TORONTO — The Maple Leafs will be trying to win one for GM Brian Burke when they face the Senators at the Air Canada Centre Saturday night.
Burke lost his 21-year-old son Brendan in a fatal car crash Friday.
“I think right now it’s best just to let him grieve,” goalie J.S. Giguere said after the morning skate, when asked if he had talked to his boss since the accident. “And make sure that we do our job here at the rink, so he doesn’t have to worry about that.
“It’s up to us to step it up and make sure we just work extremely hard for him.”
Both Giguere and defenceman Francois Beauchemin met Brendan in Anaheim, when they played for the Ducks and Burke was the GM there. Giguere called Brendan “a good kid” and said he “can’t even begin to comprehend” the level of anguish Brian Burke is suffering.
Both players also said it’ll be tougher to focus on the game, which will be preceded by a moment of silence for Brendan Burke.
“We’ll have some hard feelings, for sure,” Beauchemin said. “But we have a game to play and I’m sure Brian would not want to take away from that, and for us to win that game tonight.”
Senators coach Cory Clouston called the tragedy a horrible situation.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Brian and his family,” Clouston said. “I have no idea how the Leafs are going to respond, but I’d assume they’re going to come out and play real hard for him.”
Shooting for their 12th consecutive victory against a team that gave up a pair of last minute goals to lose in New Jersey Friday, the Senators will make just one change to their lineup as Alex Picard takes the place of injured defenceman Erik Karlsson.
Brian Elliott will be looking for his 10th straight win in goal.