For Coyotes, Sean Burke could be big loss

Updated: May 21, 2012, 12:43 PM ET
By Craig Custance

The Phoenix Coyotes extended their season on Sunday and did it exactly the way you'd expect: a gritty performance by captain Shane Doan, highlighted by opportunistic offense and a shutout from Mike Smith. This time Smith made 36 saves, earning his third shutout of the playoffs and running his postseason record to 9-6-2 with a 1.90 goals-against average and .946 save percentage.

It's impressive and also a reminder of just how crucial to the Coyotes, and everyone trying to beat them, Sean Burke's summer decision is. ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun reported on Friday that Burke's contract expires this summer, making his success in the desert something that should interest 29 other teams. He's been incredible as the Coyotes' goalie coach but also has front-office aspirations. This was his first season with the dual role of goalie coach and director of player development, increasing the workload for someone who enjoys an extra challenge.

When I chatted with Phoenix GM Don Maloney last week, I posed the question to him: Does he worry about losing Burke?