Brian Burke has already had to make one terrible choice, jettisoning his friend of 39 years as the head coach of Canada's most scrutinized hockey team.

An even more terrible choice — at least in hockey terms — is looming.

Very soon after arriving as saviour of the Maple Leafs, the "Pope" to rule over the "Vatican of hockey," Burke made his signature move and anointed Phil Kessel as the player who would be The One.

For some time it's been undeniable that the price to get Kessel from the Boston Bruins was too much, that Burke overpaid to jump-start a quick turnaround in the club's hockey fortunes, a move that symbolized a sense of haste that only he seemed to feel.