TORONTO - Attention, potential new owners of the Maple Leafs.
If you want to know just how highly regarded general manager Brian Burke's management team is within the boardroom of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd., consider this vote of confidence from outgoing president Richard Peddie. "We love the job Burkie is doing," Peddie said in an e-mail to the Toronto Sun on Sunday night. "He's keeping the team competitive while assembling young assets and additional draft choices."
Peddie, who has refused to comment on the possible sale of MLSE shares, will retire from his post at the end of the year.
And for his part, Burke insisted in an e-mail: "As far as a potential change in the ownership group, that's just something a general manager can't worry about."
News that the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan had enlisted Morgan Stanley Canada to seek bidders broke Saturday in the midst of a huge win against the Buffalo Sabres. Players were still absorbing it Sunday morning.
Winger Colby Armstrong even joked about raising the required $1.3 billion himself with a bake sale.
"I'm going to start selling muffins and stuff on the side," Armstrong said, trying to keep a straight face. "On Bloor St. Get your muffins here!"
Asked if he would help finance Armstrong's cause, linemate Darryl Boyce was guarded. "I might buy one, that's it," Boyce said. "I wouldn't trust eating two of them."