Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 10/14/12 at 01:11 AM ET
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
In the most inactive summer of Brian Burke’s time running the Maple Leafs, you have to wonder: What did his friend, Gary Bettman, tell him about the coming season?
And can Burke’s quiet approach to making over the Leafs be attributed in any way to a belief there will not be an NHL season?
Burke never went out an acquired the veteran goaltender he said he wasn’t going to get at the end of last season. He wasn’t in any way aggressive in the free agent market, which is understandable considering the mistakes made in the past. He never found the first-line centre he hoped for — and has this odd belief that James vanRiemsdyk, a winger with talent and marginal success, can be that centre.
The biggest names on the Leafs — Dion Phaneuf, Phil Kessel, James Reimer — are not playing overseas, getting ready for a season that might not be.
Without playing this season, the Leafs don’t have to account for the final years on the contracts of players such as Tim Connolly, Matthew Lombardi, Clarke MacArthur and Tyler Bozak, which frees up $13 million in salaries for starting over post-lockout. A chance to begin anew with youngsters like Morgan Rielly not that far away.
You wonder: What was Burke told about this season? You wonder, with his closeness to the league and his friendship with Bettman, what he’s known all along.
continue for a few more hockey notes...
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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