ANAHEIM – Brian Burke was back in familiar surroundings Sunday and declared himself ready to resume his partnership with the Anaheim Ducks, however brief it might be.
"It's a familiar feeling to walk back in the building," Burke said. "I have a lot of respect for [Ducks general manager] Bob Murray. I think he's a real good hockey guy. We've worked together, worked in Vancouver, worked here. I think he's an excellent GM, and I hope my experience can help at some points, and it's nice to be back."
Burke was hired as a part-time professional scout this week for Anaheim, the team that he built into a rough-and-skilled Stanley Cup champion in 2007. Murray and the Ducks reached out to the Toronto Maple Leafs about employing Burke, who was fired Jan.9 as their GM.
Brian Burke, who built the 2007 Stanley Cup Champion Anaheim Ducks as the team's General Manager, is back with the team as a part-time professional scout. (Photo: Getty Images)
Burke said his gig will run through the end of this season. He plans on getting up to speed on his former team and will watch their American Hockey League affiliate, the Norfolk Admirals, next weekend. He remains based in Toronto and is employed by it in a non-hockey role.
"Whatever (Murray) wants – amateur draft, trade deadline, whatever he wants," Burke said of his duties.
How long he will hold this part-time position is a good question considering he is among the hottest commodities for struggling teams looking for a new GM. Burke didn't hide that he would like to get back at it.
"That's still the goal," he said. "This position is just part time, and it's just through the end of the season. That's still my goal: to get back and run a team."
Burke's face is a welcome one to Ducks fans. He implemented a winning culture almost immediately after he was named Anaheim GM on June 20, 2005. A well-known story is that Burke ordered that the banner that recognized 10 years of existence for the franchise be taken down from the rafters at Honda Center.
Within two months of his arrival he hired Randy Carlyle as coach and persuaded Scott Niedermayer to take less money and sign with the Ducks instead of the New Jersey Devils because he could play with his brother, Rob. The next summer Burke went all in and acquired Chris Pronger from the Edmonton Oilers, and Anaheim started 27-4-6 on its way to the first Stanley Cup won by a Southern California team.
Off the ice he taught his team to think outside themselves and emphasized charity and community events. Burke's handiwork is still on these Ducks. He drafted Bobby Ryan and signed Jonas Hiller.
What does he think of Anaheim's 12-2-1 start entering Sunday?
"I think they're working hard. They're making things happen," Burke said. "They're finding ways to win. They're getting contributions from a lot of different players. It's been impressive. Their start's been impressive."
Burke said he continues to work for the U.S. national team but it is not yet known if he will remain GM of U.S. team for the 2014 Winter Olympics.