Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
What the Leafs should try to block, however, is the possibility they would net nothing for Sundin before the trade deadline, and then he would play for some other team next season.
So get his name on a contract extension. The Leafs have no handy successor for him as captain or as their No. 1 centre, and probably won’t for several years.
If he doesn’t want to leave, lean on him to commit to stay. After all, there are other viable trade options.
Starting with Nik Antropov. He doesn’t have a no-trade contract, has another year on his cheap deal and any number of teams would pay heavily to get him in their lineup for the post-season. The Sharks and Red Wings would be happy to get an extra big body with which to confront the Ducks.
From Mike Brophy at The Hockey News,
So here’s the thing, if you are the Los Angeles Kings or the Toronto Maple Leafs, it is probably in your best interest – speaking big picture, that is – to lose the remainder of your games.
It would be better for both teams – and probably Florida, Tampa Bay and Buffalo, too – if they just gave up on this year and did everything in their power to get the top pick in the 2008 Entry Draft; in all likelihood Steven Stamkos.
The problem is: How do you tell 20 players, who are essentially auditioning for next year, as well as a coaching staff whose career might possibly hang in the balance with every victory or defeat, that you want to tank the year?
from Alan Adams at AOL Canada,
If it were left to me, I would deal Sundin by the Feb. 26 NHL trade deadline, and send him to Anaheim as a matter of fact. Then I wouldn’t bring Sundin back in the fold this summer when the big Swede is an unrestricted free agent.
This is the ONLY course the Leafs should plot regarding Sundin if, as ownership says, it is serious about making things right with the storied Toronto franchise.
Think of it this way: You have to get bad, and bad for a couple of years, before you can get good. And Sundin is the ticket to both destinations.
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.
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