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Leafs ownership had issues with Burke’s “tone and voice”


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.

Related: Burke era in Toronto: Trades, truculence and tirades

Ducks name Kesler alternate captain

Ryan Kesler
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For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”

On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.

With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.

“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”

As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.

It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.

Diaz could leave Rangers for Europe

Raphael Diaz, Mike Sislo
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Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?

We’ll know in a month.

Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:

The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.

The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.

If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.

Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”

And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.

While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.