Burke to Leafs talk lingers

LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:31 AM ET

Those Brian Burke to the Maple Leafs rumours just won't go away, especially when the man in question is in the general vicinity.

Burke was tracked down in Boston by The Score on Thursday night after analyst Steve Ludzik reported two sources said the Anaheim general manager would meet with Toronto's seach committee in the coming days.

Burke, who lives in California but has children in the Boston area, told The Score's Steve Kouleas in somewhat cryptic terms that he has "no plans on speaking to Toronto in the very near future."

Burke, the Anaheim Ducks GM, had made hazy comments before about his name being linked to the Leafs, until that team's execs put the hammer down and said he'd have to honour the last year of his contract. But a new round of speculation began when Toronto interviewed Burke's buddy and ex-Vancouver Canuck GM David Nonis last week.

It's thought the National Hockey League continues to monitor the Leafs very closely for any evidence of tampering with Burke's existing deal.

Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd.'s search committee is comprised of CEO Richard Peddie, lawyer Gordon Kirke and adviser/interim general manager Cliff Fletcher.

Tha latter has been busy with team pro scout meetings this week and Kirke was in San Francisco the past few days, chairing the Sports Lawyers Association board meeting. It's not believed Kirke is conducting any interviews until at least next week.

COACHING CAROUSEL

With Alain Vigneault staying in Vancouver and Tony Granato promoted in Colorado, the vacant coaching jobs in Toronto, Ottawa, Florida, Atlanta and San Jose are taking centre stage.

Ron Wilson and Joel Quenneville, fired in San Jose and Colorado, respectively, are getting lots of mention for various jobs in the East, while rumours continue that Pittsburgh Penguins assistant Andre Savard is moving up the list to join old pal Jacques Martin with the Panthers.

Atlanta's farm team, the Chicago Wolves, are a win away from the AHL final, which enhances the already solid background of John Anderson as a developer of talent in the minors and could lead to his promotion.

POHL-AXED

Unrestricted free agent centre John Pohl is the latest victim of the changing of the guard with the Maple Leafs.

"We've told his agent (Minneapolis-based Neil Sheehy) that we won't be offering him a contract," Toronto's interim general manager Cliff Fletcher said yesterday.

Pohl, who was drafted by St. Louis and rescued from that club's minor league team three years ago by former GM John Ferguson, waged a good fight to stay in the lineup, but an ankle injury in mid-season severely curtailed his playing time to 33 games and one goal in 2007-08.

The 28-year-old played most of his first of three seasons here with the Marlies, but graduated to the Leafs and had 29 points in 74 games in 2006-07.

The rest of the UFAs on the Leafs at present are centres Mats Sundin, Dominic Moore, defenceman Andy Wozniewski and goaltender Scott Clemmensen.


Videos

Photos