BOSTON - Attention, Mike Murphy.
Brian Burke's phone is on 24/7 if you want to give him another ring.
And if anyone doesn't like it, they can go jump, as the locals here say, in the "hah-bah."
The two men took some heat this week when Murphy, during his deliberations on the potential punishment of the Vancouver Canucks' Aaron Rome, publicly admitted that he consulted Burke over the protocol used to issue a suspension in a Stanley Cup final.
The revelation caused many critics, mainly centred in British Columbia, to cry foul, citing that Burke had a conflict of interest because, among other things, he had been fired by the Canucks. They also wagged an accusing finger at Burke, now the general manager of the Maple Leafs, for his alleged interest in the Sedins a couple of years ago when the twins were on the verge of becoming unrestricted free agents.
Burke delivered a strong message to all the cospiracy theorists out there when he was asked about the controversy at the NHL general managers' meetings Wednesday in Boston.
"I could care less what people say," Burke said. "I don't give a damn about that stuff. If you want to question my trades, fine. But don't question my integrity.
"If Murph wants to call me tonight or any other night, I'll be there to talk to him about the thinking that went into past playoff suspensions. I had that job before and am always there to help."
Both Burke and Murphy insist that the Maple Leafs GM did not discuss the specific Rome incident. Nor was Burke asked how many games, in his opinion, that Rome should be suspended for.
"Back in the 1990s, when I suspended Claude Lemieux when I worked for the league, that was the first suspension in a final since Rocket Richard. We just went through what my thought process was at that time, that's all.
"Like I said, Murph can call me any time."
A complete ban on checks to the head is not in the immediate plans of NHL general managers.
When they gathered at a swank financial district hotel here Wednesday, the GMs did decide to remove the word "blindside" from the definition of Rule 48, which targets shots to the head.
If the GMs' recommendation to the NHL and NHLPA's executive committee eventually gets passed by the NHL's board of governors, the criteria of Rule 48 -- a lateral or blindside hit to an opponent where the head is targeted and/or the principal point of contact is not permitted -- will be expanded.
There also is a push to give officials more flexibility to call incidents in which a player is deemed vulnerable.
At the same time, the GMs to a man insist there is no thirst to completely ban all checks that involve contact to the head.
"We don't want to take the physical aspect of our game away," Dallas GM Joe Nieuwendyk said. "And, given the disparity of size in some players or the fact that some guys skate with their heads down, things are going to happen.
"At the end of the season, one of our players, Loui Eriksson, had his head down when he ran into Douglas Murray of the Sharks. He got a concussion but I can't blame Murray for that."
Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli was pulled aside by Canucks GM Mike Gillis, who told him Rome was sorry about the late hit that put Nathan Horton out of the playoffs. "I've seen in the Vancouver media that Rome has tried to reach out to Nathan," Chiarelli said. "Players do that. I know (Zdeno Chara) did that with Max Pacioretty." ... GMs insist the Rome hit did not fall under Rule 48. It was a straight-on hit. It was just late, which was the problem ... Ottawa Senators coach Bryan Murray said he is ready to give two or three candidates a second interview in the hunt for the team's next coach. He was very complimentary of Kurt Kleinendorst, who led Ottawa's Binghamton farm team to a Calder Cup ... With Dallas's ownership situation still likely in flux until August, Nieuwendyk said a team budget has been submitted to the NHL for approval.