Kukla's Korner Hockey
via George Gross of the Toronto Sun,
One player he (Fletcher) won’t be able to move—if I can believe a rival club’s executive—is Darcy Tucker.
“I wouldn’t give my last draft choice in order to get him,” was the way the fellow put it to me.
“It’s not because he isn’t an honest, hard-working player, but because he has lost it. The many wars against much bigger and tougher fellows are telling on him. He is trying hard, but he can’t get there anymore.”
John Ferguson Jr. was on TSN tonight during the 2nd intermission of the Leafs/Sabres game. James Duthie asked him what Leafs players had drawn the most interest from other teams before he was relieved of his duties.
1. Mats Sundin
2. Tomas Kaberle
3. Darcy Tucker
McCabe and a group of a few “others” were mentioned by JFJ too. He also said if Sundin wants to be moved, he would draw the same type of trade that Forsberg did when the Flyers sent him to Nashville.
from Damien Cox at ESPN,
The man who runs the Leafs, in other words, is surrounded by second guessers, many with inside ties to the organization and an ability to get information that often embarrasses management.
“Nobody needs that kind of pressure,” said one NHL general manager.
So is it a dream post or someone’s worst nightmare? Is it hockey heaven or shinny hell on earth?
Whoever takes over the job—Burke, Holland, NHL vice president Colin Campbell and Carolina GM Jim Rutherford are seen as the front runners—will need a thick skin to deal with the daily scrutiny and a total free hand to rebuild without interference, something the Leafs organization says it will allow but has been historically reluctant to grant.
From the CP via the Globe & Mail,
“It’s nice to come to the rink and see the guys joking around with each other a little bit,” head coach Paul Maurice said after the team’s annual outdoor practice Monday.
It was, brrrrr, minus-10 as the players scrimmaged on a sheet of gleaming ice just east of downtown to promote the club’s participation with The Home Depot in refurbishing outdoor rinks in the city. Bundled-up school children sprung from classes so they could get a close-up look at their hockey heros waved Leafs flags and cheered every pass and shot on goal.
“It was a good time,” said Matt Stajan. “Our toes and fingers were a little cold but it’s great for the kids and it brings back memories.
from Ken Campbell of the Hockey News,
You don’t think Sam Pollock or Frank Selke or Jack Adams would have won Cups if they had changed teams? Does that mean Lou Lamoriello or Holland would suddenly lose their ability to build a winner if they changed organizations?
Of course it doesn’t, which is why if the Maple Leafs search committee doesn’t do everything it possibly can to get permission to speak with Ken Holland, then hire him if they do, then they are simply abdicating their responsibility and doing the organization a complete disservice.
That’s because Holland is the best GM in the NHL, period. That’s why the Detroit Red Wings have won three Stanley Cups and are a perennial contender regardless of the financial landscape of the league. There’s absolutely no reason to believe he wouldn’t bring those same attributes to Toronto if he were hired.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
His last words on the subject of a potential trade had Sundin remaining loyal to the end, not wanting out of Dodge. But he’s not talking about it anymore. Ditto for Fletcher. But two GMs, unwilling to speak for the record, in recent days said they believe Sundin has given his blessing to go - provided it is to the “right” team.
In this case, “right” is likely code for Detroit, a club that could win it without Sundin, and one that becomes a prohibitive favorite if he has the Winged Wheel on his chest
much more NHL talk…
From Howard Berger at the National Post,
Tucker has a no-trade provision in the four-year, US$12-million extension he signed last March, and he has been evasive when answering questions from reporters about his willingness to waive the clause. But, after the Leafs’ morning skate at Montreal’s Bell Centre on Thursday, Tucker opened up a bit, and he sounded like a man who is firmly entrenched in Toronto. “I believe in the organization and playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs,” he said. “I signed here last year to stay. At that particular time in my career, I could have taken the option to explore free agency and I didn’t. Not only have the Maple Leafs been good to me, but I think my allegiance to this team has shown in the last eight years.” When asked about the prospect of changing his mind before Feb. 26, Tucker replied, “I don’t see myself changing that philosophy.”
from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
The Star has learned the NHL’s salary cap will rise by about $3 million (all figures U.S.) next year – the third straight rise in the cap under the current collective bargaining agreement.
“It depends on a lot of factors, but I expect the cap will go up at least $3 million,” said a source.
The rising value of the Canadian dollar is one reason forwarded for an increase in revenues, but commissioner Gary Bettman has said merchandising revenue and ticket sales were up across the league.
more on how the increase of the cap can help the Leafs…
from Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star,
For the love of God, for pity’s sake, somebody shoot this team.
Put it down, out if its misery.
And if Mats Sundin isn’t saying today, where do I sign, or un-sign, then he’s a sadomasochist, perhaps a fool.
What the captain did say last night, after taking nearly an hour to emerge from the inner sanctum of the dressing room, was: “Everybody that wore the sweater tonight should be ashamed of the way we played. The effort we put out in front of our home fans was embarrassing.”
from the CP,
Wayne Gretzky was breaking the hearts of Maple Leafs fans at the same he was inspiring one of the team’s future players.
The Great One was the star of a memorable seven-game series in 1993 as the Los Angeles Kings got past Toronto and advanced to the Stanley Cup.
It was a time when interest in the game was growing in California and Robbie Earl was just getting started in organized hockey near Los Angeles.
Earl was raised by grandparents who had previously lived in Toronto and exposed him to hockey at a young age. But Gretzky’s presence also played a part in developing his interest.
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