The Calgary Flames have scheduled a press conference for later this morning where it’s believed that they will announce the hiring of Brian Burke, according to a report on TSN.ca. Burke was in Calgary earlier in the week to meet with the Flames management to discuss the possibility of bringing him on board in what is being called an executive role, likely the president of hockey operations. His goal? To help restore respectability to the Calgary Flames.
Burke is no stranger to re-building a roster, having spent the previous four seasons at the helm of the Toronto Maple Leafs. After being dismissed last season, the Leafs made the playoffs and the debate raged on who was responsible for Toronto having the success they did. Burke laid a lot of the ground work before handing it over to Dave Nonis, who is getting much of the credit for the Maple Leafs turn around. Keep in mind, Burke was responsible for many of the trades that led to the Leafs landing such players as Dion Phaneuf, James van Riemsdyk, Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul. All polarizing figures in that have led the re-build on the ice for the Leafs and all products of Brian Burke’s tenure in Toronto.
Now the Calgary Flames are essentially asking him to help do the same with their deflated organization. It’s a roster of aging veterans with some promising but questionable prospects, a combination that is headed for a long and agonizing season in the basement of the Western Conference. Enter Burke and the unenviable task.
Changes will be made, that much we know. Drastic changes are likely and we could start seeing roster moves as soon as Burke has a chance to sit in his new leather chair, somewhere inside the remodeled Saddledome. Players like Michael Cammalleri, Matt Stajan and Lee Stempniak don’t necessarily fit the Burke mold of size and grit, characteristics he installed in both Toronto and Anaheim (where he successfully won a Stanley Cup). It wouldn’t be surprising to see all three of them moved at some point this year, likely to help replenish the prospect cupboard that was otherwise stripped away over the last decade, not to mention mismanaged.
But as Mark Spector of Sportsnet points out, Brian Burke is “famously impatient” and he may not want to wait around to see a full re-build in Calgary. He demands results today, not tomorrow or next week…..TODAY!
Given the state of the Flames and their current roster makeup, Burke had better seek some advice on how to be patient because this is a team that is destined for a top three pick in next year’s draft as Spector writes.
Spector notes that the Oilers way of re-building, through draft picks and down right miserable seasons may not be what Burke wants. With the salary cap not an issue in Calgary given the recent trades of high profile stars and the looming retirement of Mikka Kiprusoff, the Flames will have money to play with when notable free-agents hit the market. Over spending has gotten teams in trouble in the past and it’s proven that the right combination of signing free-agents but drafting properly will lead to success. Just ask the Chicago Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins.
Can Brian Burke pull that off in Calgary? Some would say yes, others would laugh at the thought of a re-build with Brian Burke at the helm and just point to what some consider to be a colossal mess in Toronto. Either way, the Flames and their fans are in for a treat with the no BS Brian Burke. He tells it like it is, has proven to be successful in his roles (although to what degree could be debatable) and won’t put up with a floundering hockey club, even if it is the Flames.
Is Brian Burke the man to help turn around the Flames? Time will tell and if you look at his past behaviors, it’s difficult to predict that even he can right the ship in a short time frame. The Flames are a massive undertaking and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Burke leave Calgary before the Flames are back in the playoffs. A sight that every Oilers fan would be enlightened by.