Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Paul Hunter at the Toronto Star, Tomas Kaberle is “living proof the Leafs actually know how to choose talented players” in the draft:
On a team with a history of dubious draft selections, it is Kaberle who stands out as one of the best; a rare home run for a team that usually goes down swinging. And the good news for Toronto fans is Kaberle arrived under Fletcher’s watch in 1996.
Selected 204th that spring, Kaberle blossomed into a front-line NHL defenceman in Toronto and became a player who excelled to the point that this will be his third all-star appearance.
more… on Kaberle, Cliff Fletcher, and the Leafs’ uneven history with draft selections
from the CP via TSN,
“I’m flattered by all this,” he said of conjecture he might want to move back to Canada and join the Leafs. “It’s a great job.
“If you’re Catholic, this is the Vatican.”
Toronto is the epicentre, along with Montreal, of the hockey universe, Burke said.
“I’m flattered by all the attention and that someone would think I’m the right guy for this, but I have a job that I love and I work for special people in the Samuelis. I’m not going anywhere.”
more from Brian Burke…
from William Houston of the Globe and Mail,
TSN’s Mike Milbury says Anaheim Ducks general manager Brian Burke — first on the fan wish list of Maple Leafs managing prospects — wants the job and will take it if (and it’s a big one) he is assured he will not see or hear from Richard Peddie outside board meetings. Peddie is the president and chief executive officer of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Leafs.
Milbury, by the way, may know more than he’s revealing about Burke’s interest. He spent time with Burke last week in Toronto when they were shooting TSN’s Off The Record.
from Jim Kelley at Sportsnet,
My target: Ken Holland, the general manager of the Detroit Red Wings. There are others and some of the unencumbered mentioned above have their appeal, but if you want the best man in hockey today, it’s Holland. Getting him won’t be easy or cheap, but it’s not exactly mission impossible either.
Start with a subtle overture. Sources have told me that Holland isn’t put off by the challenge of rescuing the most poorly run rich franchise in the National Hockey League. He’s not afraid of the demands of the legion of long-suffering fans or the oft-times hostile and over-abundant media.
A few nights ago, Fan590 radio in Toronto reported that the Leafs did contact Ilitch about 6 weeks ago for approval to talk with Holland and Jim Nill, their request was turned down.
Pierre McGuire was asked what he would want in return for Sundin, assuming he would agree to waive his no-trade clause.
“I want to get the best possible assets in exchange for Sundin,” McGuire said, and then he listed some “fantasyland” scenarios he would chase.
“From the Detroit Red Wings I want Niklas Kronwall, a shut-down defenceman, and a first round pick.
“If I’m dealing with the San Jose Sharks, I want Milan Michalek and a first round pick.
“If I’m dealing with Vancouver then I want Ryan Kesler, a great two-way centreman, and a first round pick.”
more...Wanting and getting are two different things.
from Chuck Gormley of the Courier Post,
Reports had the Flyers offering center Jeff Carter, a prospect and a first-round pick for Sundin, who is the Leafs’ all-time leading scorer with 961 points in 955 career games.
“I can say for a fact that we have had no discussions with the Maple Leafs regarding Mats Sundin,” Holmgren said before the Flyers’ games against the Devils Tuesday night. “We’ll look at some things, but a lot depends on where we’re at (in the standings).”
more on the Flyers…
from the Toronto Sun,
Asked about his future in the league, Ferguson replied: “I’ve had one call and I suspect there will be plenty more. I already have 22 messages on my phone.”
During his farewell press conference at the Air Canada Centre yesterday, Ferguson repeated several times that he was “proud of his record” with the Leafs, despite the fact that his team reached the playoffs just once in his 31/2 seasons at the helm.
MLSEL president Richard Peddie didn’t share those same fond memories of Ferguson’s tenure, stating the outgoing GM “didn’t deliver” on his original plan.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Circle the date Feb. 26 - trading deadline day, the NHL’s answer to Christmas, with all of its exciting anticipation, its hidden promise and, inevitably, a day of joy for some and disappointment for others.
Cliff Fletcher has 35 days – between Tuesday, when he was appointed interim general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, replacing John Ferguson, and deadline day to define his second and final term as boss of that once storied NHL franchise.
Unlike Fletcher’s first turn as Leafs GM, in which he needed the better part of two years to turn an NHL laughingstock into a championship contender - it will be possible to evaluate his work in that short a time frame.
from Ken Campbell of the Hockey News,
The funny thing is, the Maple Leafs would have had Brunnstrom in their organization already if they’d simply listened to the advice of Thommie Bergman, their very capable director of European scouting….
The only proviso was that everyone involved, including Bergman, agreed Brunnstrom’s best development path would be through the Swedish Elite League and the Farjestad program rather than the NHL or the minors.
Leaf management, led by GM John Ferguson and assistant GM Mike Penny, thought otherwise. They were unwilling to sign Brunnstrom unless he was willing to play for the Toronto Marlies of the American League and the Leafs refused to budge.
John Ferguson Jr.‘s tenure as general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs looks as though it is coming to an end.
Sources tell TSN the Maple Leafs board of directors met on Monday and decided to make a change. A formal announcement is expected today.
added 10:05am, via Sportsnet,
Despite reports Tuesday suggesting John Ferguson’s tenure is finished with the Maple Leafs, CEO Richard Peddie said “I have not fired John,” when contacted by Sportsnet.ca.
update 11:23am, via TSN,
TSN has learned that the Toronto Maple Leafs have fired General Manager John Ferguson Jr. The team informed Ferguson of his fate earlier this morning.
added 11:44am, The Toronto Maple Leafs have scheduled a news conference for 1:00pm ET today.
added 11:51am, from Sportsnet,
The Maple Leafs have replaced general manager John Ferguson Jr. with former GM Cliff Fletcher.
The Maple Leafs will announce the changes at an afternoon press conference Tuesday.
Sources tell Sportnset that Fletcher will hold an interim GM position for at least six months before moving up to an executive role for the next two years.
added 11:57am, CBC reporting news conference is at 2:30pm ET., so who knows now what time it really is.
added 12:01pm, Read the press release from the Leafs.
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