell boss George Cope decided he didn't fit the MLSE "brand" and canned him in January.
With Sean Monahan, Sven Baertschi, Tyler Wotherspoon and some other good prospects, Calgary already has some pieces in place now that the club has moved on from the Iginla Era.
But the team lacks a convincing front man, and Burke might be perfect in that regard.
But again, what about King and Feaster? Flames ownership can try to make this trio work, but it would be a lot smarter just to let Burke take over because, eventually, he would end up in charge.
So we'll have to see exactly what Edwards and Co. have in mind.