Kukla's Korner Hockey
from James Deacon at AOL Sports Canada,
There will be more blood, it appears, and there should be. The Leafs are lousy and they have an empty minor-league larder, so for fans it’s vital that those managers stick to their commitment to rebuild, even though it’s going to be a hard road at first.
No one is saying anything publicly, but MLSE officials had to reel Fletcher in. Despite efforts to off-load salaries, Fletcher’s recent dealings make you wonder if the organization really has the stomach to do the right thing.
Does the purge mean Fletcher has been reminded that the team’s goal is a complete demolition? Or will the Leafs settle for their usual half-baked reno?
From Damien Cox in The Spin at the Toronto Star,
Fair or not, Tucker was viewed as one of the leaders of the so-called Muskoka Five, a gang now broken up by GM Cliff Fletcher. Fletcher vowed big changes, and you have to give him credit for following through. Tucker’s gone, Mats Sundin’s all but gone, and Kyle Wellwood, John Pohl and Andrew Raycroft are also no longer Leafs.
Bryan McCabe, by autumn, will almost certainly be playing somewhere else, as well. So the players who banded together to defy the wishes of management and remain Leafs at the 2008 trade deadline have, really, gained very little in the end.
Tomas Kaberle, at this point, seems the only one of the five certain to stick around.
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
Darcy Tucker’s career with the Toronto Maple Leafs is over.
Maple Leafs general manager Cliff Fletcher alerted Tucker of Toronto’s intention to buy him out on Tuesday afternoon.
“Its a business, Darcy knows that,” Tucker’s agent Carlos Sosa told TSN.
According to Fan590 in Toronto, Andrew Raycroft and Kyle Wellwood have been placed on waivers.
added 12:59pm, from TSN,
The Toronto Maple Leafs took another step toward rebuilding on Tuesday, placing forward Kyle Wellwood and goaltender Andrew Raycroft on waivers.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
Wellwood, 25, will be a restricted free agent on July 1. He will then quickly become an unrestricted free agent, although Fletcher, the Leafs’ interim general manager, declined to confirm that yesterday. However, a source close to the team said there are no plans to offer Wellwood a contract.
It could be that Wellwood’s NHL career will end after just three seasons, which would be ironic.
more on the Leafs…
The New York Rangers were granted permission by Maple Leafs general manager Cliff Fletcher to talk to free-agent-to-be Mats Sundin before the Montreal Canadiens were last week, Sportsnet has learned.
My opinion on this, which is only going to get bigger the next ten days, Mats doesn’t sign with anyone until after July 1st.
update 8:14pm, from Michael Traikos of the National Post,
There are other teams interested in Sundin - the New York Rangers and Detroit are believed to be among them - but Fletcher dismissed a Sportsnet report Monday that the Leafs had given the Rangers permission to talk to Sundin before giving the same opportunity to the Canadiens.
“That is absolutely untrue,” Fletcher said yesterday. “We gave exclusive negotiating rights to the Montreal Canadiens and nobody else.”
more on Sundin…
added 8:33pm, from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
The truth is, this is all happening too fast for Sundin, who doesn’t feel comfortable being pressured into deciding right now which NHL team he wants to play for because he hasn’t gone through his annual introspection of whether he is even going to play another season.
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
Those close to him doubt he will retire, let alone come back to the Leafs. He is said to still be miffed at Toronto management for simply not coming out and saying: “Mats does not want to be traded and will not be traded” weeks before the Feb. 26 trade deadline instead of allowing the speculation to drag out in public as it did.
Keeping that in mind, why would he now want to do the Leafs any favours by coming to terms with the Canadiens prior to the opening of the unrestricted free agent period one week from tomorrow?
Were he to do that, the Leafs would receive compensation from the Habs as part of a conditional deal that already is in place.
Why not, instead, wait to go on the open market July 1?
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
If you were to ask Ken Holland, GM of the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings, to identify the quality his scouts look for when it comes to the annual entry draft, his answer would be succinct.
“Skill,” he’d say, just as he’s said it many times before.
Nine teams followed that mantra when it came to making selections with the top 10 picks of the NHL entry draft on Friday night.
One did not.
That team would be your Maple Leafs.
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
While Gainey usually wears a poker face whenever prodded to reveal such plans, a source close to the Habs GM suggested he might wing across the Atlantic for a face-to-face chat with Sundin as early as Wednesday.
Whatever Gainey does, this much is certain: The two teams do have a deal in place in the event Sundin signs with Montreal. There is speculation that Toronto might receive a 2009 first-round pick in return, but that, to this point, is merely draft-floor speculation.
About 15 minutes before Gainey had his chat with the hordes of reporters at Scotiabank Place yesterday, Leafs general manager Cliff Fletcher was being peppered with Sundin queries of his own.
“I talked (to Mats),” Fletcher said. “I just have to do my job and do what’s best for the Toronto Maple Leafs. It is what it is.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
In some ways, Gainey shares many of the same qualities as Sundin. They are both soft-spoken, resolute and like to do things in orderly fashion.
Accordingly, the first order of business for Sundin is to determine if he’s going to play at all next year. Thus far, he has not provided his agent, J.P. Barry, with any guidance along those lines. Until he does, all the other talk is just a lot of white noise.
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
We received permission to talk with him late yesterday and it was even later in Sweden,” said Gainey. “We didn’t talk numbers. We wanted to introduce ourselves and we got to know a little bit about each other and we’ll get to know each other better.”
Gainey said he planned to have additional talks with Sundin tomorrow or Monday.
Sundin would give the Canadiens the impact centre they have been seeking. He’s 6-foot-5 and 231 pounds and has been one of the NHL’s elite players since he arrived from Sweden to join the Quebec Nordiques in 1990. He’s 37 but he’s coming off a 76-point season and has had at least 72 points in each of the past 12 seasons.
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.
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