13 things to know about T.O.'s new Pope of Pucks

Burke answers questions at the Air Canada Centre, Toronto on Nov. 29, 2008. (Jack Boland/SUN MEDIA)

Burke answers questions at the Air Canada Centre, Toronto on Nov. 29, 2008. (Jack Boland/SUN MEDIA)

MIKE ZEISBERGER

, Last Updated: 10:12 AM ET

TORONTO -- Maybe, just maybe, your kids, even grandkids, one day will have the pleasure of attending Brian Burke Collegiate Institute.

We can hear the teachers now.

"Welcome class. This school was named in honour of Brian Burke, who brought the Stanley Cup to Toronto after a dry spell of, well, we can't count that high.

"Please clasp your hands and say a prayer of thanks to our saviour, B.B."

That's spreading it on a little thick, isn't it?

Yet, as unrealistic as they might be, those are the expectations around the city in lieu of Burke's official coronation yesterday as president and GM of the Maple Leafs.

That he will be the answer. That he will bring respectability back to the franchise. That he will bring Toronto its first Stanley Cup since 1967.

As Burke himself said: "The man who brings a championship to this city will have schools named after him."

But will be Burke be the guy to do it? The jury is out. Burke is the 13th GM in Maple Leafs history. Keeping that in mind, here are 13 things you can expect -- or should know -- about the man taking the Leafs into the future.

1. Fletch lives!

Burke praised Cliff Fletcher, saying the former GM "has a job as long as he wants one." Joe Nieuwendyk, whom Burke said he "respects," also can remain, if he so desires. "Everyone in the front office will have the chance to be with us going forward, should they choose to do things my way."

2. Thumbs up

Burke praised Fletcher's acquisitions of Mikhail Grabovski and Luke Schenn even though both cost draft picks. Burke admitted trying to pry Grabovski away from the Habs himself. As for Schenn, Burke said he did not think the kid was ready for the NHL prior to the season. "He looks ready right now, though."

3. Nonis time

Burke will ask permission from the Ducks to speak with Dave Nonis, one of his most trusted advisers in both Anaheim and Vancouver. It is believed Nonis has a 48-hour window to leave. Expect Nonis to join the Leafs as Burke's assistant.

4. Slow winds of change

The NHL puts on a Christmas trade freeze from Dec. 19-27 but Burke said his own personal deadline comes 10 days earlier on Dec. 9. "I think players should be allowed to spend the holidays with their families and not be displaced."

5. Hansens available?

Burke wants a fast team that plays very tough. "It's important to have snarl."

6. Anti-Euro talk is BS

Burke rejected suggestions that he is anti-European. "I don't care what colour a guy's passport is or where he comes from. All that matters is that he can fulfil a role."

7. Less is Moore

Burke was the Vancouver GM when then-Canucks forward Todd Bertuzzi attacked Steve Moore, brother of Leaf Dominic Moore. "Dominic Moore's role as a player should not be affected by what happened to his brother," Burke said. Burke added that he might be called as a witness in any Moore-Bertuzzi litigation, but not as a party.

8. Olympic dreams

With Burke as the GM of the U.S. Olympic team, will Ron Wilson be the coach? "If it was anyone else but Burkie, I'd say, 'Been there, done that.' But with Burkie there, I'm interested."

9. Amen

Burke compared the Toronto job to what "the Vatican is to Catholics." Does that make him the Pope of Pucks?

10. Stand at attention!

Burke was scheduled to meet with the players prior to last night's game against the Philadelphia Flyers. With two scraps in the first 25 minutes in last night's game, his message of toughness apparently sunk in.

11. Wild west

Burke will accompany the Leafs on their upcoming trip to Los Angeles, San Jose and Phoenix this week. Alas, there will be no game against the Ducks, his former club.

12. The money game

Burke's contract calls for five more years after this season at about $3 million US per. It is said to mirror that of Raptors boss Bryan Colangelo.

13. All in the family

Burke said that for the first time in 11 years, all his kids will be in the same time zone. Maybe the youngest one will one day attend Brian Burke C.I.


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