Leafs' Burke clears the air

MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 10:06 AM ET

A riled-up Brian Burke vows that defenceman Tomas Kaberle and coach Ron Wilson are not going anywhere.

The same can’t be said for many other Maple Leafs, especially if the team’s losing ways continue.

In an impromptu state-of-the-union address to the media yesterday, the agitated general manager of the languishing Leafs vowed that changes will come if his team does not spring back to life.

But a roster-gutting, Burke added, will not include Kaberle if the veteran defenceman chooses not to waive the no-trade clause in his contract.

“This will be the last time I answer a question about Tomas Kaberle. I will not ask Tomas Kaberle to waive his no-trade,” Burke said.

“To get a no-trade clause, you have to be in somewhat of an elite status, you have to have enough seniority in our league and you have to be a good enough player in our league where your agent can ask for it ... Tomas Kaberle has been a great Leaf. He’s a great guy. He’s played hard and well for us. He’s been a quality citizen. He earned that fair and square and I’m not going to ask him to waive it.”

Kaberle does have a no-trade clause, but that becomes moot from the June draft through Aug. 15 should the Leafs miss the playoffs, as expected.

Because his annual salary — $4.25 million US for both this season and the 2010-11 campaign — is considered a bargain for a player of his skill, there is a school of thought that Kaberle might be able to fetch a first-round pick,

Asked if he has had any quality trade proposals, Burke chuckled.

“Oh yeah, we’re getting wonderful offers,” he quipped. “It’s a great group. It’s like watching National Geographic and you see a dead zebra and there’s vultures everywhere. That’s what it’s like. Only the zebra’s not dead yet.”

As for the coaching staff, Burke went out of his way to give them a vote of confidence, for whatever that’s worth.

“I don’t fault the coaches at all for where we are,” he said. “I can tell you right now, there’s not going to be a coaching change here. That’s not been considered, discussed, whatever. He is safe as the gold in Fort Knox.”

Is that because he and Wilson are buddies, a reporter asked.

“Some people would be idiots if they said that,” Burke snapped.


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