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Analysis: Wilson hiring signals Burke to come

Ron Wilson joins a Leafs team that has missed the playoffs in each of the last three seasons. (Photo by: Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)

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Ron Wilson joins a Leafs team that has missed the playoffs in each of the last three seasons. (Photo by: Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)

If the Maple Leafs are going to be this blatant about holding out for the services of Brian Burke, I had hoped they would have at least provided us with some entertainment at the press conference announcing Ron Wilson’s hiring as Toronto’s new head coach and have the soon-to-be former Ducks GM break through the wall behind him like the Kool-Aid Man…oh yeah!!

As a respected hockey man – who nevertheless doesn’t quite fit the reputation of the proven winner Leafs ownership has been quite vocal about hiring – Wilson brings with him expectations of a quicker turnaround than would’ve been anticipated with a rookie NHL coach (like, say John Anderson of the Calder Cup-finalist Chicago Wolves).

That may be a good thing, but there’s definitely a second edge to that sword – and it’s certainly one that will get sharper once Burke eventually climbs aboard, either before the end of this off-season or when his contract with Anaheim expires at the end of next season.

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Really, there can be no more doubt as to who Toronto’s targeting for the GM position. If the team wanted a “proven winner,” it would’ve/should’ve hired Craig Patrick or Neil Smith by now.

The fact they haven’t, combined with Burke’s unwillingness to sign a contract extension after the Ducks prevented him from even talking to the Leafs’ GM search committee –which I believe is currently being jointly sponsored by O.J. Simpson and Iraqis For Finding Weapons of Mass Destruction – tells you all you need to know.

Pretending otherwise is a lovely way by which to avoid tampering charges. But with the hiring of Wilson – who would have had his choice of many a vacant coaching gig, but somehow trusted Cliff Fletcher and the suits at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment would bring in a boss above him he’d be comfortable with – the truth is out there for anyone to see.

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