Not so much a general sports blog as an irregularly updated desperate plea for help.
We all know what the game is here -- Brian Burke just keeps on refusing to sign a contract extension in Anaheim until such time as his owner gives up, and lets him go to Toronto. Given that the Leafs just signed his old Providence teammate Ron Wilson to coach, when in fact Fletcher's first choice was Joel Quenneville, the writing is on the wall. Burke will be careful not to leave a trail that will get either he or the Leafs sanctioned, which shouldn't be too hard. You just make sure all contact is done via third parties. He also won't be so dumb as to make a trade with the Leafs until such time as he gets his release.
Yippers ... now what were the circumstances when Pat Quinn got nailed for jumping from the Kings to the Canucks in the '80s?
Quinn was incredibly indiscreet. He actually signed a contract with the Canucks in December 1986 to be their President and GM, effective the following season. The only problem was that Quinn was still coaching the Kings at the time. Oops! Quinn maintained that the Kings missed a deadline in his contract for renegotiation, and thus he was allowed to negotiate with other clubs, but the NHL didn't see it that way. He was fined, the Canucks were fined, and Quinn had to leave the Kings effective immediately. He was also banned from coaching the Canucks for three years, strangely enough, but was still allowed to be GM. (Hey, it was John Zeigler.) You can bet that they won't be able to trace even a phone call from Burke to the Leafs. That doesn't mean that contact hasn't been made via third parties, though, because you can guarantee it has. It's kind of the NHL equivalent of passing a note in class.
The NHL will investigate any shenanigans between Burke and the Leafs as vigorously as it did Boots Del Biaggio's financial history ...
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