Cherry picks Burke in T.O.

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:48 AM ET

Don Cherry thinks it's only a matter of time.

Yesterday the star of CBC's Coach's Corner said Brian Burke would be the next general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"That's why they hired (head coach) Ron Wilson," Cherry said. "Burke is the guy that they're after. He did the honorable thing not hanging around (in Anaheim). He'll be there in Toronto, I think it'll be in two or three weeks.

"It shouldn't take much longer than that. I hope (Cliff) Fletcher hasn't enjoyed the job so much that he wants to stay. When I see him on TV, they're doing pretty good and he's having fun."

On Wednesday, Burke stepped down as general manager of the Anaheim Ducks citing family reasons. He'll stay on for the time being as a consultant to new Ducks GM Bob Murray. There's talk other teams are also interested in his services.

"As far as going to Boston, have you checked Boston's record? You can't fire (GM Peter) Chiarelli now," Cherry said. "You can't do that, and with (chairman and CEO) Jeremy Jacobs's record, I don't know if he would pay $4-million for a general manager. So it is the Leafs."

Burke, who won the Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007, wants to move to the Eastern Conference and said his goal is to be working for a new NHL team by Thanksgiving.

"Nobody has a better record as a general manager in hockey in the last five years than Brian Burke," Cherry said. "He'll get things straightened around, you better believe it."

Not everyone is as enamoured by Burke's GM abilities.

For the past two seasons, he's had a feud with Edmonton Oilers president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe over the signing of restricted free agent Dustin Penner.

Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish was asked his opinion on the matter yesterday.

"Nice try," smiled MacTavish. "Did a turnip truck just drive by?"


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