Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
This could be John Ferguson’s last week as general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Or possibly his last day.
A bevy of sources confirmed yesterday the Leafs are frantically searching for Ferguson’s replacement—either on an interim or permanent basis—as the team’s downward spiral continues.
It’s not clear which direction the Leafs are headed, but it is clear the climate for change has become desperate in the wake of a dreadful start that has seen the Leafs win just eight of 24 games to date.
added 8:56am, from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Either combination – Healy-Messier or Campbell-Yzerman – would completely alter the public perception of the Leaf operation.
This much is clear. This situation isn’t just going to fix itself.
from the National Post via Canada.com,
Reality being what it is, both Ferguson and Maurice are walking a tightrope.
Ferguson has clearly not provided his coach with adequate resources. The Leafs admitted they were looking for an adviser to abet their still-young GM last summer. Momentum towards making a change is growing. And, it’s implausible that the club could hire an accomplished replacement for Ferguson without allowing that man to name his own coach.
Management and coaching changes in mid-stream are not unusual - already, this season, Atlanta, Dallas and Washington have fired employees who were in place to begin the schedule. The Leafs will probably will do the same, barring a dramatic and quick reversal of fortune.
from Ice Chips at the Arizona Republic,
Now more than 75 years after its inception on radio, Hockey Night in Canada continues to be a special event.
The Coyotes and Toronto Maple Leafs played the opening game of the Saturday doubleheader. Across Canada, it is always a must-see event.
“It’s pretty exciting,” said Coyotes rookie Craig Weller. “Growing up (in Alberta) as a kid, we didn’t have cable. We only had three channels, but it was always on one of the three.
“It’s definitely a thrill to play and have all of Canada watching. I guess every kid dreams that growing up.”
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
If the Toronto Maple Leafs fire GM John Ferguson Jr., they won’t put just anybody on the Hogtown hotseat.
The talk among league executives is the Leafs won’t make a move on the GM front unless they secure a big name—such as Mark Messier, Steve Yzerman or Ron Francis, a former Leaf—to take the reins.
“The Leafs need to have somebody with star power,” said an NHL executive.
“If they’re going to put somebody into that seat who hasn’t done it before, they need to have a marquee name.”
continued plus more NHL talk, including trade rumors…
from the Toronto Star,
Leafs GM John Ferguson emerged from an hour-long, post-game meeting with coach Paul Maurice last night to announce that the club will stay the course with its coaching staff and roster.
After an alarmingly bad performance in a 5-1 loss to Phoenix at the Jobing.com Arena, there was a strong sense that something had to give.
But Ferguson expressed confidence in his roster and the team’s ability to turn around what is now a three-game losing streak and losses in six of the last seven games.
from Nathan Vardi of Forbes,
To the most rabid hockey fans in toronto, Richard Peddie, chief executive of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, is a bum….
But in the eyes of the owners, Peddie is a hero. In nine years running the parent corporation of the Maple Leafs, Peddie, 60, has created quite a silk purse, tripling the enterprise value of the privately held company to $1.5 billion through clever marketing and shrewd dealmaking.
from the Toronto Sun,
Maurice yesterday gave a brief eulogy for Hanlon, the second NHL coach fired this season, but dismissed the notion that any employees feel safer when the turkey and leftovers are gone and the goodwill of Christmas approaches.
“I think a while ago, yes, but not so much (in the new NHL’s CBA),” Maurice said. “You don’t hear as much talk and there’s not as much action.”
Indeed, most trade banter has been just rumours so far. Many salary cap-strapped teams such as the Leafs have eliminated themselves until the Feb. 26 trade deadline when buying and selling is made easier, at least for some expiring one-year deals at reduced cost.
from the Toronto Sun,
“It’s silly,” McCabe said of recent suggestions that Maurice’s days might be numbered. “There is absolutely nothing wrong with Paul or any of our coaches.”
“They have us prepared every game. Our practices are as good as they’ve ever been.
“The blame is 100% on us, the players. It has nothing to do with the coaches.”
One look at the beleaguered Maurice and it is easy to see the toll the Leafs woes are having on him.
From Jim Kelley at Sports Illustrated,
Is it possible that Brett Hull might save Toronto Maple Leafs general manager John Ferguson, Jr.‘s job?
Seems illogical, but then logic rarely is a dominant theme at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, a behemoth in terms of producing revenue, but a consistent failure in terms of on-ice success in the NHL.
The buzz for weeks has been that MLSE’s board of directors has been contemplating Ferguson’s dismissal, but the recent appointment of Hull as interim co-director of the Dallas Stars may have made an impact in Toronto.
The argument in favor of keeping the beleaguered Ferguson has long centered on a simple question: “Who can we get to replace him?” That question gave the board some pause this past offseason when several high profile (and under contract) GMs quietly let it be known they weren’t interested in the board’s plan to bring in an experienced hockey man to “mentor” Ferguson.
continued… including a look at shakeups in Dallas, St. Louis and Florida
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
All season long, the assumption has been that John Ferguson is basically done as GM of the Leafs. It’s only a matter of when. But lately, a lot of questions have been asked about coach Paul Maurice and the thinking amongst some front office people is that Ferguson would fire him if he needed to as a last-ditch attempt to try and save his own position.
Some prominent hockey people have asked the question aloud this week: What would you do if you were running the Leafs? And it isn’t being asked rhetorically.
more hockey talk…
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