The Phoenix Coyotes re-signed their goaltending coach on Tuesday.
Normally, this gets filed in the summer hockey news agate, a random link the headline dump. But not when the goalie coach is Sean Burke.
Don Maloney announced today that the Coyotes have signed Sean Burke to a multi-year contract extension to serve as Assistant to the General Manager/Goaltender Coach.
(Burke: "That's right, assistant general manger. Schrute'd!")
In addition to his current responsibilities that include overseeing all goaltenders in the Coyotes system and player development, Burke will now work with Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney, Assistant General Manager Brad Treliving and Director of Hockey Administration Chris O'Hearn in all areas of hockey operations.
"We are very pleased to sign Sean to a contract extension," said Maloney. "For the past three years, Sean has done a tremendous job working with all the goaltenders in our organization helping them improve and succeed on the ice. We look forward to him continuing in this role and also assisting our hockey operations department in all areas of the business."
All Burke has done in his time with the Coyotes is turn Ilya Bryzgalov into the franchise's all-time leader in wins (130) before he cashed out with the Philadelphia Flyers; and then turn budget free-agent Mike Smith into a 38-win netminders with a 2.21 GAA and a .930 save percentage, to go along with eight shutouts. In the playoffs, he had a 1.99 GAA and a .944(!) save percentage.
ESPN reported on June 21 that Burke was close to staying on as a goalie coach and director of player personal; he got the bump up to hockey ops, but not that title.
Smith has another year on his contract, but the Coyotes were looking to extend him to a multi-year term this summer. Back in May, Smith told the Arizona Republic that his fate could be tied to Burke's:
"I think it has an impact on it," Smith said.
"Obviously his contract is up. I have a year left. Looking at the long-term, he's made me a better goaltender. I couldn't have done it without him, and I believe he's the best guy in the league at what he does. To be able to have a guy like that to lean on and he shows confidence in me every game whether I'm at my best or not, it's very easy to go out there and just do what I have to do and be the best."
With Burke back in the fold, now Smith and Maloney can work on securing his services for a bit longer. Which is nice, since other players look like they have one skate out the door.