Former Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke has a new hockey-operations gig – working as a part-time scout for the Anaheim Ducks until the end of year – but said on Sunday he is still acting as a senior adviser to the board of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment.
Burke clarified his unique dual roles prior to the Ducks’ game against the visiting Colorado Avalanche, noting that his new job with Anaheim doesn’t end his involvement with the Leafs.
“To the extent they need my expertise or opinions on anything, that’s still available to them [the board],” said Burke, who noted that the “league has signed off on this. It’s not an unusual arrangement in some ways. In others, it looks different, but the league’s on board with this and it’s fine.
“It’s not a hockey role with the Leafs. … There’s no hockey-operations role, so there’s no conflict there, where I’d be offering advice to one team and conflicting advice to another team.”
Burke will spend the next week here, familiarizing himself with a Ducks team that he led to the 2007 Stanley Cup. But he reiterated that his No. 1 priority is to find another job as an NHL general manager.
“This position is just part-time and it’s just until the end of the season,” he said. “That’s the goal, to get back in the NHL and run a team.”
Burke was replaced as the Maple Leafs’ GM by Dave Nonis just days before the start of the lockout-shortened season. When asked how the last few weeks have been for him, Burke replied: “Different, a little different. I was stunned by the turn of events, but I meant what I said at my press conference – ownership has the right to have whoever they want running the team. That’s part of our job. They decide they want something else, that’s their prerogative as owners.”
As for taking any satisfaction in how well the Leafs are playing, Burke wouldn’t comment.
“I leave that type of stuff to the media,” he said. “The commentary has been favourable that way and I’m grateful. But I’m not going to engage an opinion on that. It’s Dave Nonis’s team. He deserves the credit for it.”