Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Canwest News via the Leader Post,
Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment might be zeroing in on a third-tier British soccer side as the Toronto-based sports conglomerate looks to expand internationally.
The owners of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, NBA’s Toronto Raptors, Major League Soccer’s Toronto FC and the American Hockey League’s Toronto Marlies are in talks about purchasing Leeds United, according to a report in the Sunday Mirror, a British newspaper. The newspaper cited unnamed sources close to MLSE.
*The original report can be read in the UK paper, Sunday Mirror.
From Darren Dreger at TSN,
Sources tell TSN the Toronto Maple Leafs have been shutdown by yet another team in their quest to rebuild management.
Maple Leafs interim general manager Cliff Fletcher asked the Florida Panthers for permission to speak with Joe Nieuwendyk last week and the Panthers declined.
Toronto must wait until July 1 when Nieuwendyk’s contract with the Panthers expires before they can officially approach him.
From Morris Della Costa at the London Free Press,
There’s no question the heat is on Peddie. He talked about the two websites dedicated to petitions to get him removed as CEO. One website, firerichardpeddie.ca, has close to 14,000 signatures.
He comes under constant criticism about his performance. Most people would say they don’t read the newspapers. Not Peddie.
“Presidents are people, too. We bleed. I read all of it,” he said. “Some people say they don’t (read) but I have to. There may be something there we have to correct or be mindful of. It’s tough some days. But this job is not for the fainthearted. You have to be comfortable that you are doing the right thing.”
*I’m not sure Peddie should be too concerned about FireRichardPeddie.ca—of the 14,000 “signatures”, it would appear that about 13,860 are advertisements for viagra and vicodin.
From Tim Wharnsby at the Globe & Mail,
Nonis was expected to have dinner last night with Toronto lawyer Gordon Kirke, who is part of the Leafs’ search committee. Nonis is to then meet today with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment president Richard Peddie.
The Leafs aren’t the only team interested Nonis, as he continues to be wooed by the Atlanta Thrashers and an unidentified third NHL team that still has a general manager in place.
The third team is believed to be the St. Louis Blues. St. Louis president John Davidson could not be reached for comment last night.
Update 9:23pm ET: More from Wharnsby, later in the day,
The meeting between the Toronto Maple Leafs and prospective general manager candidate David Nonis was described more as a session of getting acquainted rather than a formal interview.
from Pierre LeBrun at Sportsnet,
The Anaheim Ducks, surely, will wake up one day soon and realize they’ve got to let their GM, Brian Burke, talk to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
If not, they’re making a terrible mistake.
This is going to be a distraction for them every single day until Burke’s contract expires after next season. Especially if two things happen:
1) The Ducks can’t get Burke to sign a contract extension.
2) The Leafs hire Burke’s friend Dave Nonis in some form of front-office role while very much keeping the big job open. Nonis, fired as Vancouver Canucks GM last month, is meeting with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment early next week.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
According to president Richard Peddie, the club wants “a winner,” someone who is a “long-term builder and short-term fixer,” an executive with “NHL experience and an established track record, a success on and off the ice.”
From that, most people have come to believe the Leafs want a president/GM with one or more Stanley Cup rings gathered through years of senior management experience with one or more teams before ascending, to steal Brian Burke’s words, to “the Vatican” of hockey.
An admirable goal.
What’s interesting, however, is that of the four teams that have made their way to the NHL’s conference championships this spring, none are managed by individuals who initially made their way into their current jobs by first accumulating the type of experience the Leafs are apparently demanding.
From Ed Willes at The Province,
As anyone who’s seen an Oliver Stone movie can tell you, it’s now clear that Wednesday’s TSN report was the first act in a sequence of events which will inevitably lead to Brian Burke and Dave Nonis reuniting in Toronto to run the Maple Leafs.
I mean, who would argue differently? The crack management team at Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment has long since targeted Burke as the man who would be king of their empire. Nonis, his close confederate and former first lieutenant with the Vancouver Canucks, has recently been made available amid an equally interesting set of circumstances.
Put it all together and the inescapable conclusion is Nonis has been approached to serve as a caretaker GM in Toronto while Burke completes the last year of his contract with the Anaheim Ducks. The two allies will then resume their working relationship in the Big Smoke in 2009-10 with Burke running the show and Nonis serving as his No. 2 and that will wrap up everything in a nice, neat package.
continued… and as Willes goes on to note, there’s some problems with this theory.
Update 3:44pm ET: Jim Kelly at Sports Illustrated doesn’t think the idea is as crazy as it seems.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
From the day Richard Peddie’s lips were caught moving while Fletcher made the opening remarks on his second tour of duty with the Leafs to yesterday’s rather laughable press conference, it’s become pretty clear why the MLSE board hired Fletcher.
They wanted him to do their bidding – just as he did in 1996 when he was instructed to trade away a slew of high-priced veterans and not to sign free agent Wayne Gretzky – and they want his immense credibility in the industry to hide behind.
Beloved in the hockey world, he’s the perfect front man.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have fired coach Paul Maurice and sources tell TSN that the team has approached the Vancouver Canucks asking for permission to speak with recently fired GM Dave Nonis.
Nonis would be brought in to handle the Leafs’ managing duties through next season, with speculation suggesting the Maple Leafs would then approach Brian Burke at the conclusion of the season, with designs on Burke overseeing the entire hockey operation with Nonis continuing to occupy a management role as well.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have fired coach Paul Maurice, sources tell TSN.
Maurice had one year remaining on his original three-year contract.
added 11:42am, Leafs have called a major news conference for 3pm today.
Update 1:20pm ET: Some analysis from Adam Proteau at The Hockey News. To wit… Maurice was fired 3 months too late.
Update 3:06pm ET: Not much said at the press conference but a couple quotes from GM Cliff Fletcher related to the termination of Maurice and Randy Ladouceur . Specifically:
“This is the start of a new era for the Maple Leafs” and
“There will be substantial news coming from the hockey club in the next 6-10 weeks.”
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at email@example.com