Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke is different from a lot of other NHL general managers for a wide variety of reasons – not just because he’s one of the sport’s great executive showmen.
His fierce – some might say stubborn – loyalty stands out among those qualities. While neighboring GM Bryan Murray seems to shed head coaches like snakes lose skin, Burke has allowed Ron Wilson to stay despite increasing pressure to remove his beloved bench boss.
As Michael Woods reports, it would be more than just a “hockey decision” for Burke (even if he claims otherwise).
Burke and Wilson were born a month apart, were college roommates and teammates on the Providence College Friars hockey team in Rhode Island in the 1970s and have been friends ever since.
(If more details like that aren’t enough for you to follow the link, go there for the mind-blowing photo of Burke and Wilson as co-captains at Providence College.)
Sports front offices base a lot of their decisions on loyalty and familiarity – just look at how wildly predictable Darryl Sutter’s hiring was in Los Angeles – but even with that in mind, Burke and Wilson’s roots go deep.
It’s not like that’s the only instance when Burke’s been a man of his word almost to a fault, either. Personally, his handling of Ilya Bryzgalov in Anaheim was particularly memorable. Instead of holding onto the talented (then) backup, he allowed Breezy to get a real chance to start with another team. He ended up putting outstanding numbers with the Phoenix Coyotes and earning that huge contract with the Philadelphia Flyers in the process.
If you ask me, Burke’s moving the Maple Leafs in a solid direction. There’s the instinct to believe that the two might go off the cliff Thelma & Louise-style if Toronto’s playoff drought continues this season, but it might just come down to Burke firing his friend and coach.
Don’t expect it to be an easy leap, though.
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Forward Stefan Noesen has agreed to a one-year contract to stay with the Anaheim Ducks.
Anaheim confirmed the two-way deal Monday.
Noesen (NAY-sun) appeared in one game in each of the past two seasons for the Ducks, who acquired him from Ottawa in 2013.
The 2011 first-round pick by the Senators has spent most of the past three seasons in the AHL with Anaheim’s affiliates in Norfolk and San Diego. He scored 32 points in 65 games for the Gulls last season.
The 23-year-old Texas native’s pro career has been hindered by two major injuries. He missed practically all of the 2013-14 season with torn ligaments in his left knee, and he missed four months of the 2014-15 season after an opponent’s skate blade nearly severed his right Achilles tendon.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Twitter will live stream for free one Major League Baseball game and one NHL game per week under a new deal.
The agreement announced Monday will allow viewers to watch games nationally that would normally be available only in the two teams’ home markets. Users will not need to be logged into Twitter to see the games.
The baseball games will also be available outside the U.S., with some exceptions. Twitter did not announce the game schedule Monday.
The social media network is attempting to move into live sports streaming through “over-the-top” broadcasts, which do not require a cable subscription. In April, Twitter reached a deal with the NFL to stream 10 “Thursday Night Football” games this fall.
The Red Wings added some goalie depth on Monday, agreeing to terms with journeyman Cal Heeter.
Heeter, 27, broke in with the Flyers organization a while back and made his big-league debut in ’13-14, appearing in one game.
Since then, he’s bounced around the ECHL, AHL (with the Toronto Marlies) and, last season, split his time between Hamburg of the German League and Zagreb Medvescak of the KHL.
By itself, this signing isn’t especially noteworthy, as Heeter projects to be an American League mainstay next year.
But the contract is kind of interesting when looking and the big-picture goalie situation in Detroit. The Wings now have Heeter, Petr Mrazek, Jimmy Howard, Jared Coreau, Eddie Pasquale and Jake Paterson all under contract for next season, which is an awful lot of goalies.
With that in mind, remember that Howard’s name has been in trade talks for quite some time.
HC Kunlun Red Star, the Beijing-based expansion team that will begin playing in the KHL next season, has added a pair of former NHLers.
Sean Collins, who appeared in a pair of games for the Capitals last season, and Brett Bellemore, a veteran of over 100 contests with the Carolina Hurricanes, have agreed to join the club, per Russian news outlet R-Sport.
Bellemore, 28, was originally drafted by the ‘Canes in 2007 and spent most of his professional career with the organization. He signed on with Boston’s AHL affiliate in Providence last year, and appeared in 56 games.
Collins, 27, broke in with the Blue Jackets before signing with the Caps last season. He spent the majority of the year in AHL Hershey and fared well — 16 goals and 39 points in 75 games — and scored three times in the playoffs, helping the Bears advance to the Calder Cup final.