Burke tagged as Flames President of Hockey Opperations

  • MikeProsser

Former Leaf’s GM Brian Burke has been named President of Hockey Operations by the Calgary Flames (courtesy of CBC)

They say three things will survive the Apocalypse: cockroaches, Keith Richards, and Brian Burke’s hockey career. Just when the hockey world thought it was rid of Mr. Burke, the Calgary Flames have seemingly revived his career, naming Burke their President of Hockey Operations on Thursday according to the team’s official website. 

“It’s a very proud day for me to join the Calgary Flames.  It’s great city and great hockey market. I couldn’t be more pleased to be here today.””I’m not the GM of the Calgary Flames. Jay Feaster is. We’re both committed to winning. … Jay’s got great ability and has made some very important steps in fixing things here.”

Brian Burke on his new position with the Flames

Brian Burke, seen here with Anaheim in 2006, hoisting the Stanley Cup (courtesy of Sports Illustrated)

After a successful four years with the Providence University Friars under coach Lou Lamoriello (yes the same Lou Lamoriello from New Jersey), Burke won a Calder Cup with the Maine Mariners before attending Harvard for his Juris Doctor which he received in 1981. After a stop in Vancouver, Burke became the general manager of the Hartford Whalers before stepping down to join Commissioner Gary Bettman in the NHL front office, however returning to Vancouver in 1998. It was there in Vancouver where the legend of Brian Burke truly began. He drafted the Sedin twins, Ryan Kessler, Kevin Bieksa, and even R.J. Umburger but his contract was not renewed by the Canucks in the summer of 2003. It was in Anaheim where he won his first (and to date only) Stanley Cup in 2006 but stepped down two years later to become President and General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs. What looked to be a great move for the Leafs turned out to be less than stellar. Burke will be remembered in Toronto for trading for Phil Kessel, a good move for Burke if he didn’t have to give up 1st round picks which turned into Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton.   After amassing a record of 129-135-42, and making the Leafs the only team to not make the playoffs after the 2004 Lockout, Burke was fired and took a small job with the Ducks again working as a scout.

 

So what has Brian Burke gotten himself into this time? The Flames haven’t made the playoffs since the 08-09 season and

Flames GM Jay Feaster (courtesy of CBC)

they’ve completely gutted their roster. Gone are Jerome Iginla and  Jay Bouwmeester, and only four members of the squad (goalies Mikka Kiprusoff and Leland Irving, defenseman Mark Giodano and winger Curtis Glencross) were on the team the last time Calgary was in the playoffs. They haven’t won their division since the 05-06 season and are in full on rebuilding mode. But what does this mean for General Manager Jim Feaster? Could bringing in Burke be a sign that his seat is hot? Burke did manage to turn around the Canucks, had success in Anaheim, and despite the fact that he messed up in Toronto, Burke has been a successful front office guy wherever he goes. Like he said he’s not the general manager…yet, but if rebuilding doesn’t go the way Flames owner N. Murray Edwards wants it to, look for Feaster to be out and Burke to be in. If Burke can share even just a piece of his hockey knowledge with Feaster and the fans have some patients, it’s very possible that the Flames will be able to build a successful team within the next four or five years.

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