LOS ANGELES // Brian Burke has stepped down as the general manager of the Anaheim Ducks, clearing the way for his much anticipated move to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Burke, who is also the general manager of the US team for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, will be replaced by the Ducks' senior vice president of hockey operations Bob Murray. In the final year of his four-year contract, Burke will continue in a consultant's role with Anaheim, but has been given permission to explore other opportunities. He has refused to speculate on his future, but the Toronto Maple Leafs, have been reportedly in hot pursuit of the long-time NHL executive.
"This should be Bob Murray's day but all speculation about what happens next we can do that at some other time," Burke said. "I haven't gotten that far." Abrasive and outspoken, Burke, 53, is recognised as being one of the NHL's top general managers. He joined Anaheim in 2005 and built the Ducks into Stanley Cup champions in 2007. "Brian respectfully declined our contract extension offer last week," said the Ducks' chief executive Mike Schulman.
"With his support, we decided to make the transition at this time in the best interest of the organisation." * Reuters