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Brian Burke joins Maple Leafs front office @NHLdotcom

TORONTO (AP) -Brian Burke took over as president and general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.

"You're talking about the Vatican if you're Catholic, you're talking the center of the hockey universe, you're talking about one of the most important jobs in hockey running the Toronto Maple Leafs," Burke said at a news conference. "It's a dream job."

He got a six-year deal, worth a reported $3 million annually, to replace interim GM Cliff Fletcher - who took over after John Ferguson was fired in January.

"I like the pressure that's put on the team," Burke said. "The pressure that's on the players and the coach and the general manager to me is a positive thing. I'm thrilled to be back in Canada working."

Burke spent the past three-plus seasons managing the Anaheim Ducks, leading them to a Stanley Cup title in 2007. He stepped down from the post Nov. 13 after declining to sign a contract extension that would take him beyond this season.

During previous management stops in Hartford, Vancouver and Anaheim, the 53-year-old has been unafraid to make bold moves, though he has no plans to make any immediately.

"I don't think players should get traded at Christmas time unless they ask to get traded," Burke said. "So for me to evaluate this team, make some judgments and do something before Dec. 9, probably going to be hard to do. So anyone who's waiting with bated breath for that first deal, might wait past that deadline. Because I believe players deserve to spend the holidays with their families."

There were no timetables offered for turning around a club that hasn't been in the playoffs since 2004 or specifics on how he planned to the city its first Stanley Cup championship since 1967.

"We require as a team proper levels of pugnacity, testosterone, truculence and belligerence," he said. "That's how our teams play."

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