Sports

Blog: Brian Burke returns to Western Canada... with Calgary

Former Vancouver Canucks GM Brian Burke will reportedly join the Calgary Flames, as the head of hockey operations. - Photo: Wikimedia Commons (author Leon Switzer)
Former Vancouver Canucks GM Brian Burke will reportedly join the Calgary Flames, as the head of hockey operations.
— image credit: Photo: Wikimedia Commons (author Leon Switzer)

Brian Burke's quickly working his way through the ones he used to target.

The former Vancouver Canucks GM was on our side for several years, presiding over a offence led by Markus Naslund and Todd Bertuzzi and a defence walled off by Mattias Ohlund and Ed Jovanovski. After that, it was off to Anaheim – where he won his only Stanley Cup as an executive – and then to Canada Evil, as the boss of the Toronto Maple Leafs (they're good again, by the way).

On Thursday, Burke was introduced as the president of hockey operations for the Calgary Flames. Jay Feaster remains as general manager (as was fully expected), and will report to Burke.

The tree of command between Feaster and Burke creates as many questions as it does answer. Those are two big egos in one boardroom, and Feaster will need to have his own creative license to better the team from his seat – as every GM does.

Of course, he'll report to Burke. Feaster's the face, but Burke's still the boss.

"If Jay has something he wants to do, we will talk about it and try to reach a consensus about it," Burke told Thursday morning's media throng from Calgary's Scotiabank Saddledome.

Burke also reiterated his "blueprint" for the team, which sounded a lot like the teams he deployed in Vancouver, Anaheim, and Toronto.

They need to be exciting, he said, and they need to be big.

"Successful teams in the league are big, we are going to get bigger," Burke said.

So, you know... he's come full swing, only to land in our front lawn again. And now, the Canucks are in his sights.

Burke arrived at YYC last Wednesday night.

"I'm not going to have any comment about this tonight. Sorry, you had to camp out here," he told the Calgary Sun's Randy Sportak (link above). "I appreciate you have to ask, and I think you should appreciate I don't have much to say tonight."

It's not like Burke to throw a reporter the "I appreciate you have to ask" bone, but the West has seen a bit of a renaissance with its grumpy Gus's lately. First, John Tortorella came to Vancouver and went all meta on himself – admitting he's made mistakes with the media and generally sounding remorseful and hopeful he can turn over a new leaf. (Of course, it's almost like Bertuzzi playing nice after the Steve Moore incident. How do you become what made you once great when you're afraid to do the exact things that made you so great?)

Now, Burke will have to straddle the line in Calgary, especially since current (and future) Flames general manager Jay Feaster will still have the reigns.

Again, that's a lot of ego, but there's some wisdom there, too. Both men won Stanley Cups from 2004 to 2007 (over three seasons). Both were cast-aside from the tropical paradises, although Feaster did technically resign.

So, they've merged in CowTown, trying to save that city from the crater left by the Sutter Dynasty and their failure to pull the trigger on an Iginla deal before last March.

This is good news for Flames fans. They need something – anything – to happen. They got it.

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In honour of Brian Burke's long and continuing career, here are some of his top moments (good, and bad – just notable) from his days in Vancouver to the end of his tenure in 'Tranna:

The Pavel Bure Trade:

Drafting the Twins:

"Sedin is not Swedish for..."

Winning the Stanley Cup:

Brian Burke vs Kevin Lowe (ongoing):

Joining the Toronto Maple Leafs:

Screwing over Brian Murray for Nazem Kadri:

Burkie vs. Ron MacLean:

Burkie and Strombo:

Ending Homophobia in Hockey:

Moving on from Toronto (involuntarily):

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