Unfortunately, now that the worst kept secret in the National Hockey League is finally out, the news around Brian Burke and the Toronto Maple Leafs won't end anytime soon. With the Leafs in a semi-rebuilding phase, every one of Burke's moves after the new year will be scrutinized by the media with the hope that he can work his magic to turn the franchise around.
For Burke to make his mark on the team, he'll have to make plenty of deals as Toronto has only three unrestricted (Antropov, Moore, Joseph) and three restricted (Grabovski, Hollweg, Deveaux) free agents next summer. Important decisions will need to made to address the salary situations of Jason Blake and Pavel Kubina.
The NHL holiday trade freeze kicks in on December 19, meaning rosters are frozen until the 27th. Burke has his own freeze beginning on December 9 as he feels players should spend the holiday's with family, unless they request to be moved. This means between today and the 27th, Burke will have twelve games to assess what he has within his new team and to move forward in molding the Leafs back into a playoff team.
You can be sure the Toronto media will begin the speculation as soon as possible.
WEEK THAT WAS
Does the league have a sunny forecast or a dim future? You decide.
Former pest Claude Lemieux signed a tryout contract with the San Jose Sharks.
Bep Guidolin, the youngest player to ever play in the NHL at age 16, passed away this week.
Look for more games between NHL and European clubs.
Former agent David Frost was acquitted of sexual exploitation charges this week in Canada.
Sidney Crosby won't be following LeBron James to New York when he becomes a free agent. In other news, Sports Illustrated had nothing else to report on Friday.
EXCELLENT ELEVEN POWER RANKINGS
11. Philadelphia Flyers
10. Anaheim Ducks
9. Washington Capitals
8. Minnesota Wild
7. Vancouver Canucks
6. Montreal Canadiens
5. Pittsburgh Penguins
4. New York Rangers
3. Detroit Red Wings
2. Boston Bruins
1. San Jose Sharks
LET'S GO TO THE VIDEOTAPE
This week's Coach's Corner with Don Cherry.
The Oshawa Generals retiring Bobby Orr's #2.
Mikko Koivu's lovely game winner..
PLAYER OF THE WEEK (11/23 - 11/29)
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
3GP, 6 G, 3 A, 9 PTS, +8
"What's so special about Sidney Crosby?"
GAME OF THE WEEK
Calgary Flames at Vancouver Canucks 11/27
The first of a home and home didn't disappoint. Led by Michael Cammalleri's hat-trick, the Flames eeked out a 4-3 victory thanks to a Curtis Glencross' game winner with 6:31 remaining in the third period. Miikka Kiprusoff and Curtis Sanford stood on their heads, but two third period goals by Calgary were too much for Vancouver.
UPCOMING GAME OF INTEREST
Thursday, December 4, 7 p.m. ET
New York Rangers at Montreal Canadiens
The Canadiens continue to celebrate their 100th year centennial with an "Original Six" matchup and interconference rivals from New York. Everyone remembers the amazing five-goal comeback the Habs pulled on the Rangers last season. Hopefully this time around we see a true goaltenders duel between Henrik Lundqvist and Carey Price.
GRATUITOUS PITTSBURGH PENGUINS RELATED AWESOMENESS
Sidney Crosby's second career hat-trick.