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Cybulski: Burke has the Leafs on the right track

James Cybulski
9/20/2010 12:48:36 AM
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The other day on a globally transmitted radio broadcast, I just happened to introduce Brian Burke as 'Canucks General Manager'

Not once. Twice.

Nice work, Cybulski. Yippy ki-yay to that.

But to be fair, that's how I know the guy. 

Ten years ago, as a relatively green television reporter, I was working in Vancouver while Burke was running the Canucks. I got there at a time that the hockey club had gone five years without making the playoffs and fans were restless.

Burke oversaw an organization that has become not only the pride of the city, but the province. A decade later, look at that town. Don't tell me it's just a coincidence that the Canucks and the city of Vancouver have both been booming at the same time. 

Mike Gillis is still reaping the benefits of those Burke years courtesy of the Wonder Twins.

Never underestimate the economic impact of a winner, a senior banking exec once said to me.

This is why I'm intrigued to see what Burke is doing in Toronto. Sure it was a steep price to pay for Phil Kessel, and if Tyler Seguin turned into a huge bust, I bet the Leafs brass would dance the macarena. But I also saw a kid coming off shoulder surgery, snipe 30 goals on a team of stiffs last season.

Landing Dion Phaneuf and J-S Giguere for next to nothing was also impressive, while freeing themselves of Jason Blake's contract at the same time.  Do you believe in miracles?

I'm not saying the Leafs are Cup winners this year, but suddenly this franchise has hope once again. A franchise defenceman and sniper acquired in the last year, during a time when general managers are reluctant to make trades is impressive.  

I'm sure I'll be roasted for posting this, but that guy who used to work in Vancouver finally seems to have the Leafs on the right track. 

Hey, if Jose Bautista can flirt with 50 home runs, anything is possible.

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