The hockey world got their first surprise of the shortened 2012-13 season. Just a few days before training camps open around the league, the Toronto Maple Leafs have fired general manager Brian Burke.
"Toronto Maple Leafs have apparently fired Brian Burke as general manager. Working on official confirmations."
It's not so much a shock that Burke was fired, but the timing of the firing. Obviously something drastic had to have happened over the last few days. If something out of the ordinary didn't happen, why did Burke keep his job before, during, and a few days after the lockout concluded? Especially after he made a key trade to beef up the strength of his forwards this offseason.
Burke sent defenseman Luke Schenn to the Philadelphia Flyers for forward James van Riemsdyk. Both players were top five picks but ultimately haven't lived up to the hype they brought in to each franchise. Burke wanted the Leafs to be more physical, and Van Riemsdyk surely fits the bill.
But maybe it's the trade that Burke hasn't pulled off that is the reason for his firing. All offseason long (before the lockout at least) there were rumors of Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo being shipped off to Toronto.
The Maple Leafs haven't had consistent goaltending in years, and the blame for that fell on Burke. Bringing in Luongo would surely give the team an elite goalie and speed up the rebuild for one of the leagues original six teams.
Nobody knows the details of how those trade talks have gone, but surely the firing has something to do with not pulling off the trade that the Leafs needed to make.
More details should surface as the days go on, but either way fans of the Maple Leafs are happy with the news.
That's for sure.