Brian Burke’s “tone and voice” was a driving factor behind ownership’s decision to fire him as president and general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
And that’s about as much as MLSE president and CEO Tom Anselmi was willing to say today after news broke that Burke had been relieved of his duties.
Anselmi, sitting alongside new Leafs GM Dave Nonis, fielded numerous questions at this afternoon’s press conference in Toronto; however, reporters were still left wondering why specifically Burke was dismissed. And with the season just about to start, why now?
According to Anselmi, the move was not related to a potential trade for Roberto Luongo* or any other single incident, nor did it have anything to do with Burke’s personal life. It was about “leadership style.”
Burke will remain with the organization as a special advisor to the board.
As for Nonis, the new GM isn’t planning to make any key personnel changes in the front office. Cliff Fletcher (special advisor), Claude Loiselle (assistant GM), and Dave Poulin (VP hockey operations) will remain in their roles, and Randy Carlyle will stay on as the head coach.
Nonis believes Burke’s work replenishing the organization’s stockpile of prospects will come to be appreciated down the road, but admitted that the organization needs more players than can make an impact now.
Nonis also made it clear that the Leafs would not be “starting from scratch.”
*Despite reports to the contrary.