Leafs fire Brian Burke (!!!); Nonis named replacement

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Well, this came out of nowhere.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have fired their president and general manager, Brian Burke.

The news was first reported by TSN’s Bob McKenzie and confirmed by Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos.

Burke will be replaced by Dave Nonis, formerly the senior vice-president of hockey operations.

A press conference has been scheduled for this afternoon at 1:45 p.m. ET.

Burke, 57, was hired with much fanfare on Nov. 29, 2008. But under his watch, the Leafs failed to qualify for the playoffs in each season.

The team’s parent company, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment — which also owns the NBA’s Toronto Raptors and Toronto FC of the MLS — was officially sold to Bell and Rogers in August for $1.07 billion. Whether the change in ownership was a factor in Burke’s dismissal is unclear at this point.

Burke was criticized for a number of moves throughout his tenure, most notably a trade with Boston in September of 2009 that brought Phil Kessel to Toronto for two first-round picks and a second-round pick. The Bruins used the two first-round picks to draft Tyler Seguin second overall in 2010 and Dougie Hamilton ninth overall in 2011.

Burke has also been blamed for failing to address the Leafs’ goaltending situation and failing to land a top-line center.

The Leafs finished 13th in the Eastern Conference in 2011-12. After a promising start, they ended the season 7-18-4, a stretch that saw the the firing of head coach Ron Wilson.

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Burke era in Toronto: Trades, truculence and tirades