Hey 'Nuckleheads, Burke voted for Gillis

Vancouver Canucks' General Manager Mike Gillis speaks to the media at Rogers Arena in Vancouver,...

Vancouver Canucks' General Manager Mike Gillis speaks to the media at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC. (Carmine Marinelli/ QMI AGENCY)

Mike Zeisberger, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:05 PM ET

For all those conspiracy theorists who think Brian Burke will do practically anything to undermine the Vancouver Canucks, his latest gesture will come as a surprise.

If the ex-Canucks GM has such an anti-Vancouver agenda, as has been suggested in some circles, why would he cast his vote for Vancouver's Mike Gillis as 2011 NHL general manager of the year?

In fact, QMI Agency has learned the Canucks are aware of Burke's choice of Gillis.

Burke took significant heat on the left coast after Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final, when NHL disciplinarian Mike Murphy admitted conferring with the Maple Leafs general manager while deliberating potential supplemental discipline for the Canucks' Aaron Rome.

A number of accusing fingers were immediately wagged in Burke's direction, with critics claiming Burke was trying to screw the Canucks, the team that fired him as GM back in 2004.

Murphy insisted Burke was not asked for a direct opinion on the Rome incident, claiming he was consulted only to pick his brain on the protocol for determining a playoff suspension. Burke served as the NHL's disciplinarian during the mid-1990s.

That didn't stop critics from slagging Murphy for seeking Burke's advice. Burke immediately came to Murphy's defence, saying he didn't "give a damn" what the sceptics thought.

"Murph can call me any time," he added.

There is no doubt that Burke and Gillis have not always seen eye to eye.

The Maple Leafs GM was poised to woo the Sedin twins to Toronto two summers ago when they were on the verge of becoming unrestricted free agents. Gillis ended up re-signing the Sedins but not before making a final trip to Sweden to get it done.

Leafs coach Ron Wilson subsequently was slapped by the league with a $25,000 fine for tampering after he told a Toronto radio station the team was interested in the Sedins. Wilson's comments came prior to July 1, meaning the twins were still Canucks property.

Also, don't forget that Dave Nonis, Burke's long-time right-hand man, was let go as Canucks GM in 2008. His replacement was Mike Gillis.

In past years, it has been Burke's habit to forward a copy of his award ballot to the person he has voted for. It is believed that was the case this time around, which is how the Canucks learned of his choice.


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