How quick everyone was to lambast Brian Burke when he was hastily fired as general manager by the Toronto Maple Leafs brass prior to the start of this season. With the Toronto team which Burke built off to a pretty decent start with 16 points in 13 games, why was he fired again? Oh yeah, because of his failure to build a playoff contending team.
Reportedly, Burke made his first appearance at the Air Canada Centre this season during the Leafs game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday evening. Several players that Burke had acquired during his tenure as GM were instrumental in the Leafs’ 5-2 victory over the Flyers. Certainly this not only brought a smile to Burke’s face, but it also brought him some vindication.
However, the return of Burke was a bittersweet reunion when Toronto goalie James Reimer injured his knee against the Flyers. Reimer is expected to miss at least one week with a strained knee ligament. The club is hoping that Reimer makes a quick recovery, since backup Ben Scrivens is wet behind the ears.
Speaking of wet behind the ears, maybe Toronto rookie GM Dave Nonis should ask Burke his opinion on who to sign as a third netminder. Since Burke is still on the Leafs payroll, why not put him to work? Naturally, Burke still has a strong attachment to this team because he would not have have agreed to remain around the organization after the demotion.
If the Reimer situation is not handled properly by Nonis, it could deflate the momentum the team has succeeded in building during the early part of this season. With Burke still on good terms with the Leafs, it appears Nonis has all the tools at his disposal to help him make a solid decision.
The Leafs have won four consecutive games and their next game is on the road against the Carolina Hurricanes. The Canes game and the next few on the schedule will not only be a test for Scrivens, but also for Nonis.
Hopefully, Nonis comes out of this situation looking just as good as the old GM is currently looking, whose stock has only risen due to the Leafs strong start. However, Burke should not expect any apologies from his naysayers just yet.