It appears as though the Toronto Maple Leafs may be in a bit of hot water as they have been accused of tampering by the Vancouver Canucks.
In an interview with Vancouver radio station TEAM 1040 on Monday, Canucks general manager Mike Gillis stated that the Canucks are pursuing tampering charges with the NHL after Leafs GM Brian Burke's comments about a proposed Canucks trade with Tampa Bay at last spring's draft were made public.
Burke was caught on a recently-released bit on Leafs TV discussing a rumoured deal between the Canucks and the Tampa Bay Lightning that would have seen defenceman Kevin Bieksa, forward Alex Burrows and the Canucks top pick (22nd overall) being sent to the Lightning in an attempt to grab Swedish defenceman Victor Hedman with the second overall pick.
Gillis told TEAM 1040 the Canucks have brought the matter up with the NHL and that he was surprised that Burke would allow the conversation to be made public.
"There are certainly some issues that the league needs to take control off when players' names are being thrown around. You're talking about lives and families and those things need to be kept confidential when you may be discussing a transaction of some type. There was a mention of player's names, which was very upsetting for them, and it doesn't make me feel very good."
Earlier in the summer, Maple Leafs' head coach Ron Wilson made remarks that could possibly be interpreted as tampering on a Toronto radio station when he stated that the Leafs' would be interested in going after the Sedin twins during the free agency period.
The Canucks have decided that enough is enough and are bringing the matter up with the NHL; however Gillis told TEAM 1040 that he does not expect a major confrontation.
"Listen, I don't anticipate a fight with anybody, however we're going to protect the integrity of this organization and our players. If anybody wants to take a shot at them inappropriately, we're going to protect our interests."
Gillis stated that he is concerned about the precedent being set if the Maple Leafs are allowed to walk away after making comments about players on other NHL teams.
"Once the league becomes involved in a very serious matter it isn't prudent for us to talk about it. It isn't prudent for us to threaten or do anything or escalate a situation. The league is the watchdog here and it's up to them to deal with these issues as they see fit. And, as a member of the league, our owners want protection from anything that may be adverse to their interests. I think that's common to every team in the league, I think every owner would expect that, and that's what we expect."
-Files from TEAM 1040 were used in this report